Great Flower Books 1700-1900
My final Christmas present turned up today - Great Flower Books 1700-1900 came complete with its customs declaration as it came from the USA.
It's a comprehensive Bibliographical Record of two Centuries of finely-illustrated Flower Books by Sacheverell Sitwell & Wilfrid Blunt. It's the sort of book which will keep me occupied with more research of botanical art for YEARS! I'm guessing it's only other serious researchers who will appreciate why it gives me so much pleasure!
I didn't know until just recently that there are two versions of the book.
The first edition was published by Collins in London in 1956.
The second edition was published by Atlantic Monthly Press in New York in 1990.
The bonus of the second one is that they very much improved the quality of the images included in the publication. However almost all copies are located in the USA - hence the need to import.
'Great Flower Books' is very much a collaborative endeavour with essays by
The Title and Contents pages identify who did what in this collaborative endeavour with
I'll be consulting and reading it with some reverence for those who put the book together.
I have in fact got to the point with book-buying now where almost everything I buy is second hand -
In fact, the first thing I do when I get a 'new' book is to go straight to its bibliography to see what books it lists as resources - so as to see if I can find any new ones I've not read!
So the notion of buying a book, the bulk of which is essentially a bibliography does not strike me as too strange!
I've come across all sorts of small joys by studying the bibliographies in books and academic journals
This is a review of 'The Greenwood Trees - History, Folklore and uses of Britain's trees' by Christina Hart-Davies - a slim volume that is essentially about the native trees of the UK.
By the time I got to the end I realised that the book she has written and illustrated reminded me a lot of many of the early Herbals - which describe and identify plants - including illustrations - and identify what they are associated with and what they are used for. Both her previous book and this one are focused on telling you what a plant/tree is good for as well as what it looked like. It goes way, way beyond a book of botanical illustrations
It is in effect a contemporary version of what we refer to in botanical literature as Herbals. It is packed full of information and illustrations about the different native trees. What's more Christina has written all the text, which references facts and beliefs from very many of the books from the past - from Dioscorides onwards - and painted all the illustrations in watercolour
Overall, the book is enormously informative, very interesting and very accessible - it and can be enjoyed by young and old, by those interested in nature and trees and by those interested in different ways of representing and painting trees.
For example it includes snippets of information e.g.
Who knew the aspen was one of the earliest trees to re-colonise the UK after the Ice Age?
The book covers 37 different varieties of tree, of which 31 are natives of the UK i.e. they were around 6,000 years BC when the waters started to rise again after the Ice Age.
The book has five sections:
About "The Greenwood Trees"
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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