I'm changing the image used for the Home Page of Botanical Art and Artists and my associated Facebook Page with the seasons.
I did think about maybe having plants that flowered in the Northern Hemisphere. However it seemed a pity not to use the opportunity to highlight those plants that grown in the Southern Hemisphere.
I finally plumped for a rather splendid botanical illustration of Protea mellifera from 'Specimens of the flora of South Africa'. When it was published in 1850, the book was very well received and Queen Victoria headed the list of subscribers.
The illustration is by Arabella Roupell (1817 - 1914) a Victorian English Flower Painter whose husband was posted to what was then the Cape Colony for two years between 1843 and 1845. During the posting she painted the flowers she found on the Cape of Good Hope.
A copy of the book Specimens of the Flora of South Africa By A Lady, explanatory text by William Henry Harvey. London: printed by W. Nicol, 1849 was sold at Christies in New York for $6875.
This is what Christies had to say about the book
A RARE LARGE-SCALE WORK CELEBRATING THE AMAZING DIVERSITY OF THE FLORA OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE. Arabella Roupell (née Piggott) was the wife of Thomas Boone Roupell of the East India Company. She based her drawings on specimens collected at the Cape of Good Hope in 1843 and 1844. Dr. Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854) reviewed them and sent them to his colleague, Sir William Hooker (1785-1865), in London for further critique. Wallich and Hooker suggested that Roupell publish them, and recommended P. Gauci as the lithographer. Professor William Henry Harvey (1811-1866) provided the descriptive text. The final image in the work, Roupellia grata, was named in honor of various members of the Roupell family (including Aribella Roupell and her husband, his grandfather Charles Roupell of Charleston, and Dr. Roupell of London) by Wallich and Hooker. M. Arnold South African Botanical Art(Vlaeberg, 2001), p.39; BM(NH) IV, p.1742; Great Flower Books (1990) p.134; Mendelssohn II, p.254; Nissen BBI 1687; Stafleu-Cowan TL2 9684.
Back in 2015, the Botanical Artists Association of South Africa viewed her paintings the in Special Collections and Archives, Jagger Library, UCT.
You can read more about the Arabella Roubell's background and the paintings on Wikipedia and you see more of her work in Wikimedia Commons
Protea mellifera / repens
Protea mellifera is now known as Protea repens. Protea mellifera Thunb. is a synonym of Protea repens L.
P. mellifera, Thunb., is named in the Linnean Herbarium P. repens and was published as such by Linnæus in his Mantissa, p. 189. Eighteen years previously he had published a description of this plant under the name of Leucadendron repens (Linn. Sp. Pl. ed. i. 91); his var. β being P. repens, Thunb. The specific name repens is so inapplicable to this plant, while Thunberg's name is so suitable and has been in such general use that we have retained it.
It's also, according to Plantz Africa, run by the South Africa Biodiversity Institute known as sugarbush, common sugarbush, real sugarbush, honey protea (Eng.), suikerbos, stroopbos, opregtesuikerbos (Afr.)
Protea repens is an excellent addition to any wildlife-friendly garden as the large amount of nectar produced by the flowers attracts birds, bees and other insects.
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
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