I-50. Six Hundred Years of Botanical Illustration - Advance Reading List

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  • Required Readings

    Blunt, Wilfred and William T. Stearn. The Art of Botanical Illustration. New ed., revised and enlarged, 1994. This is a wide-ranging survey covering the whole period we will be dealing with.

    Kusukawa, Sachiko. Picturing the Book of Nature. Image, Text, and Argument in Sixteenth-Century Human Anatomy and Medical Botany. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

    Bridson, Gavin D. R. Printmaking in the Service of Botany. Pittsburgh, PA: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, 1986. Out of print, downloadable pdf: https://www.huntbotanical.org/publications/show.php?126 Second hand copies readily available at around $30 and recommended as resolution is lost in the pdf.

    Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: 1972; reprinted with corrections 1974 and 1979; New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 1995, 2009. Try and read the whole of the first section “Book Production: The Hand-press Period, 1500–1800” (pp. 1–170), at least the sections on Composition, Imposition and Presswork.

  • Browsing

    Bynum, Helen, and William Bynum. Botanical Sketchbooks. London: Thames and Hudson, 2017.

    Oak Spring Garden annotated catalogues including many of the books that we will be studying during the course:

     Tomasi, Lucia Tongiorgi. An Oak Spring Flora. 1997; Tomasi, Lucia and Tony Willis. An Oak Spring Herbaria, 2009: Raphael, Sandra, An Oak Spring Sylva, 1989; Raphael, An Oak Spring Pomona, 1990.

    These beautifully produced catalogues include topical essays and extensive articles on each of the books described. They are all available free online: https://issuu.com/osgf

    Botanical Art and Artists website, a compendium of information and potted histories run by Katherine Tyrrell. Information includes exhibitions (including past exhibitions), organizations, botanical gardens, courses, etc. https://www.botanicalartandartists.com

  • Further Reading

    Arber, Agnes, and William T Stearn. Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution : A Chapter in the History of Botany : 1470-1670. 3rd ed. / with an introduction and Annotations by William T. Stearn. Cambridge Science Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

    Bartlett, Harley Harris, and Hide Shohara. Japanese Botany during the Period of Wood-Block Printing. Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1961.

    Bleichmar, Daniela. Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

    Blunt, Wilfrid, and Sandra Raphael. The Illustrated Herbal. Rev. ed. London: Frances Lincoln, 1994.

    Brooks, Charlotte. RHS Botanical Illustration: The Gold Medal Winners. Woodbridge, Suffolk: ACC Art Books, 2019.

    Cave, Roderick. Impressions of Nature: A History of Nature Printing. 1st ed. London: New York, NY: British Library, 2010.

    Crowley, John E. Imperial Landscapes: Britain’s Global Visual Culture, 1745-1820. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.

    Dalrymple, William, and Lucian Harris. Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company. London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2019.

    Egmond, Florike. Eye for Detail: Images of Plants and Animals in Art and Science, 1500-1630. London: Reaktion Books, 2017.


    Evans, Mark. “‘Painting Natural Things’ Images of Plants and Animals.” In Evans, Mark Renaissance Watercolours from Dürer to van Dyck, 92–149. London: V&A Publications, 2020.

    Fairman, Elisabeth R. Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists’ Books and the Natural World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

    Freedberg, David. The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History. Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

    Harris, Stephen. The Magnificent Flora Graeca: How the Mediterranean Came to the English Garden. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2007.

    Henrey, Blanche. British Botanical and Horticultural Literature before 1800 Comprising a History and Bibliography of Botanical and Horticultural Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland from the Earliest Times until 1800. London ;New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.

    Leggett, Roxanne, and Bruce K. Kirchoff. “Image Use in Field Guides and Identification Keys: Review and Recommendations.” AoB PLANTS 2011, no. plr004 (1 January 2011). https://doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plr004.

    Nickelsen, Kärin. Draughtsmen, Botanists and Nature: The Construction of Eighteenth-Century Botanical Illustrations. Archimedes (Dordrecht, Netherlands) 15. Dordrecht: Springer, 2006.

    Ogilvie, Brian W. The Science of Describing: Natural History in Renaissance Europe. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

    Pinault Sørensen, Madeleine. Le livre de botanique, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Conférences Léopold Delisle. Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2008.

    Prince, Sue Ann. Of Elephants & Roses : French Natural History, 1790-1830. Of Elephants and Roses. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, APS Museum, 2013.

    Quinby, Jane, and Allan Stevenson. Catalogue of Botanical Books in the Collection of Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt. Pittsburgh: Hunt Botanical Library, 1958.

    Ray, Romita. Under the Banyan Tree: Relocating the Picturesque in British India. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2013.

    Saunders, Gill. Picturing Plants: An Analytical History of Botanical Illustration. London: Zwemmer in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1995.
    Out of print but second hand copies are readily available for around $20.

    Schiebinger, Londa L, and Claudia Swan. Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, and Politics in the Early Modern World. Philadelphia, Penn.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

    The Shirley Sherwood Collection : Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art. Richmond: Kew Publishing, 2019.

    Thiers, Barbara M. Herbarium: The Quest to Preserve & Classify the World’s Plants. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 2020.

    Tomasi, Lucia Tongiorgi. “‘La Femminil Pazienza’: Women Painters and Natural History in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries.” O’Malley, Therese, and Amy R. W Meyers. Studies in the History of Art, Vol. 69, Symposium Papers XLVI: The Art of Natural History: Illustrated Treatises and Botanical Paintings, 1400-185069 (2008): 158–85.

  • Volumes of Essays

    Batsaki, Yota, Sarah Burke Cahalan, and Anatole Tchikine. The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century. Dumbarton Oaks Symposia and Colloquia. Washington, D.C., 2016.

    Curry, H. A., Nicholas Jardine, James A. Secord, and E. C. Spary. Worlds of Natural History. Cambridge: University Press, 2018.

    Jardine, Nicholas, James A Secord, and E. C Spary. Cultures of Natural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

    Meyers, Amy R. W, and Lisa L Ford. Knowing Nature: Art and Science in Philadelphia, 1740-1840. Art and Science in Philadelphia, 1740-1840. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.

    Miller, David Philip, and Peter Hanns Reill. Visions of Empire: Voyages, Botany, and Representations of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

    O’Malley, Therese, and Amy R. W Meyers. The Art of Natural History: Illustrated Treatises and Botanical Paintings, 1400-1850. Studies in the History of Art (Washington, D.C.). Symposium Papers. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2008.