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

Open All
Close All
  • Required Readings

    Blunt, Wilfred, and William T. Stearn. The Art of Botanical Illustration. London: Royal Botanical Gardens Kew; New York: ACC Art Books, 2021.
    –This is a wide-ranging survey covering the whole period we will be dealing with.

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

    Twyman, Michael. The British Library Guide to Printing: History and Techniques. Second impression, first published 1998 by The British Library. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.
    –This is a thoughtful, brief introduction to printing technology for both words and images up to the digital revolution. For more detail on printing the text, it would be helpful to read at least the sections on Composition, Imposition and Presswork in Philip Gaskell’s A New Introduction to Bibliography (see below).

  • Browsing

    Bynum, Helen, and William Bynum. Botanical Sketchbooks. Princeton Architectural Press, 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 for 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), Organisations, Botanical gardens, courses, &c.

    The Met’s Cloisters blogs largely revolve around the “medieval” garden. Formerly “The Medieval Garden Enclosed” (https://blog.metmuseum.org/cloistersgardens/) now “In Season” (https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/in-season).

  • Further Reading

    Don’t feel you have to read any of this before the class, but you may want to do some background reading on one or two of the topics we will be discussing.

    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.

    Bass, Pieter, Terry van Druten, et al., Pierre-Joseph Redoute: Botanical Artist to the Court of France. Rotterdam: nai010 Publishers, for the Teylers Museum, 2013.

    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: 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: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

    Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: 1972; reprinted with corrections 1974 and 1979; New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 1995, 2009.

    Givens, Jean A. Observation and Image-Making in Gothic Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    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: Oxford University Press, 1975.

    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.

    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

    McBurney, Henrietta. Illuminating Natural History. The Art and Science of Mark Catesby. London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2021.

    Magee, Judith. The Art and Science of William Bartram. London: The Natural History Museum, 2007.

    Neville, Sarah. Early Modern Herbals and the Book Trade: English Stationers and the Commodification of Botany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022. Open Access on Cambridge Core at doi.org/10.1017/9781009031615

    Nickelsen, Kärin. Draughtsmen, Botanists and Nature: The Construction of Eighteenth-Century Botanical Illustrations. Archimedes (Dordrecht, Netherlands) 15. Dordrecht: Springer, 2006. An analytical study concentrating of the work of Georg Dionysius Ehret.

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

    Parrish, Susan Scott, American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World. Chapel Hill, NC, and Williamsburg, VA: The University of North Carolina Press, for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 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.

    Ray, Romita. Under the Banyan Tree: Relocating the Picturesque in British India. New Haven: 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 secondhand 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: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

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

    Singer, Charles. “The Herbal in Antiquity and Its Transmission to Later Ages.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 47 (1927): 1–52.

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

  • 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.
    –See especially Amy R. W. Meyers, “William Bartram’s Drawing of a New Species of Arethusa (1796).”

    Curry, H. A., Nicholas Jardine, James A. Secord, and E. C. Spary. Worlds of Natural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
    –See especially Kärin Nickelsen, “Image and Nature” pp. 221–35.

    Givens, Jean A, Karen Reeds, and Alain Touwaide. Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200–1550. AVISTA Studies in the History of Medieval Technology, Science and Art. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.
    –See especially Hoeniger, Cathleen. “The Illuminated Tacuinum Sanitatis Manuscripts from Northern Italyca. 1380–1400: Sources, Patrons, and the Creation of a New Pictorial Genre.”

    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. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
    –See especially Meyers, “From Nature and Memory” and Joel Fry, “America’s ‘Ancient Garden’: The Bartram Botanic Garden, 1728–1850.”

    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: Yale University Press, 2008.
    –This includes many excellent and relevant essays, see among others Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi. “‘La Femminil Pazienza’: Women Painters and Natural History in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries,” pp. 158–85.