New Terrariums

Several new terrariums for bright light environment…

New Terrariums September 2012

Terrarium with three mushrooms

This is very temporary terrarium. It has three small mushrooms. I do not think they will live long, maybe other couple days. I plan to put something different as substitution, more permanent :]

Terrarium – 3 Small Mushrooms :]

The Flora Universalis: Proof-Prints Study

Some of the scans from possible proof-prints of The Flora Universalis to support my point that they are indeed pre-pocessed botanical prints ‘in work’. I wish I could see the finals, but because the work is very rare I could not find any of my prints as final version.

Ficinia contexta whole [almost] print with drawings and legends. [The size of the prints is not standard, they are larger than A4 and Letter – that is why the bottom is cut off]

Hand writing with pencil and small additional drawings appear on quite a few of the prints. Another example:

Fragment from Fuirena coerulescens print. The picture drawn with pencil and hand colored plus hand writing are very remarkable on this piece.

Many of the prints are only partially colored which most probably indicates color study.

Passiflora print only half colored – probably color study.

Detective story: The Flora Universalis

Awhile ago I bought botanical prints at flea market. The prints were in a bad shape: marked, stained, cut, ripped, with handwriting on the other side, etc. They cost not so much and I planned to use them in my art [to make frames for other botanical prints in my collection]. After some time I looked at them again, this time more carefully and realized – I have got something interesting in my hands…

First of all, some of the prints have the small  additional hand drawings with legends. Second, the colors do not looked finalized but rather resemble washed colors for study. Third, many prints have OTHER prints on the other side, not related to the subject, in some cases it is animal print, plant print, some other things [the final book prints were always one-sided].

Forth, and the most exiting!, the hand writing from the other side and marks and stains are appeared to be the marks from post! There is the address, stamp, signature, the hole from the seal…

I decided to dig into it.

Corydalis botanical hand colored print [fragment].

Even though the colors do not look finalized they are still gorgeous on this print of Corydalis physocarpa!

Backside with name [Herr Ernst Lobe] and address [Weimar], year 1854.

The first clue was a style of the prints and address of course: the style is typical German – no free space, everything is cluttered, multiple species per page. This kind of style appeared with Bertuch’s “Bilderbuch für Kinder” [Picturebook for Children] and existed for some time only in Germany. Friedrich Bertuch used to put at one print more than one plant species and in some [many] cases even mix animal and plants. The whole Picturebook for Children can be found here [check it! it is very interesting].

Zuckerahorn und Kartoffel, Bertuch 1796. Example of the print from Bertuch’s Picturebook for Children.

Unfortunately, knowing year, country and probably publisher was not enough to figure out where these prints came from. Why not? The reason was very simple. The prints came from very obscure work. The prints themselves are NOT final prints but proofs sent from author to artists/publisher/editor [?? unclear]. Anyway, after a few months digging in internet and library I figured it out! :] The prints in my lap are from The Flora Universalis which is fundamental work of Dr. David Dietrich. The Flora Universalis was printed primarily in 1830th, but some parts of it were printed much later during 50th and even 60th. This is obscure and scarce work, consisted of over 4500 prints and 476 booklets. Some of the prints can be seen here and here.

Iris from The Flora Universalis, David Dietrich, 1833-35. From here.

Macodes petola

Even though I planned [and promised] to write about Maculinea butterflies, let me put this post first. I just got Macodes petola or Jewel Orchid in my mail box. The plant is beautiful with all these tender gold veins on the leaves… It was damaged – the top leaf [the very new one] was pinched and dried off. Now I worry if the plant will survive. The bottom leaves are seemed rigid, but those on the top are slightly drooped.

Macodes petola from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, 1889, vol. 115 (Ser. 3 no. 45) pl. 7037