Spring is not quite here yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring the beauty of nature inside! One beautiful way to do so is by displaying antique botanical prints.  Today I’m sharing botanical prints that were drawn and painted by women artists.

I am always thrilled to be able to obtain beautiful botanical prints at auction from England and France for my collection, and yours.

 

 

 

Drawn with meticulous attention to detail, and often hand colored, antique botanical prints provide a connection to the garden to cherish in these cold winter months.

 

The perfect way for any new collector to begin collecting art, antique botanical prints are so well priced, and they look beautiful framed.  Most of the prints that I find were first meticulously drawn by hand, with much attention to detail, by women, then copied to a “stone” by another artist before printing in the mid to late 1800’s.

 

 

 

Women have created stunning botanical studies, or art, since at least the 1700’s, but their work has mostly been ignored.  It wasn’t until 1996 {!!} that the first major study of women botanical artists was published.  Entitled Women of Flowers: A Tribute to Victorian Women Illustrators by Jack Kramer, it is a huge shame that these artists never received the respect they so deserved.

Women contributed to many important horticultural journals including Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, The Pomological Magazine, and the Proceedings of the Royal Horticultural Society, although most of their work was published for the enjoyment of ladies in the 1800’s, early 1900’s.  {And obviously, ladies and gentlemen in the 21st century, if I see how quickly you snap up these beauties for your home decor.}

 

 

 

Right now, we have botanical prints by two major women artists available.  I’d like to introduce these talented ladies to you today.

 

 

Anne Pratt Wooster was born in Kent, England on the 5th of December in 1806.  Her father was a grocer, and together with her two sisters and mother, Anne led a quiet life.  Because she had a bad knee and was “delicate”, Anne was encouraged to occupy herself by drawing while her sisters played outdoors.

A family friend, Dr. Dods, introduced her to botany, and the rest, really, is history.  After moving to London, Anne developed a career as an illustrator.  She became one of the most well-known Victorian era English botanical illustrators, and as you can see, her talent was immense.

She wrote more than twenty books, which she illustrated with chromolithographs.  She is credited with partially creating the popularity of botany in her era.  Sadly, she never really received the credit and respect she deserved, as her work was looked down on because she was “self taught” and only a woman.

 

Her most popular work was Wild Flowers, it was published in 1852.  Large, illustrated prints from this book were published for schools all over England.

 

Her books were important, it spread the love and knowledge of botany. She was given a grant from the civil list and in 1855, her Flowering Plants and Ferns of Great Britain, illustrated with coloured block printed plates was printed. It was quite expensive, because it is an exhaustive history of all British plant species, but nearly every wealthy society family had one in their drawing room.

 

 

 

{I’m cheering loudly for Anne, aren’t you?!} 

 

 

Jane Loudon was born in 1807, she is another one of the most successful and talented female botanical illustrators whose work had mixed reviews in her day. Luckily, her art is highly regarded now.  {yay, Jane!}

Jane was to Victorian gardening what Mrs Beeton was to cooking.

Her beautifully illustrated books on gardening and plant identification were bought by thousands of women all over England, and it encouraged them to take up gardening as a hobby.

 

 

 

Jane started her writing career with a fiction book, The Mummy, Tales from the Twenty-Second Century, a futuristic look at possible improvements to living in Britain.  Her steam plough idea in the book caught the attention of John Loudon, a horticultural publisher and writer.  Within seven months, after a whirl wind courtship, Jane and John married, and they began working together on his books and in their garden.

{It really IS true that flowers are romantic! sorry…couldn’t help myself.}

 

 

 

Jane, by her own admission, knew absolutely nothing about gardening or botany. But she was a quick study, and with the help of her expert husband she soon became a very capable gardener.

She decided that a gardening book that “regular” people could understand was needed, and wrote a gardening book for ladies. Her book Instructions in Gardening for Ladies was published in 1840. It was written in an easy to follow style, and sold more than 200,000 copies.

 

 

A self taught artist, Jane began to illustrate her own books, with beautiful floral illustrations.  Most of these prints are hand colored.

 

Her influence on gardening really is difficult to describe, as the made gardening popular by making it accessible to everyone.  She made gardening and botany an enthusiastically popular hobby all over England. Her work is exhibited in many museums, including The National Art Library’s Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

 

I hope that you are as enthusiastic about the gorgeous botanical art prints these two women artists created as I am.

I have a collection of these beauties available at FrenchGardenHouse right in time for Spring. I’ve been able to offer many of them in a set of four complementary prints at a very agreeable price.  {Because I was able to obtain them in England at an amazing price.}

These look amazing framed, and make an enticing wall display in your home.

 

 SHOP ANTIQUE BOTANICAL PRINTS >

See you next time! Looking forward to SPRING with all of you!