Friday, 3 March 2017

Botanical illustrations. Australian.. or bright and cheerful.

Botanical illustration is universally appreciated – by all cultures and by all ages. Over the years as more people move to the cities our pace of life or place of residence no longer allows us to watch a bird, butterfly or beetle, or to observe a beautiful bloom as it grows. The wonders of nature are around us every day but unless you have your own garden it is usually only those who plan trips to botanic gardens or the countryside who are able to enjoy them.

On the other hand, antique prints of nature can be studied - without any knowledge of their technical, scientific, or historic value. If we are not interested in the rarity of antique prints, the way they were made, and even the precious hand-made paper of early prints, we can still appreciate their beauty, in the inexpensive reproduction prints that have been made from them to make them more readily available.

The most popular of all Australian botany prints are undoubtedly the Banksias – named after the great English botanist Sir Joseph Banks who funded much of the first voyage of Captain Cook, and accompanied this important voyage when Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770. While their ship Endeavour was laid up for repairs near Cooktown, after being damaged on the Barrier Reef, Banks and the other scientists on the voyage travelled around the countryside observing and recording the terrain and the fauna and flora. It is no wonder that original hand-coloured copperplate engravings of early natural history studies are so precious; but less rare, less expensive, and equally decorative, are the Heritage Editions and Decorator Art prints of Australian flowers. There are many to choose from..

Perhaps three or four small prints of an Iris or Lily have greater appeal? They can even be framed together in one frame for a grand focal point. There are 10 of these Heritage Editions elegant botanical studies by Curtis to choose from… or else, around a group of 5 large prints from Basil Besler’s 17th century studies of flowers that are beautifully displayed with their bulbs and roots for added character, and with their names in flourishing script.

For colour and drama, choose from the 17th and 18th century illustrations for plant catalogues. With several images to a page they produce an entirely different effect – particularly when hung together on a wall: 6 brightly-coloured vertical prints of plants with bulbs by Johann De Bry, and four elegant horizontal groups of flowers by Filippo Arena are prints from some of the finest botanical engravings ever done.

For an entirely different effect and particularly suited to kitchens or family rooms, 4 illustrations by Volckamer show brightly-coloured citrus fruit (some cut to show the inside), with their names on ribbons, floating above the European estates where they were grown in the eighteenth century. 

A group of botanical studies can be a centrepiece in any room or even above a bed. One large Besler flower study each side of a bed or each side of a piece of furniture against a wall in any room look really stylish. A single small print or even a pair can add charm to a kitchen, bathroom, laundry, or even the smallest room in the house. Bring the beauty of nature inside all year round – either with bright colour or elegant subtlety.

U/V blocking glass is now available to prevent fading and damage of all your artwork. Conservation framing is worth the extra cost for long-term enjoyment. Your artwork can improve the atmosphere of any room. If you need help please get in touch. We’d be happy to help you.

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