Tags for: The Flowering of the Botanical Print
  • Special Exhibition

A Group of Auriculas (detail), 1803. Frederick Lewis (British, 1779–1856) and James I. Hopwood (British, c. 1752–1819), after Peter Charles Henderson (British, active 1799, died 1829). Color aquatint, stipple, and etching with watercolor added by hand. Gift of the Print Club of Cleveland 1949.415.

The Flowering of the Botanical Print

Saturday, March 26–Sunday, July 3, 2016
Location:  101A–B Prints and Drawings
James and Hannah Bartlett Gallery

About The Exhibition

Celebrating the centennials of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Botanical Garden, The Flowering of the Botanical Print traces the history of the fruit and flower print from its humble beginnings as simple black-and-white woodcuts in late 15th-century herbals (books describing plants used for medicinal purposes) to the splendors of 19th-century color prints and the lavish publications of botanists Dr. Robert Thornton and Pierre Joseph Redouté.

More than 70 prints, drawings, and books illustrate the masterful draftsmanship and scientific accuracy of botanical artists who also explored the rhythmic patterns in each blossom, fruit, leaf, and stalk. The works reflect developments in horticultural practice from late medieval gardens of native wildflowers and formal Renaissance gardens of carefully cultivated plants imported from the Near East and the New World to famous English landscaping of the 17th and 18th centuries when “a whole nation went mad about flowers.”

At the core of the exhibition are works from the museum’s Donald Gray Memorial Collection of fruit and flower prints and related drawings, which was established by the Print Club of Cleveland in 1939 in memory of a former president who was a landscape architect. The Eleanor Squire Library of the Cleveland Botanical Garden and the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum have generously lent important books, including the earliest examples from the late 15th-century illustrated with woodcuts.