The investigation of landscape, nature and ecology in contemporary art has its roots, in part, in the legacy of Romanticism and the search for man's place within the world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Artist: Takashi Murakami

Title: Champignon

Dimensions: 20.5 X 20.5 in.

Medium: Lithograph

Creation Date: 2006

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Redoute's A Selection of the Most Beautiful Flowers and Fruits

Artist: John Miller

John Miller (1715-1790)
'Thistle sp.'
Plate from 'An Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus'
Published in parts between 1770 and 1777
Coloured by hand
Museum no. E.48-1892

The Swedish botanist Linnaeus (1707-78) was the first scientist to classify plants not according to the way people used them, but rather by the physical similarities between their reproductive parts. Once classified, each species was given a fixed two-part Latin name reflecting where in the plant world it belonged.

This print was made as plate for an English publication An Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus. As the title suggests, there was a strict adherence to Linnaean principles: the plants were ordered in the volumes alphabetically by Latin name, while the dissections at the foot of the page emphasised the importance of the reproductive parts.

Linnaeus himself praised the illustrations, saying that they were 'more beautiful and more accurate than any that had been seen since the world began'.

Artist: Ernst Haeckle - fungus

Chinese Botanical Paintings

Chinese Botanical Paintings,
Tetrapanax papyriferum (Hook.)Koch

265-420 A.D.
The earliest mention of the use of pith paper is thought to be during the Tsin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.). In the official records in the year of Jiann Kang "Jiann Kang Shyr Luh", it is mentioned that the emperor ordered servants to arrange flowers made from "Tung-tsaou".

Artist: Thomas Taylor

Thomas Taylor (1820-1910)
Student's Hand-Book Of Mushrooms Of America Edible And Poisonous
Washington, A. R. Taylor, 1897-98
Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany

Thomas Taylor is credited with the introduction of plant pathology into federal agricultural research.

Born in Pertshire, Scotland, Taylor was interested and educated in a wide variety of subjects. He studied physics and chemistry at Glasgow University, art and drawing at the British School of design, and medicine at Georgetown University. His background in botany was largely self-taught.

Taylor was appointed to be the first Microscopist to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1871. There he was responsible for the first USDA publications on microscopic plant pathogens. One of Taylor's particular interests included pathogenic fungi. He published several descriptions of edible and poisonous mushrooms, with recipes. His Handbook of Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms was published in 1897.

Taylor was not particularly popular with his colleagues, and much of his work was disregarded due to his informal training in botany. Though his work in phytopathology was criticized for being small in scale, Taylor pursued his interests earnestly.

Artist: Rev. M.J. Berkeley

Rev. M. J. (Miles Joseph) Berkeley (1803-1889)
Outlines Of British Fungology
London, L. Reeve, 1860.
Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany

Miles Joseph was born at Biggin Hall on the 1st April, 1803. He became attached to natural history from an early period, and his scientific tendencies, both zoological and botanical, were kept alive and vigorous when at Christ's College, Cambridge. During a summer residence at Loch Lomond in 1823, and at Oban in 1824, he made considerable collections of specimens of the lower forms of animals and plants. At this time he made the acquaintance of Captain Carmichael, a cryptogamic botanist, whose association with the young student must have been of considerable advantage.

Mr. Berkeley was admitted deacon and curate of Stibbington, near Wansford, on December 1st, 1826, and here he was ordained priest on December 23rd, 1827. During this time he made a considerable number of drawings of fungi and began to publish his numerous cryptogamic publications.

In 1879 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, and shortly after presented his extensive collection of fungi, amounting to upwards of 10,000 species, to Kew. It has been estimated that it contains 4,866 type specimens named by himself, and that Mr. Berkeley must have named in all nearly 6,000 species.

Mushrooms - William A. Murrill

William A. Murrill (1869-1957)

Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms
New York, The author, 1916.
Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany

Figure 32 - Venenarius phalloides (Amanita phalloides).

William Alphonso Murrill was a mycologist, taxonomist, writer, and authority on the fleshy fungi (Basidiomycetes). He collected over 70,000 specimens of fungi in North and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Using the American Code of nomenclature Murrill identified and described many new genera and species and made nomenclatural revisions of existing taxa that were variously criticized and praised by American mycologists.

Murrill published over five hundred scientific articles on a wide range of botanical subjects. Murrill founded and served as editor of Mycologia (1909-1924) and the Journal of the NYBG (1906-1908), and was a contributor to North American Flora. In 1924 he retired both from the Garden and from professional life altogether. During the 1930's he became associated with the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he resumed mycological study and publication until his death in 1957.

Artist: Joseph Bridgeham

Joseph Bridgham (1845-1915)
unpuplished watercolor and pen & ink drawing
Farlow Archives of Cryptogamic Botany

Watercolor - incorrectly identified as Amanita phalloides pale form but probably Amanita mappa
Pen & Ink - identified as Amanita phalloides

Joseph Bridgham achieved recognition in the scientific world as an entomologist and a nature artist. Much of Bridgham's work was commissioned by the United States government. In addition Bridgham worked for colleges and institutions throughout the United States as well as other countries. He worked with Professor William Farlow from 1889-1899 on the fungi of North America. During this period he also produced a set of illustrations of North America flowers for Columbia College in New York.