The Blue Stocking Society

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The Walled Garden - Botanical Prints

I do love Spring. The last few days have been a welcome respite from the biting cold air we have become accustomed to over Winter here in Southern New South Wales. The trees are in blossom and new leaves are appearing on the stark branches. Its lovely to get out early and not battle with the ice on windscreens or the animals drinking water.

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As those of you that follow my Instagram feed will know, I have been doing a little work assisting Floralia Gallery with getting their collection onto their online shop. They have an abundance of beautiful antique prints, maps and photographs. This work ties in well with my passion for all things paper as well as being valuable material to study as part of my Masters in Antiques that I begin this month. What has been catching my eye has been the beautiful botanicals. I also have a collection of antique botanical prints and vintage gardening books ( that will be available at the next Collected and Created Market). What captures my imagination, beyond the fact that the subject matter is so beautiful is the way these prints were produced. Each one has been hand coloured by an artist. In a single illustration an artist can depict a plant in bud, in bloom and on to seed with details of sections at a magnified scale.

The earliest portrayals of plants date back 4000 years ago to Mesopotamia and Egypt as a decorative tool. In 60AD in Rome the Greek physician Dioscorides compiled the De Materia Medica to allow the need to identify medicinal plants. But the 18th Century was the golden age of botanicals, with major advances in printing processes which meant that illustrations could be reproduced with more accurate detail. Flora discovered in expeditions to Russian, India, China, South America, Japan and Australia were collected and documented.

There was a growing demand for botanical publications from both amateur botanists and gardeners and the visual appeal of the prints were a draw card for the general reader as well.

Today, in the digital age botanical art continues to flourish and is a very popular form of wall art. Whether you are an avid orchid lover, rose enthusiast (that's me!) or are mad about native flora, there are a plethora to choose from. They could be collected by type, by colour, by artist or publication, or place of origin. Kitchens look beautiful with herbs and fruit prints or use roses to give a room a romantic feminine feel. They are a wonderful gift for the garden lover in your life too. I love them en mass. Enjoy your own walled garden by creating a gallery of them in your home.

Next time you hear from me I will be in Scotland!

Caroline xx