Botanical Flower Studies from around the South West of England

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These works are one of a collection of botanical studies we have for sale, all by the same hand, that dates from the 1880s to 1890s, capturing local flora in a ten year journey that traversed through Bristol and Somerset, to Devon, all the way to the furthest reaches of the Lizard in Cornwall.  Though executed with clear scientific intent, the paintings show an exuberant use of colour, balancing leafy greens with the yellow, purples and reds of native English vegetation. Given the great care and attention paid to the details of the drawings - the labels are highly specific, including genus, species and common plant and flower names – this collection is most certainly the work of a budding botanist, likely a woman given the flow of the handwriting. As the earliest date on the paintings is 1884, it is possible that our artist may have been influenced by the intrepid ecologist Marianne North, whose dazzling botanical paintings had recently gone on display in their own pavilion at Kew Gardens in 1882. Many of the images centre around the Bristol area, so it is possible the artist may have been a local, perhaps a member of the Bristol Botanical Society, a collaborative dedicated to ‘the promotion of the study of natural history, particularly that of the Bristol area, and the conservation of the fauna, flora, and geological sites of Britain’ that had been in operation since 1862. Though informal, these works are an exciting part of the late Victorian quest for scientific detail, exploration and natural appreciation.