The University Record, June 5, 2000

Flower books on display at Hatcher

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Illustration courtesy Hatcher Graduate Library
Not even the predicted unusually hot and dry summer will keep these flowers from blooming. They are indoors as part of the University’s “Flowers: Rare Books and Prints” exhibition in the Special Collections Room on the 7th floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library. This display of colorful blossoms will continue through Aug. 31.

Unfortunately fragrance is not a part of this particular exhibit, but the artists’ and illustrators’ renderings of these spectacular specimens is open for viewing 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday and 10 a.m.–noon Saturday.

Following the early 15th- and 16th-century herbals, books primarily about “useful” plants for medicinal purposes, interest grew in purely ornamental or garden flowers. Thus, the 18th and 19th centuries are known as the era of the “Great Flower Book,” a result of botany’s emergence as a separate science and the introduction of the metal plate to replace the woodcut in illustration. As a result, the “florilegium” or picture books of beautiful plants came into being.

Samples of this art form in the exhibition include one of the first great flower books, published in 1613, and a publication by the French artist Redoute.

The exhibition includes illustrations of roses, lilies, American plants, English plants and the flora of Austria and the Himalayas.

For more information or to arrange a tour, call (734) 764-9377.