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23 February 2018: Books for Spring

 

As the days get longer and we get closer to spring, we've taken a look in our library and found a few books focused on all things flora and fauna. The works we've selected look at a wide variety of horticultural books, and include works from Kew gardens, to the charming illustrations of The Flower Fairies.

 

1891 Flower Painting for Beginners by Ethel Nisbet Presentation Copy

 

 

 This fascinating instructional work takes the reader through a step-by-step process of painting, from procuring the correct materials, to adding the final details to the completed water colour. The charming work also contains twelve of Ethel Nesbit’s (who was an established watercolour artist herself) completed paintings and includes a range of popular British flowers, including poppies, daisies and pansies. The work in our library also contains a dedication from the author to her friend Florence Reason, making it a unique example of the popular painting manual. It is bound in a decorative cloth binding with coloured daisies to the front board.

 

1931 The Scented Garden Eleanour Sinclair Rohde Flower Gardening Horticulture

 

 

The Scented Garden is an acclaimed work on gardening, credited with being responsible for the popularisation of herb gardens. The author, Eleanour Sinclair Rohde was a renowned British gardener, garden historian and horticultural writer, who, alongside writing a number of popular horticultural works, was also responsible for the herb garden for Lullingstone Castle in Kent.  This particular copy of the work is the first edition, published in 1931. It has been re-bound in an excellent half-crushed morocco binding and contains chapters on growing a wide range of plants and flowers.

 

c1925 Spring Songs with Music From Flower Fairies of the Spring Illus C M Barker

 

 

The lovely illustrations and poems included in Cicely Mary Barker’s ‘Flower Fairies’ series are, to this day, still read and enjoyed by many children. The first collection of these charming drawings, Flower Fairies of the Spring, was published in 1923 and followed on from the popularisation of fairies from authors such as J. M. Barrie and Andrew Lang. Alongside the four major seasonal works; Flower Fairies of the Spring, Flower Fairies of the Summer; Flower Fairies of the Autumn and Flower Fairies of the Winter (which was published posthumously). Barker produced a number of different related works, including this charming musical book. ‘Spring Songs with Music’ puts the original poetry and illustrations, by Barker, to music composed by Olive Linnell.

 

1900 Coloured Vade-Mecum to the Alpine Flora Illustrated Schroter Seventh Ed

 

 

This profusely illustrated work on Alpine flowers contains twenty six plates, displaying two hundred and seven coloured alpine flowers and ten monochrome flowers. Alpine flowers are renowned for their biodiversity and ability to flourish in adverse weather conditions across the Alps. This work showcases the variety of colourful and unusual plants the region has to offer. The accompanying text is in English, French and German and expands on the multitude of illustrations. The copy in our library is the seventh edition of the work and is bound in a charming pictorial cloth binding.

 

1902 Hand-List of Herbaceous Plants Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Second Edition

 

 

This academic work focuses on the herbaceous plants cultivated in Kew Gardens. This particular copy is the second edition of the work and heavily expands upon the first edition, containing two thousand more species than in the first. Kew Gardens is credited with being the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collection in the world. It was founded in 1840 and now contains over thirty thousand different kinds of plants. The centre is an extremely important botanical research and education institute. The herbaceous plants focused in this volume are an integral part of the gardens, and contains examples from all regions of the world.

 

 1802 The Seasons James Thomson Illustrated with Biography by Murdoch

 

 

The Seasons by James Thomson is perhaps one of the best known seasonal works, and contains a series of four poems based around the four seasons. The first part, 'Winter', was first published in 1726, with the quartet completed by 1730. The poem was met with much acclaim and stimulated works by noted artists including Gainsborough and J. M. W. Turner. The work extols the virtues of the countryside, utilising elaborate descriptors to give it a meditative feeling. We have a number of copies of this influential work. This copy, from 1802, is a very good example, bound in tree-calf with gilt detail. This edition also contains a chapter entitled ‘The Life of the Author’ by author and mathematician Patrick Murdoch, and a critical essay by author and doctor, John Aikin. 

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