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Botanical Illustrations of Besler, Catesby, Blackwell, and Redouté

Dates: March 10, 2016–April 27, 2018

This mini-exhibition highlights botanical illustrations from the permanent collections of the McClung Museum.

The museum has hundreds of natural history prints by important artists and naturalists. Botanical Illustrations features work from the extraordinary naturalists and artists Basilius Besler (1561–1629), Mark Catesby (1683–1749), Elizabeth Blackwell (1707–1758), and Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840).

On display are plates from Besler’s 1613 publication, Hortus Eystettensis (The Garden of Eichstätt) which was one of the first illustrated herbals noted for its lifelike depictions and its significant effort to systematize botanical nomenclature. Also on view are plates from explorer Mark Catesby’s 1731–1746 publication, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahamas, containing the earliest color prints of American flora and fauna. Elizabeth Blackwell’s 1737–1739 A Curious Herbal became an important reference work for physicians of medicinal and new world plants. Finally, Redouté, often called the greatest botanical illustrator of all time, created some of his most important hand-colored engravings in Les Liliacées published 1802-1816.

Curated by Jefferson Chapman.

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