GCA Library Chairman, Arete Warren is the curator of the exhibit and has written the engaging and scholarly book which examines the collection and tells the history of the books, often with delightful stories of how they came to the GCA.
“A Natural History of Birds, most of which have not been figur’d or describ’d, and others very little known from obscure or too brief Descriptions without Figures, or from Figures very ill design’d” How is that for a long title? This book, center, is by George Edwards, London 1743-51. The colors of the illustrations are still fresh and vibrant.
A superb Flora Danica Tureen with Cover and Planter is one of the only non-book items in the exhibit. It is shown with the GCA’s copy (1777) of the original “Flora Danica”, a Danish florilegium, used as source material for the porcelain design.
In a huge case, the work of Priscilla Susan Faulkner, an esteemed female botanical illustrator of the early and mid 19C. This is a book solely about Amaryllis and Lilies. What a wonderful style of composition she has!
In the center of this row, “The Clematis As A Garden Flower”, 1877, was written by nurseryman Thomas Jackman with botanist Thomas Moore. Introduced in 1862, Clematis ‘jackmanii was named for him. Just beyond is “Reichenbachia: orchids illustrated and described”, 1888-94.
A hand tipped color chart from Mabel Cabot Sedgwick’s “The Garden Month by Month DESCRIBING the appearance, color, dates of bloom, height and cultivation of all desirable, HARDY HERBACEOUS PERENIALS, for the formal or wild garden with additional lists of vines, ferns, etc.” An even-longer book title from 1907 and the only book in the exhibit that I also have on my shelf. Long Hill her summer home in Beverly MA is open to the public.
“Gardening by The Book” has even more exquisite color illustrations for some of the books than can be shown in the exhibit. The GCA has a gem of a collection and this exhibition allows them to share it with visitors to the Grolier Club. It runs until July 27th, 2013. Don’t miss it.