Handbook of Plant and Floral Ornament: Selected from the Herbals of the Sixteenth Century, and Exhibiting the Finest Examples of Plant-Drawing Found in Those Rare Works, Whether Executed in Wood-Cuts or in Copperplate Engravings, Arranged for the Use of the Decorator

Handbook of Plant and Floral Ornament: Selected from the Herbals of the Sixteenth Century, and Exhibiting the Finest Examples of Plant-Drawing Found in Those Rare Works, Whether Executed in Wood-Cuts or in Copperplate Engravings, Arranged for the Use of the Decorator

Handbook of Plant and Floral Ornament: Selected from the Herbals of the Sixteenth Century, and Exhibiting the Finest Examples of Plant-Drawing Found in Those Rare Works, Whether Executed in Wood-Cuts or in Copperplate Engravings, Arranged for the Use of the Decorator

Handbook of Plant and Floral Ornament: Selected from the Herbals of the Sixteenth Century, and Exhibiting the Finest Examples of Plant-Drawing Found in Those Rare Works, Whether Executed in Wood-Cuts or in Copperplate Engravings, Arranged for the Use of the Decorator

Excerpt

The object of this publication is to render available to designers and plant-lovers the best of the engraved drawings of plants which have made the Herbals of the sixteenth century famous.

Executed while botanical science was still in its infancy, these old drawings are not likely to satisfy those persons who look always for the marks by which genus and species are distinguished.

But to the artist, and particularly to the designer or craftsman, these figures can hardly fail to appeal. Full of decorative suggestion, and fine examples of treatment, they present the plants as they are known to ordinary people, with their character usually admirably expressed.

There is a revival at the present time of the use of plant form in design; not, indeed, of the use of later Victorian days, in which Nature was regarded merely as a store-house of form, but of that of the days of Elizabeth, James I and Charles I, when men used flowers and plants in decoration, because they knew and loved the plants themselves, and delighted to represent them. Of this present-day revival William Morris was the pioneer; and he looked back to those earlier times.

In such decorative work the figures of plants in the old herbals are of the greatest value. In many cases they are designs ready-done, and can be appropriated wholesale. Observe, for instance, the use made by Sir E. Burne-Jones in the design for the cover of Ruskin Studies in Both Arts of figures of the Purple Wind-flower and White Lily, reproduced in this book.

But the old herbals are unwieldy and costly; and the aim of the compiler has therefore been to collect from all of them the best and most helpful figures into a handy compass.

The best use of these drawings will doubtless be made by those who . . .

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