A group of vivacious flower prints by Elizabeth Blackwell, one of the most famous early eighteenth-century botanical illustrators. Mrs. Blackwell lived a memorable life, having produced her charming Herbal (1737-9) to get her decidedly unpredictable husband out of debtor's prison. As the story goes: "...she took a lodging near the Chelsea Physic Garden and set about making the drawings and engravings which have made her famous. From his prison cell Alexander assisted with the text; and so successful was their joint venture that two years later he was released." (Wilfrid Blunt, The Art of Botanical Illustration, p. 136) But rather unfortunately the story does not end here. Mr. Blackwell was subsequently arrested for treason in Sweden and finally beheaded, remaining in good spirits to the last.
These appealing prints live on to remind us of Mrs. Blackwell's remarkable story, as well as existing in their own right as an important part of the herbal tradition. They were so important, even in their own time, to have been reissued in this form by the well-known botanical scholar, Christoph Jakob Trew. All in all, a charming and fascinating group of botanical prints.
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated December 12, 2012