Thursday, 11 June 2015

Nikolaus von Jacquin's Plants of the Americas

A new, sumptuous limited edition set of Austrian born Nikolaus von Jacquin's 'Selectarum stirpium Americanarum historia' or 'Plants of the Americas' has just been released by The Folio Society (available here). 


This historically important book includes 264 illustrations showcasing work by some of the finest botanical artists of the 18th century. This edition has been made using Kew's own copy of the rare 1780 edition of the book and is the first time that such a reproduction has been made and translated from Latin into English. The limited edition set has been printed on Veltique paper (similar to the original) and comes inside a specially designed presentation box. Only 750 copies have been produced.


A botanical plate of Chrysophyllum cainito
Chrysophyllum cainito

A botanical painting of Dolichos urens
Dolichos urens

If you want to see the original it is possible to see Kew's copy in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.




Monday, 1 June 2015

Kurt Po and his Aloe

Kurt Po's Aloes on canvas are to die for. I want one in my imaginary house. Ever since I worked at Architectural Plants I have always loved the bold, cocky form of an Aloe. Those jagged, juicy leaves masquerading under the sun in one big powerful, thrilling, explosive stance. Kurt makes me love the structure of Aloes all the more though. There is something striking about the boldness of the hot inflorescence spikes being combined with the watery roots below - I seriously like the contrast. Furthermore, I particularly admire the dramatic dark tones at the base of every leaf. He goes so dark in some of the paintings it's quite remarkable and pretty daring. The risk of going so dark certainly pays off, giving every one of these plants strong form and structure. Nice work there Kurt!

Aloe (by Kurt Po)

Aloe (by Kurt Po)

Aloe (by Kurt Po)

Aloe (by Kurt Po)

Aloe (by Kurt Po)

Aloe in Charcoal (by Kurt Po)