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Western Libraries

Botanical Illustration Resources: Biography

A Selected Bibliography created for the 1999 Northwest Botanical Illustration Symposium (updated frequently) Compiled by Julene Sodt, of the Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA

Biography including Diaries

Butler, Patricia.  Irish Botanical Illustrators & Floral Painters.  Woodbridge, Sufolk, England:  Antique Collector's Club, 2001.
        Describes the contribution of over 70 artists working in Ireland as well as abroad. Many illustrations, mostly in color.

Calmann, Gerta. Ehret, Flower Painter Extraordinary: an Illustrated Biography. Oxford: Phaidon, 1977.
        Illustrated study of the life and work of one of the finest of the 18th century botanical artists. 95 colored and black and white illustrations. 160 pages.

Desmond, Ray. Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists: Including Plant Collectors, Flower Painters, and Garden Designers. 2 nd ed. London: Taylor & Francis; Natural History Museum, 1994.
        This is the revised and updated version which includes 13,000 entries for flower painters and garden designers. This large work also provides further biographical references in books and periodicals. 825 pages.

Lewis, Jan; Walter Hood Fitch, A Celebration. London: HMSO, 1991.
        Fitch, one of the most prolific botanical artists in history, published over 12,000 botanical drawings, especially in Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Lewis presents an essay on his achievements, as well as good examples of Fitch's work. Included are 74 color plates from paintings as well as other illustrations. 34 pages of text.

Mee, Margaret. Margaret Mee in Search of Flowers of the Amazon Forests: Diaries of an English Artist Reveal the Beauty of the Vanishing Rainforest . Woodbridge, Suffolk: Nonesuch Expeditions, 1988.  (QK 263.M44 1988)
        Portions of Margaret Mee’s diaries are arranged chronologically by expedition and illustrated with her paintings, sketches, and photographs taken on her expeditions. 302 pages.

North, Marianne. Recollections of a Happy Life: Being the Autobiography of Marianne North. Edited by Susan Morgan. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.
        This is basically a facsimile reprint of the first volume of her memoirs, originally published in 1894. Included are vivid accounts of plant-hunting in Brazil and other travels in the tropics studying botany and painting. 374 pages.

North, Marianne. . London: HMSO, 1993. 240 pages.
        Illustrated throughout in color with her paintings of tropical and exotic plants. This is an abridged version of the artist’s autobiography (above). 240 pages.

Smith, Beatrice Scheer. A Painted Herbarium: The Life and Art of Emily Hitchcock Terry. University of Minnesota Press, 1992.
        Terry was the first botanist to collect plants in Minnesota and the first known to have illustrated living plants from that state. This book gives a biographical sketch and reproduces a sampling of her artistic work. Her Minnesota years show an emphasis in painting flowering plants. 194 pages.

Stearn, William T.  John Lindley, 1799-1865: Gardener-botanist and Pioneer Orchidologist.Woodbridge, Suffolk:  Antique Collectors' Club in association with the Royal horticultural Society, 1999.

Thomas, Graham Stuart; The Complete Flower Paintings & Drawings of Graham Stuart Thomas, With an Essay and Notes by the Artist. London: Thames and Hudson, 1987.
        Perennials, shrubs, roses and other flowers are subjects of the artistic side of this famous gardening writer. The appendices include lists of his principal works, the plants he introduced or promoted, his writings and illustrations, books, journals, and hardiness zones in the US for the plants he illustrated. 194 pages.