One thing I dearly love is botanical prints. I have really old ones, most from the 18th and 19th centuries. I don't know why I like them but I do; I love them. By and large, the pieces that remain today are remnants of scientific, medical, or technical instructional books of sorts. One of the most famous sets of prints was commissioned by the Empress Josephine, who summoned Redoute to Malmaison to draw her roses. Those pieces now are invaluable, as this collection was extensive, definitive, and mastered stippling, an engraving technique that was to engraving as pointillism is to painting and pixels are to digital photography: little teeny dots. Kabillions of 'em.
Engraving prints was actually the manner in which images were captured back in the day, much as photography is used today. I bought several prints this weekend that were commissioned by the United States Pacific Railroad as they were completing the survey of California and Oregon in the 1850's. This was drawn between the 38th and 41st parallels. Subsequently, it was engraved as Plate XXXV and was catalogued as part of the USPRR Exp & Surveys Bird collection. Soon it will hang in my house at Bellemaison in a place of honor: it's the Mountain Bluebird.
I bought some very good and some fine prints this weekend, but bought what I loved. I left some rare, exceptional pieces behind, a dodo bird, but I will and do love the pieces I bought. I want to hang them as soon as possible. And that's the acid test for me: as beautiful as it is, and they all must be beautiful, will I hang it? okay, will I rush to hang it? can I imagine as I stand and try to decide about buying it what it might feel like to see this hang in my house? yes? yes? and yes? okay, you're in. Welcome to Hollywood.
These two lift my spirit to such a heady place I can't decide exactly where they will hang.
And this guy, this guy here might get a shrine: he's a Grey Baboon, a native of warmer part of Africa. He was done in London on August 1st 1795 by F. P. Nodder of No. 15 Brewer Street.
So it official: we now have one big baboon.
The 'Kan EWA