Your Guide to Alternative Botanical Art Prints

What is it about Botanical art prints that everyone loves?

Everywhere you go you see Botanical art prints for sale, this style of artwork never seems to tire and is sold in the millions each year.

History has it that there here Botanical art prints first became popular between 50 and 70 CE, it was that long ago when De Materia Medica was released by Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides, set out to help readers identify plant species for medicinal purposes but clearly seen as absolutely beautiful illustrations in their own right.

Before the age of the lens and definitely before the age of the 100 snap photos a minute on the old iphone, illustration, in this case botanical illustration, was the only way people had to record plant life. Because photography did not exist yet, illustrators had to be incredibly detailed in their record making drawings with their artworks serving as a botanical bible as such, also for identification, analysis, and scientific classification.

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Floral art print

Where best to hang a Floral Art Print ?

 

Many botanical artists had a deep knowledge of horticulture which helped make their illustrative detailing so accurate. Botanical art prints fit any space and any art buyer alike, hanging in hotel rooms to public bars, on walls of modern houses to stair cases in vintage apartments, there is always a place for them it seems. They bring the external joy and tranquility of fauna and flora into the home or studio in a gentle and beautiful way. 

Back in the eighteenth century advances in the printing processes forged forward at rapid pace, colors and drawing details became so much more accurate on paper with a clarity that pleased both the illustrator and the observer. Being a botanical illustrator at that time was considered a pretty respected profession. The 19th century printing world expanded further, volume and diversity of printed work was like covid19, unprecedented : from all manner of novels to periodicals, domestic magazines and art prints including Botanical art prints for the greater masses. Every form of printing was popular and in high demand globally. Art and advertising was helped by advances in tech, improved roads and the railways. Speed hit town and printing ran with it.

Who are some great botanical artists?

There are so many botanical artists to name but here are a few we love..

Matilda Smith (1854-1926) a well respected botanical illustrator related to Joseph Dalton Hooker who succeeded his Father as Director of Kew Gardens. Matilda was a very busy lady and in 1881 she became the sole artist and lithographer for Hooker's Icones Plantarum where she published 1,500 illustrations for this extensive series of published volumes of botanical illustration. Go Matilda.

It is inspiring to any budding young or older artists to think that she was at the beginning of her career dismissed as an artist of inferior skills. She served four decades of employment at the centre of the British botanical clearly serving shade on any doubters as her great skills were recognised by many. 

In 1989 Matilda's contributions to Kew Gardens led to her being designated the first official botanical artist of Kew Gardens which is a huge and brilliant achievement. We chose to note her because she was a formidable woman but also because we adore Kew gardens. If you haven’t been to Kew gardens, it is a stunning place to lose yourself in flora and fauna, especially at dusk, when you go to Kew you really feel as if she is close by and can imagine her with the plants sketching in detail and losing herself in Kew.

Next up is Alexander Marshal (1620-1682) is a botanical artist we love and would dream to have at our last Pineapple supper, a modest Englishman, a painter, someone who painted privately not intending his work to serve as identification, he shied away from showing his art to the world at large, revealing them only to his close friends and we love that about him. After his death and currently, his artwork remains popular and an inspiration. It is admirable to find an artist or musician who feels naturally secure in themselves and who doesn’t need to share their every creative expression with the world immediately, one who lives without the need for popularity nor for the sole desire for acclaim or affirmation of talent.  Alexander Marshal was one of those rare artists who lived and loved his passion quietly and tenderly and like many content gardeners he found so many species interesting in his life as a private enthusiastic horticulturist. Alexander collected various objects and many insects on his journeys through various gardens and then documented them over the years. He was most famous for his flower book Florilegium which took 30 years to complete, with 159 beautiful sheets of botanical porn. Alexander kept the book quietly with his family for generations. 

Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573-1621)

A Flemish-born Dutch still life painter. Ambrosius Bosschaert is widely recognised as one of the earliest painters who created floral still lifes as an independent genre founding a dynasty of painters who continued his style of floral and fruit painting and turned Middelburg into the leading centre for flower painting in the Dutch Republic. We love this botanical artwork and see it as the perfect accompaniment to our Pineapple Family Sunday roasts. 

Adrien Van Der Spelt 1630.

Still life flowers and curtain is one of our all time favourite botanical art prints, the presence of this sky blue curtain takes the traditional subject to another level and brings wonder and a contemporary shift to a classic image painted with such skill. Why the curtain? Whilst we imagine who these flowers were for and what kind of shower they were being kept in we continue to stare at this domestic blue curtain in awe, Adrien’s painting skills and attention to detail with light reflection were synonymous with the talent coming out of the dutch painters of his time, no bathroom is complete without this artwork, it’s as simple as that.

Botanical art prints are not just a record of nature, nor a record of the painter involved but they are a record of how much nature touches every single person.

We try to treasure nature by buying Botanical art prints, whilst struggling to come to grips with the real and present power of global warming and the acceptance of nature in decline and the reality of the extinction of some of the stunning flora and fauna specimens noted in these long loved illustrations. 

We Pineapples do find ourselves yawning when we see yet another Botanical art print and we often feel deflated when we come across another hotel lobby with standard Botanical art prints on their walls but we cannot help but adore and be inspired by the artwork, vision, humility, lack of ego, skill, tenacity and talent of Alexander Marshal.

We have some beautiful botanical art prints in our contemporary cult art collection and also some beautiful floral art from Ray Monday.

As far as we can see Botanical art prints and botanical artists will never go out of fashion, nature can not go out of fashion, nature rules the world doesn’t it?.