|Top 2 rows from the Botanical Magnifica, bottom row from Botanica Delanica|
Friday, October 14, 2011
A Find and an Old Friend
The other day I was searching for something on the net, and, as in the way these things happen, came upon a find. I had never heard of Jonathan Singer and his Botanical Magnifica and never seen his magnificent photographs of rare plants. The photos are striking and so is the size of the books. Like Aubdubon's Birds of America, the edition is a five-volume, double-elephant folio of 250 of his floral images. “Double elephant” is the technical term for a rarely used, very large book-paper size, in this case approximately 100 by 75 centimeters (39½ by 29½ inches). I couldn't help but be struck by the similarity in feeling to the work of Mary Delany, who, at the age of 72, created a new art form, mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs Delany created an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Botanica Delanica.