Sunday Garden: Flowers & Fruits from Java

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This week’s HSA Sunday Garden focuses on the incredible art and science of Berthe Hoola van Nooten from her Fleurs, fruits et feuillages choisis de l’ille de Java (c1880). Java is a large island of Indonesia, which Hoola van Nooten moved to Java around 1860 with her brother. She was able to publish her work due to the patronage of Queen Sophie of the Netherlands, and the chromolithographs of her illustrations were executed by Pieter De Pannemaeker, the Belgian lithographer. Sadly, Hoola van Nooten died in poverty at age 74 in what is now called Jakarta, despite the popularity and success of her work.

This work was digitized by the Raven Library of the Missouri Botanical Garden for inclusion in Biodiversity Heritage Library. You can explore all 40 chromolithographs from this exquisite work in BHL’s Flickr album.

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Cacao Tree (Theobroma cacao), the source of chocolate!

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Flame Tree (Delonix regia).

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Papaya (Carica papaya). 

Wouldn’t these look great hanging on a wall? You can download high resolution versions of these illustrations, along with many others, from Biodiversity Heritage Library! Learn more here.

In Focus: Arabische Korallen

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This week’s In Focus feature is Arabische Korallen by Ernst Haeckel, published in 1876 in Berlin. Written in German, this book focuses on coral from the Red Sea and life in Egypt.

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was a scientist, naturalist, and illustrator whose works remain incredibly popular. His unique artistic style soon becomes easily recognizable. This lesser known work of his can be found in a digital version in Biodiversity Heritage Library thanks to Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

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This page shows the artistic style that Haeckel perfected. He combines multiple species in great detail on one page. Often with other types of biodiversity in his other works, he creates a scene with the species interacting with their environment.

For each figure above, Haeckel provides the German common name, the binomial nomenclature, the scientist responsible for the first discovery and naming of the species, and the taxonomic family for the species. The taxonomy for these corals (names in bold) has likely changed since the publishing of this work. When researching marine life taxonomy for Biodiversity Heritage Library, I frequently use World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), which is an excellent resource.

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Haeckel also included a detailed marine life illustration of a coral reef near Sinai, Egypt.

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If you look carefully, you’ll see numbers and Roman numerals along the sides of the illustration that correspond to this list of species. You can zoom in more easily on the page in BHL.

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In addition to specimen illustrations, Haeckel captured life around Sinai, Egypt.

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This last scene is of the Red Sea, Sinai, and the mountains in Egypt.

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Discover more of Ernst Haeckel’s works in Biodiversity Heritage Library!

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This week’s In Focus feature is Arabische Korallen, and it was contributed for digitization to BHL by Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

 

Sunday Garden: Ladies’ Flower Garden

Jane Webb Loudon

The Ladies’ Flower Garden, Vol. 2 (1844) was written and illustrated by Jane Webb Loudon (1807-1858). The 50 hand-colored chromolithographs include many varieties of flowers grouped as bunches, which was a signature artistic method of Loudon’s.

This volume was contributed for digitization by Smithsonian Libraries for inclusion in Biodiversity Heritage Library. Explore more of Jane Loudon’s works in BHL.

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Varieties of Chrysanthemum indicum

 


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Plate 86: Beardtongues
1. Gentian-like Penstemon (Penstemon gentianoides)
2. Slender Penstemon (Penstemon gracilis)
3. Smooth Penstemon (Penstemon laevigatus)
4. Bell-flowered Penstemon (Penstemon campanulatus)


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Plate 95: Irises
1. Chalcedonian Iris (Iris susiana)
2. Florentine Iris (Iris germanica)
3. Nepal Iris (Iris germanica)
4. Savannah Iris (Iris tridentata)
5. Dwarf Iris (Iris verna)


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Plate 63: Bellflowers
1. Campanula medium
2. Campanula alpina
3. Campanula alliariifolia
4. Campanula barbata
5. Campanula sarmatica
6. Campanula punctata

Wouldn’t these look great hanging on a wall? You can download high resolution versions of these illustrations, along with many others, from Biodiversity Heritage Library! Learn more here.

In Focus: Catesby’s Natural History

Catesby's Natural History1st Ed., Vol. 1 (1731)

I am starting a new feature for 2018 called #HSAinFocus. In this series, I will select one particular scientific work to highlight across social media. To kick things off, I thought I would begin with one of my favorite works that was inspiration for creating HistSciArt.

Mark Catesby was an English naturalist, scientist, and scientific artist whose multi-volume series, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands was the first scientific work documenting the flora and fauna of North America. Volume 1 from the first edition was created over the period of 1729 to 1732, and this particular volume was digitized by Smithsonian Libraries for inclusion in Biodiversity Heritage Library. This volume covers many of the birds and plants that Catesby saw, including the now extinct Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) with a Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum) shown below.

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Carolina Parakeet with a Swamp Cypress

The header illustration features a Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea) with a Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana). Read more about digitizing Catesby’s remarkable works on Biodiversity Heritage Library’s blog, as well as another post about the taxonomy additions to BHL’s Flickr albums. I was able to add taxonomy to these images with the published research found in The Curious Mister Catesby (2015). You can also read about Catesby’s SciArt Methodology here.

Sunday Garden: Reichenbachia

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This week’s #HSASundayGarden features Reichenbachia, Vol. 1 (2nd Series, 1891) by orchidologist Frederick Sander with SciArt by Henry George Moon and others. The header illustration features Miltoniopsis vexillaria. Explore all 43 illustrations from this stunning work in Biodiversity Heritage Library‘s Flickr album. Thanks to the Peter H. Raven Library of the Missouri Botanical Garden for digitizing this book!

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Disa uniflora by Henry George Moon.

 

 

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Oncidium candelabrum by Henry George Moon

Wouldn’t these look great hanging on a wall? You can download high resolution versions of these illustrations, along with many others, from Biodiversity Heritage Library! Learn more here.

Your Brain & Seahorses

Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)

Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus).

Seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus, and there are 47 different species. The word “hippocampus” comes from Greek, “hippos” for horse and “kampos” for sea monster! The human brain and the brains of most vertebrates have a structure called the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and internal brain communication.

This part of the brain was named after the seahorse. As you can see from the next image, the brain’s hippocampus and fornix closely resemble a seahorse.

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Professor Laszlo Seress’ preparation of a human hippocampus and fornix alongside a seahorse. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The featured illustration of a Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is from George Perry’s Arcanae Naturae (1911), which was digitized by Smithsonian Libraries for contribution to Biodiversity Heritage Library. Learn more about seahorses from Project Seahorse and the Ocean Portal of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Janet Harvey Kelman

 

Janet Harvey Kelman

Janet Harvey Kelman (April 18, 1873 – November 15, 1957), a Scottish illustrator and author, created many children’s books about nature, including Butterflies and Moths (1910) which was part of the “Shown to the Children” book series. To date, I have not been able to locate a biography of Kelman, despite her authoring and illustrating more than 30 books according to WorldCat, but I was able to locate her family’s grave in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her brother was Rev. John Kelman (1864-1929), a United Free Church of Scotland minister who was also a published author. In 1923, Kelman published Labour in India: a study of the conditions of Indian women in modern industry based on 16 months that she spend in India funded by a Research Fellowship from Selly Oak Colleges. In addition to her natural history works, she published books about Christianity.

Rev. Theodore Wood (1862-1923) described the species for each of Kelman’s illustrations using only the common name and in a writing style meant for the juvenile reader. His father, Rev. John George Wood (1827-1889), was a popular author of Victorian natural history books.

Butterflies and Moths is written in a popular style, rather than scientific, but as an historical natural history work with intricately detailed illustrations, it contributes to a larger picture of the evolution of teaching science and how scientific understanding was communicated across large swaths of the population.


Published Works & References

  1. Butterflies and Moths: Shown to the Children (1910), digitized by Cornell University Library for Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  2. Janet Harvey Kelman in BHL.
  3. Janet Harvey Kelman in WorldCat.
  4. Janet Harvey Kelman in Internet Archive.
  5. Flickr album of illustrations from BHL.
  6. BHL Blog Post featuring artwork and quotations from Butterflies and Moths.

Cécile Pfulb-Kastner

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Cécile Pfulb-Kastner was a French botanical artist and lithographer who illustrated Volume 1 (1906) and Volume 2 (1908) of Nouvelle Flore Coloriée de Poche des Alpes et des Pyrénées by Charles Flahault (1852-1935).

Naming conventions for the 19th and 20th centuries often did not include the first names of French women in publications, but instead they were identified by their titles, Mademoiselle (Mlle) and Madame (Mme). Note the changes in Pfulb-Kastner’s name from Volume 1 to Volume 2. These naming conventions, along with the cultural taboo of women working during this time, make researching early women in science a challenge. Pfulb-Kastner is no exception, and so far, I have only found mention of her in bibliographies of the works mentioned above. For example, this entry is from Bibliographisches Bulletin der Schweizerischen Landes-Bibliothek, Volume 8 (1908).

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Google Books is a great resource for full text searching of out-of-copyright works that they have digitized. Another search under her married name came up with her listed as a member of the National Horticulture Society of France as of January 1, 1909.Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 9.26.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-03-12 at 9.24.00 PM.png

Based on the key, she is listed as an “Officier d’Académie” and a “dessinateur-lithographie pour la botanique”, which is roughly translated as an Academy Officer and botanical lithographer.

Explore Cécile Pfulb-Kastner’s botanical art in the Flicker account and catalogue of Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Sugar Gliders

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Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps breviceps) are small marsupials native to Australia.

SciArt by Henry Constantine Richter and John Gould for Gould’s Mammals of Australia, Vol. 1 (1863), which was contributed for digitization by Smithsonian Libraries for Biodiversity Heritage Library.

SciArt Methodology: Mark Catesby

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-1-18-38-pmThe Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands (1729-1771) by Mark Catesby, a self-taught artist and naturalist, was first publication to describe scientifically the flora and fauna of North America. The first edition, published between 1729-1731, was written and illustrated by Catesby, with the exception of a few plates done by Georg Dionysius Ehret.

Catesby arrived May 23, 1722 in Charlestown in the colony of Carolina. A passionate explorer without formal scientific training, he taught himself scientific observation, illustration, and engraving. He describes his scientific and artistic methodology with much humility.

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Catesby’s explanation of how he illustrated his plates shows how intent he was to recreate accurate representations so that his work would be part of the legitimate endeavors of the burgeoning scientific community. His attention to detail even extended to his description of how he painted greens in his illustrations.

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Even with his efforts at accurate representation, one interesting feature of Catesby’s plates with multiple species is a varying perspective that doesn’t accurately account for size. For example, on Plate 20 of the Appendix, Catesby illustrated a Buffalo (Bison bison) with a Rose Locust (Robinia hispida).

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Biodiversity Heritage Library has a wonderful post about Catesby and the realization of his lifelong dream to catalog the life of the new world in the North American British colonies of the south. All of Catesby’s illustrations from the three editions, along with links to those editions, can be found here with thanks to BHL. As part of my research for BHL, I had the pleasure of adding taxonomy to each of these illustrations, with gratitude for the invaluable resource, The Curious Mister Catesby (2015), edited by E. Charles Nelson and David J. Elliot for the Catesby Commemorative Trust.