Moore Pl. 33, Athyrium Filix-foemina multifidum
Original Antique Print
21 5/8" x 14 1/2" (approximate)
Nature print with hand-coloring
The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland
The British botanist Thomas Moore (1821—1887) was appointed curator of the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1848. During his tenure, the number of fern species increased by 50 percent. The author of numerous works on botanical subjects, Thomas Moore selected the specimens to be represented in The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland and was responsible for the accompanying text.
The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland is illustrated with 51 plates. In this work, Henry Bradbury made new advances in the process of nature printing. The printing process was chosen because “it represents general form with absolute accuracy, but also surface, hairs, veins and other minutiae of superficial structure by which plants are known….” Edited by the highly regarded English botanist and author of botanical subjects, John Lindley, and nature printed by Henry Bradbury of Bradbury and Evans in London, the folio scientifically describes, documents, and accurately illustrates differences between varieties of ferns native to Great Britain and Ireland.
Among the finest examples of nature printing, the technique combined old world engraving with new scientific applications of electroplating. Pioneered by The Imperial Printing Office in Vienna, the nature printing process employed in this folio involved pressing a natural object into a lead plate. Since lead is soft and degenerates easily, to print the folio, an exact copy of the lead plate was made in copper by the electrotype method. Henry Bradbury (1829—1860) learned the technique while studying in Vienna in 1850. The result was fine engravings that conveyed the realism of an impression made directly from the pressed plant.
In The Art of Botanical Illustration, Wilfred Blunt refers to Henry Bradbury's nature prints for the Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland as "superb", stating the detail and finest veination of the leaves in the plates "constitute the crowning achievement of nature printing...." (The Art of Botanical Illustration, Wilfred Blunt, page 142).
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