While highly finished drawings and paintings frequently feature in histories of botanical art, the preparatory sketches, first impressions and creative thoughts on paper behind them are rarely seen and have often remained hidden and locked away. Botanical Sketchbooks brings these personal and vividly spontaneous records gloriously back into the light. In a series of biographical portraits organized thematically into four sections, the book illuminates a range of intriguing characters, from many different countries and cultures, including Germany, France, Italy, America, Australia, Japan and China.
Sketchbooks proper are joined by notebooks, journals, albums, loose pieces of paper, works on vellum, manuscripts, letters, herbarium sheets and marginalia – even one drawing on the back of an envelope. Turning the pages of this book will be an invitation to relive extraordinary experiences, imagine lost worlds, and be immersed in the endeavours, observations and motivations of the makers of such beautiful and enchanting art.
Helen and William Bynum are historians of science and medicine and also have a particular interest in gardening and plants and their importance in human culture and society. They have written or edited numerous books, including Great Discoveries in Medicine and Remarkable Plants.