James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 -1903)
Reading by Lamplight. Etching, c1859.
Bookplate, 1902. Robert Hall, an avid collector of Kemscott Press books.
On the library table are Kelmscott works, including William Morris’s The Glittering Plain and his 1895 translation of Beowulf. All the books are clearly bound in the distinctive Kelmscott full limp vellum tied with silk ribbons. The Wood Beyond the World is open to show a Morris-designed woodcut border and frontispiece. Leaning against the bookcase is a copy of the 1896 edition of Chaucer.
A Curious Herbal
Notable both for its beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants and for the unusual circumstances of its creation.
Elizabeth Blackwell was a Scottish botanical illustrator and author who was best known as both the artist and engraver for the plates of “A Curious Herbal”, published between 1737 and 1739. The book illustrated many odd-looking and unknown plants from the New World, and was designed as a reference work on medicinal plants for the use of physicians and apothecaries.
Blackwell undertook this ambitious project to raise money to pay her husband’s debts and release him from debtor’s prison. She drew, engraved, and colored the illustrations herself, mostly using plant specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.
It was an artistic, scientific and commercial enterprise unprecedented for a woman of her time.
[ source: Turning the Pages - National Library of Medicine ]