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Drawing - Christmas Rose
  • Christmas Rose
    Ehret, Georg Dionysus, born 1708 - died 1770
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Christmas Rose

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    London (painted)

  • Date:

    1745 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ehret, Georg Dionysus, born 1708 - died 1770 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum

  • Museum number:

    D.587-1886

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case DP, shelf 2, box B

Initially, taxonomy or the classification of plants was haphazard and inconsistent. In the 17th century there gradually developed a new system, based on the physical similarities between the reproductive features of plants. Thus illustration, which in the herbal tradition had been simply a means of distinguishing one plant from another, now took on the role of analytic tool. It was used to record the detailed physical character of the plant and show the similarity of characteristics.

Ehret presents this subject as a growing plant rather than a cut or uprooted specimen. This mode of representation really belongs to the florilegia tradition, as does the unseasonal butterfly. But his illustration also includes everything necessary for botanical analysis and identification, with flowers shown from several angles and at different stages of opening.

Physical description

Botanical study showing Christmas Rose with white flowers and to the left the yellow Winter aconite. The image is displayed as though the plants are in the ground. Above to the right is a butterfly with brown and yellow markings.

Place of Origin

London (painted)

Date

1745 (painted)

Artist/maker

Ehret, Georg Dionysus, born 1708 - died 1770 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum

Marks and inscriptions

G.D. Ehret. pinxt.
Signature; date; handwriting; ink, Lower right

HELLEBORUS niger, flore albo, etiam interdum valde rubente. F.B. / True Black Hellebore, or Christmas rose.
Ink, lower centre

Dimensions

Height: 53.2 cm, Width: 37 cm

Descriptive line

Botanical study, Christmas rose (Helleborus niger L.) and Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis (L.) Salisb.) by Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-70); watercolour and bodycolour on vellum; ca 1745; London

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Picturing Plants: an analytical history of botanical illustration' by Gill Saunders; Zwemmer in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum; 1995; no. 59, page 86 (illus.)
'Picturing Plants: an analytical history of botanical illustration' by Gill Saunders; KWS Publishers in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum; 2009; second edition; no. 59, page 86 (illus).

Labels and date

Georg Dionysius Ehret 1708-70
Christmas Rose and Winter Aconite
(Helleborus niger L. and Eranthis hyemalis (L.) Salisb.)
About 1745

Ehret presents this subject as a growing plant rather than a cut or uprooted specimen. This mode of representation really belongs to the florilegia tradition, as does the unseasonal butterfly. But his illustration also includes everything necessary for botanical analysis and identification, with flowers shown from several angles and at different stages of opening.

London
Watercolour and bodycolour on vellum
V&A: D.587-1886 [2011]

Subjects depicted

Flower; Plant, Winter Aconite; Christmas rose; Butterfly

Categories

Gardens & Gardening; Science; Drawings; Illustration

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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