Not currently on display at the V&A

A Few Leaves from the Newly-Invented Process of "Nature-Printing"

Print
1854 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Henry Bradury's first efforts in nature printing were issued in 1854 as a volume of 21 plates entitled 'A few leaves represented by 'nature printing' showing the application of the art for the reproduction of botanical and other natural objects with a delicacy of detail and truthfulness unobtainable by any other known method of printing...'. The 'book' had no text and seems to have been intended as an advertisement for the potential applications of nature printing. It was quickly followed by Moore's 'Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland' (1855), and Johnstone and Croall's 'Nature-Printed British Sea-weeds (1859).

Although modelled on the actual plant, nature prints lack the illusion of three dimensions conveyed by a conventional illustration, and in fact resemble flattened herbarium specimens. The image was printed in three colours applied à la poupée (on the same plate and printed together); the colours blend where they meet rather than overlap.
Henry Bradbury (1829-1860) issued his first efforts in nature printing in 1854 as a volume 'showing the application of the art for the reproduction of botanical and other natural objects with a delicacy of detail and truthfulness unobtainable by any other known method of printing...' He had studied under Alois Auer (1913-1869) at the Imperial Printing Office in Vienna and seen the new technique there.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Nature printing
Brief Description
Nature print, colour printed. Printed and published by Bradbury and Evans. Common lime or linden (Tilia x vulgaris), 1854.
Physical Description
Tilia x vulgaris, printed in black and two shades of green
Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 57cm
  • Sheet width: 37.9cm
  • Platemark height: 41.6cm
  • Platemark width: 26.2cm
Production typeLimited edition
Marks and Inscriptions
  • TILIACEAE, (Juss.) / Tilia Europae'a, L. / COMMON LIME TREE. (Lower centre)
  • PRINTED IN COLOURS BY / BRADBURY & EVANS, PATENTES, WHITEFRIARS, LONDON. (Lower right corner)
  • Nature Printing, (Lower left corner)
Gallery Label
Photography Centre (2018-20): Henry Bradbury (1829–60), printed and published by Bradbury and Evans (founded 1830) Common lime or linden (Tilia x vulgaris) 1854 Nature printing was one of several image technologies that became popular in the mid 19th century that, like photography, aimed for a more direct capturing of the natural world. The artist would make a mould from the plant, ink it with colours and pass it through a roller press with paper. The resulting embossed impression of the plant often resembled a flattened herbarium specimen, like this example of lime tree leaves. Nature print Museum no. 14765:19
Subjects depicted
Summary
Henry Bradury's first efforts in nature printing were issued in 1854 as a volume of 21 plates entitled 'A few leaves represented by 'nature printing' showing the application of the art for the reproduction of botanical and other natural objects with a delicacy of detail and truthfulness unobtainable by any other known method of printing...'. The 'book' had no text and seems to have been intended as an advertisement for the potential applications of nature printing. It was quickly followed by Moore's 'Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland' (1855), and Johnstone and Croall's 'Nature-Printed British Sea-weeds (1859).



Although modelled on the actual plant, nature prints lack the illusion of three dimensions conveyed by a conventional illustration, and in fact resemble flattened herbarium specimens. The image was printed in three colours applied à la poupée (on the same plate and printed together); the colours blend where they meet rather than overlap.

Henry Bradbury (1829-1860) issued his first efforts in nature printing in 1854 as a volume 'showing the application of the art for the reproduction of botanical and other natural objects with a delicacy of detail and truthfulness unobtainable by any other known method of printing...' He had studied under Alois Auer (1913-1869) at the Imperial Printing Office in Vienna and seen the new technique there.
Bibliographic Reference
Bradbury, Henry (1831-1860). A Few Leaves from the Newly-Invented Process of "Nature-Printing". London: Bradbury & Evans, 1854.
Collection
Accession Number
14765:19

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record createdJune 30, 2009
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