In victorian times, as the exotic parts of the world were being explored, orchids became incredibly popular as an emblem of a tropical paradise. There was something particularly romantic about the often arduous collection expeditions and warm faraway climes and inherent beauty of the flowers that ignited the passions of enthusiastic collectors.
John Day (1824-1888) was one of those ardent admirers and spent about 40 years cultivating them in his own glasshouses and searching them out on expeditions. He introduced many species into Britain for the first time (and many are named after him or in his honour). But Day is best remembered for the 53 scrapbooks containing about 3000 watercolour paintings of the objects of his passion. The illustrations were often accompanied by descriptive text from a botanical professor friend.
The Romance of Orchid Discovery: The John Day Scrapbooks at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Posted by peacay at 9:49 pm