Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Forest Fungi

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 j

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 h

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 n

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 i

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 k

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 o

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 f

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 c

Das System der Pilze und Schwämme, 1817 q

Flore forestie`re by C de Kirkwan, 1872

Flore forestie`re by C de Kirkwan, 1872 c

Flore forestie`re by C de Kirkwan, 1872 g

Flore forestie`re by C de Kirkwan, 1872 j

Flore forestie`re by C de Kirkwan, 1872 k

These two works have no connection other than they hit the radar at about the same time. I think they're both solid or honest attempts, from either end of the 19th century, to present specimen illustrations with little in the way of stylistic embellishment. The book on fungi, in particular, seems to be be a fairly comprehensive review of the phylum, with just as many plates devoted to the often overlooked and less visually arresting smaller species - as well as attempts at depicting the obscure life cycles - as there are for the traditional mushroom and toadstool forms. (The plates chosen above don't really reflect this.)

'Das System der Pilze und Schwämme: ein Versuch' (~An attempt at a system of fungi and sponges) by CGD Nees von Esenbeck, 1817, is online at the University of Heidelberg
. (hand-coloured engravings)

'Flore Forestière :Illustrée Arbres et Arbustes du Centre de l'Europe' (~Forest flora: illustrated trees and shrubs from central Europe) by C de Kirkwan, 1872, is online at the Missouri Botanical Gardens Botanicus website. (chromolithographs)


Karla said...

One can never have too many botanical/mycological illustrations.

peacay said...

I don't know about that. If I carry around any prejudices in curating this site, it's my general lack of appreciation for illustration series on mycology (and pomology - fruit - for that matter). I like the occasional plate or watercolour sketch, but I've always been a little disappointed with collections (never say never though). I think fungi and fruit have had a better time in traditional painting than in the book/print arts.

Victoria Thorne said...

still, i think the fungi here are somehow quite (quite!) beautiful.

himmel. thanks.

Karla said...

I see your point, but I suppose I have an unaccountable bias in their favor. For some reason I just like looking at pictures of fungi. (I will say I've seen more enchanting illustrations of them, but wasn't keeping track where.)

peacay said...

I chose the adjectives carefully above - 'solid', 'honest' - and refrained from trying to play it as 'excellent, artistically speaking' or variations along those lines. I think they're what they are: competent as a kind of recording of visual data and fairly appealing; but the book as a whole is quite an excellent achievement.

I *also* like pics of fungi; I think there are more than a few here in the archives, but they have always been singularities. I don't know who the Audubon of mycology (or pomology) might be. I'm not sure if that speaks to my ignorance or is support for the idea I'm suggesting: there's just not that many good *collections* of mycological illustrations around. Again: I keep my eyes open..

Adeline Luna Bladon said...

I think they are beautiful precisely because they are trying so hard to be scientific and honest - the sincerity makes them touching, especially the funghi pieces you've chosen. This is personally why I love the illustrative/descriptive tradition. Thanks!

Karla said...

I like the idea of the Audubon of mycology. At the same time, I agree with Adeline Luna Bladon.

Unknown said...

I have two plates of fungi I came by. I was wondering how can I add them to this collection?

peacay said...

Well you can email the pics to me: peacay at gmail dott com . I'm not sure I'll be adding any more examples to this post but I might add them to the next non-thematic 'multi' entry if they're good.

Unknown said...

Whoo hooo! OK submitting archival prints should not be that exciting, but hey I like adding to the collective knowledge. I emailed my two prints of edible fungi to add to collection, to be used how they may. Call me a geek but I like this kinda thing.

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