While pictures of plants in books are often produced as a practical guide for identifying useful, or common, or newly discovered species, the resulting illustrations can be beautiful works of art in their own right. The books in this exhibition were all chosen for their illustrations and date from 1578 through the great age of botanical illustration in the 18th and 19th century, to the wood engravings of the 1930s.
The earliest book on display is a herbal printed in 1578, but there are many beautiful hand-coloured engravings from the 18th century, and very rich colour printed illustrations from the 19th.
|Ref: 7-C1955, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
New Zealand’s distinctive native flora appears in a number of early descriptions of the country, including the hand coloured lithographs in Wakefield’s 'Illustrations to Adventure in New Zealand', printed in 1845. Copies of this book can be found in the Sir George Grey Special Collections and a copy can also be found in the Angela Morton Collection, which is part of the North Auckland Research Centre's heritage resources at Takapuna Library.