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Bolton, James, active 1775-1795, artist.

European robin (Erithacus rubecula) and eggs, with wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.), from the natural history cabinet of Anna Blackburne.

Great Britain, circa 1768.
Physical Description:
1 drawing : watercolor and gouache over graphite, on parchment ; sheet 23 x 19 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2016 25, no. 15
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, in honor of Jane and Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University (1993-2013)
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Related Content:
View catalog record for: Bolton, James. Collection of drawings depicting specimens from the natural history cabinet of Anna Blackburne
Drawings & Watercolors
"The most notable publications by the naturalist/artist James Bolton (1735-1799) were his pioneering books on English ferns and fungi, and he is acknowledged as one of the preeminent British specialists on the latter, of which he discovered many new species. His watercolors, however, evoke his Harmonia Ruralis, which he dedicated 'To the British Ladies, to Naturalists, and to all such as admire the Beauty or Melody of the Feathered Warblers,' offering it as a handy field guide to those interested in identifying local species. The lively scenes of birds in natural settings, often with their eggs, or colorful groups of plants, insects and shells, such as that on the cover, follow in the footsteps of such naturalists/artists as Mark Catesby and Maria Sybilla Merian, who set a style for depicting flora and fauna engaged with their environments. But the drawings also emulate those same artists' willingness sometimes to intermingle flora and fauna from disparate regions, such as mixing shells from the Indo-Pacific region with insects and butterflies from North and South America, to create aesthetically pleasing productions that owe as much to the naturalists' cabinet as they do to observations of nature: in this case the museum or cabinet of the noted naturalist Anna Blackburne, who likely commissioned these images from Bolton. Just as many of the artists in the current exhibition have created imaginary worlds for their creatures to inhabit, so Bolton in these drawings created a world that brings together flora and fauna in a way that they would never have mingled in nature, while still depicting them faithfully and exactingly enough to serve as recognizable and accurate examples of their type."--Lisa Ford, Of Green Leaf, page 150.
Of green leaf, bird, and flower: artists' books and the natural world, page 116
One of twenty watercolors, drawn on parchment, by the naturalist-artist James Bolton (1735-1799), from the natural history cabinet of noted botanist and collector Anna Blackburne (1726-1793). The drawings depict birds, plants, butterflies, insects, and shells native to Great Britain, with examples from North and South America. See link provided herewith for a description of the collection as a whole.
Subject Terms:
Birds -- Pictorial works.
Blackburne, Anna, 1726-1793.
Erithacus rubecula -- Pictorial works.
European robin -- Pictorial works.
Flowers -- Pictorial works.
Fragaria vesca -- Pictorial works.
Strawberries -- Pictorial works.
Women in natural history.
Botanical illustrations.
Ornithological illustrations.
Blackburne, Anna, 1726-1793.