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Bolton, James, active 1775–1795
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) 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. 20
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, in honor of Jane and Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University (1993-2013)
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
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.
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:
Alcedo atthis -- Pictorial works.
Birds -- Pictorial works.
Blackburne, Anna, 1726-1793.
Common kingfisher -- Pictorial works.
Women in natural history.
Botanical illustrations.
Ornithological illustrations.
Blackburne, Anna, 1726-1793.
IIIF Manifest:

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