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Forbes, James, 1749–1819
Birds, insects, flowers, and fruits.
Additional Title(s):

Spine title: Birds, insects, flowers, fruits

Former title: Natural history illustrations
Great Britain, circa 1788-1817.
Physical Description:
approximately 120 drawings in 1 volume ; 54 x 40 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2023 72
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
Title devised by cataloger.
The volume was previously number 45 (of 50) in "The Forbes Collection" in the library of St. Mary's College, Oscott. The collection was presented to Oscott by Charles Forbes, comte de Montalembert, upon the death of his mother, Eliza Rosée Montalembert (née Forbes). Yale Center for British Art collections include the following volumes from the material previously at Oscott: A voyage from England to Bombay with descriptions in Asia, Africa, and South America, 1765-1800, 13 volumes (Folio A 2023 69); Travels in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, in 1796 and 1797, 1796-1799, 2 volumes (Folio A 2023 70); Views in England, Wales, and Scotland, circa 1787-circa 1819, 3 volumes (Folio A 2023 71); Birds, insects, flowers, and fruits, circa 1788-1817, 1 volume (Folio A 2023 72); Collection of British portraits, circa 1700-1817, 3 volumes (Folio A 2023 73).
Provenance: Elizabeth Rosée, comtesse de Montalembert (née Forbes); Charles Forbes, comte de Montalembert; St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham; Paul Mellon.
Bound in contemporary red half morocco and red cloth.
The volume begins with small clusters of subjects, including: a series of engraved birds, closely cut out and placed against backgrounds drawn with watercolor; a series of chameleons, accompanied by James Merrick's poem on the same subject; butterflies and moths; and six drawings of shells and seaweed, the latter largely represented by mounted specimens.
The most frequent subjects in the remainder of the volume are a series of approximately 15 berry plants and approximately 80 flowers, most apparently drawn from 1788 to 1791. These are uniform in appearance; it is unclear if they are drawn from nature.
The volume also includes approximately 20 drawings from Forbes's trips to France in 1803-4 and 1817. At least a portion of the drawings in the earlier trip were made while Forbes was a prisoner of war, including a drawing of nightingales titled "Portraits of two fellow-prisoners, in France." The 1817 drawings depict varieties of fruit found throughout the country.
The volume concludes with six plates and accompanying descriptions excerpted from one of William Curtis's works on botany.
Subject Terms:
Forbes, James, 1749-1819 -- Travel.
Marine algae -- Great Britain -- Specimens.
Montalembert, Charles Forbes, comte de, 1810-1870 -- Ownership.
Montalembert, Eliza Rosée, comtesse de, -1839 -- Ownership.
Oscott College -- Ownership.
Drawings (visual works)
Watercolors (visual works)
Travel sketches.
Botanical illustrations.
Merrick, James, 1720-1769.
Curtis, William, 1746-1799.

Ocean Flowers (Yale Center for British Art, 2004-06-12 - 2004-08-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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