This afternoon I stopped off at my favorite charity shop to see if there were any interesting books and I found one called ‘The Treasury of Flowers’ by Alice M Coats (published 1975). I’ve had a fearful fascination of plants and flowers since I was a small child. When I was about 4 and a half we moved out of town to this small farm. One morning I was out in the fields with my mother when she pointed at foxglove and said, “That’s foxglove! Don’t touch it or you’ll die!” The big red mushrooms with pretty white spots in the surrounding forest were similarly pointed out along with black widow spiders. “You see that black spider with the red spot? If it bites you, you’ll die!” Needless to say, along with a fear of imminent death I developed a fascination for flowers. Obviously I didn’t grow into a botanist, but thankfully one doesn’t have to be a scientist to enjoy flowers or even go near flowers. One can look at pictures.
As long as there have been books there have been books on flowers. Coats’ book is a presentation of 118 prints by various artists over the centuries that have been overlooked because they’re small (some of them very small). I didn’t really understand what exactly the book was when I bought it. I just noticed it had prints of flowers starting from the early printing press using woodcuts through to the mid 1800’s and I thought it might be interesting. It is! Coats unearths all sorts of interesting facts and vignettes about the artists and plants in the prints. Plate 32 alone makes this book a treasure. [Read more…]