[Water-color sketches of plants of North America and Europe]
Eighteen albums of water-color sketches by Helen Sharp of flowering plants and shrubs common to the United States, especially New England, as well as to Bermuda and parts of Europe, dated between June 1888 and Sept. 1910. | Sketches in water-color and ink on paper (26 x 18 cm. or smaller) include botanical captions in Latin, along with Sharp's notes on the common name and physical characteristics of each plant, and location and date of drawing. There is also a table of contents at the front of each sketchbook. The first 16 albums contain sketches of plants common in New England, in towns of Massachusetts such as Nantucket, Taunton, Boston, No. Andover, Marblehead, Hingham, Gloucester; Maine (York, Sorrento); New Hampshire (Surrey), and Connecticut. Volume 17 contains sketches of plants made by the artist while traveling in Switzerland, Italy, England, and France, while v. 18 contains sketches of tropical fruits and flowers of Bermuda, completed during Sharp's visits of 1892, 1893, and 1903.
Drawings are affixed to paper leaves, or, in some cases, to stubs in which holes have been punched, and then laced together within marbled paper boards with maroon cord; maroon leather spines and reinforced corners; gold-stamped album numbers on spines.
"These drawings were made from nature by Miss Helen Sharp, and have been used in part in the botanical classes of the Lowell Free Courses of the Teachers' School of Science [of the Boston Society of Natural History] ... This collection includes sketches of about seven hundred species ... arranged in accordance with the classification in Gray's Manual"; cf. printed announcement of an exhibition of Sharp's drawings at the Boston Society of Natural History in April 1899 affixed to inside front cover of v. 1.
Small ms. notes in a different hand, attached with straightpins to scattered leaves throughout the notebooks, contain comments on the drawings, possibly by one of the artist's teachers.
Bookplate of the Library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Boston.
Acquired by the Chicago Botanic Garden from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in November 2002.
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