Glencoe, Ill. (July 11, 2013) – Rare and beautiful works by some of the first women to achieve prominence in the field of botanical illustration will be on display at the Feminine Perspective: Women Artists and Illustrators exhibition running from Friday, August 23, through Sunday, November 10, 2013, at the Lenhardt Library in the Regenstein Center.
A special talk on the lives of these pioneering women and their exquisitely detailed and realistic illustrations will be given by Leora Siegel, library director, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 29.
The event, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Illinois, is part of the library’s ongoing series of original exhibitions and the first to focus exclusively on women. The earliest volumes of botanical illustrations, the scientific record of the day, were produced almost exclusively by men, according to Siegel. “By the 1900s you start seeing more and more women cited in botanical literature, and these women helped expand opportunities for women in botany,” she said.
Volumes from the library’s rare book collection provide a published record of the advancement of women as botanical artists and illustrators. The exhibition will include the work of Lady Harriet Ann Thiselton-Dyer, who forged a path many other women would follow. In 1878, she took over as illustrator for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, published by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Also featured will be an earlier British artist, Henrietta Maria Moriarty; Frenchwoman Henriette Antoinette Vincent, who was connected to the royal court of Napoleon; and Americans Ellen Robbins and Helen Sharp.
The illustrations are also part of the library’s ongoing effort to make digital copies of its collection available to the public through the Illinois Digital Archives. To view the library’s digitized rare books, click on http://www.idaillinois.org and search for "Chicago Botanic Garden Lenhardt Library."