Limited edition of a new book inspired by Chelsea Physic Garden. On sale from 1 May
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The announcement in 1850s Vienna of a new method of nature-printing, one that delivered breathtaking results, captured the imagination of a young businessman Henry Bradbury who decided to discover the secret for himself. What followed, according to one reviewer, was a tale ‘worthy of Wilkie Collins’ – of ambition, ruin and death.
The quality of the nature-prints was astonishing. The botanist Joseph Hooker announced the results were so good that ‘the plates seem to surpass the specimens themselves in elegance and in colouring’. According to The Times it was ‘as if the original specimens were pasted on paper’. But for mysterious reasons the process was abandoned and the method, lost. The few nature-prints that were made this way are rare, sought-after and extremely valuable.
Thomas Moore, Curator of Chelsea Physic Garden, provided the text for an undisputed masterpiece of this form of nature-printing, The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland Nature-Printed by Henry Bradbury. Five years ago, while working at the Physic Garden, Pia Östlund discovered a copy of this book in the library. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the images, she set out to rediscover the lost technique of nature-printing.
In this book, Simon Prett traces her determined quest and her attempt to repair broken connections between art, science and engineering. The book also tells the remarkable story of nature-printing, explores the reasons for its disappearance, and shows how important things are sometimes lost in the rush of progress.
The limited edition includes a signed bound-in copy of Pia’s first successful nature-print and one other tipped-in nature-print made by the same method. There is also a bound-in monoprint and a herbarium specimen and thirty-two pages of colour plates. The text consists of 176pp printed letterpress on Somerset Book mould-made paper. Covers are printed letterpress from woodblocks in three colours. The book is quarter-bound in leather. (Size: 160 x 250mm.)
Price pre-publication: £150
Price on publication: £195
75 copies will be printed.
Profits from sales of this book will go to Chelsea Physic Garden. To reserve a copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pia Östlund’s nature-printing courses are running in 2016. See the Walks, Talks & Workshops programme on the Garden’s website for details.
To discover more about the Garden and the people who make it work and watch our video.
We are very proud to announce that the Garden was voted the best in the Local Culture category of the Time Out Love London Awards 2015.
Chelsea Physic Garden
66 Royal Hospital Road, London
Tel. +44(0)20 7352 5646
Nature-printed Ferns by Die Staatsdruckerei Vienna © Michael Hayward
Thomas Moore’s Cool Fernery, Chelsea Physic Garden © Andrew Montgomery
Limited edition Nature-printed Oak leaf © Pia Östlund.
Nature-printed Bat by Die Staatsdruckerei, Vienna