Here we have an antique c.1890’s framed chromolithographic print of a specimen illustration, in the tradition of 17th-19th century (post-Enlightenment) popular botanical studies.
This print lists two different “figures” for viewing: “Cucurbita Citrullus,” which is the botanical name for watermelon, as well as ” Melotria Pendula,” better known as the “creeping cucumber”. (It may be that one of these “figures” is illustrated in a consecutive plate, yet the caption for both appears on this one.)
This piece is ready to hang, with no obstructions to the original image. There is some negligible discoloration on the bottom left of the piece which does not distract from the subject matter. Comes in a wooden frame having negligible surface abrasions, consistent with age and handling.
The purpose of the Latin or botanical name of plants was to provide some information about a particular plant that distinguishes it from other plants. The adjective applied to the plant, a specific ‘epithet’, is often helpful in describing the plant. The specific epithet can tell us the colour of the flowers, the height of the plant, whether the leaves are long and thin or short and fat, whether the plant is prickly, where it comes from (which might provide a clue as to how hardy it is), whether it’s a climber or creeper, is edible – anything the person cataloging it thought most remarkable, noteworthy or unique about it.
According to Wikipedia:
“When systems of botanical nomenclature began to be published, the need for a drawing or painting became optional. However, it was at this time that the profession of botanical illustrator began to emerge. The eighteenth century saw many advances in the printing processes, and the illustrations became more accurate in colour and detail. The increasing interest of amateur botanists, gardeners, and natural historians provided a market for botanical publications; the illustrations increased the appeal and accessibility of these to the general reader.”
20&5/8″h x 16&1/4″w x 1″d