Priscilla Susan Bury
(1793 – 1869)
A Selection of Hexandrian Plants
Born circa 1800, Priscilla Susan Bury was the daughter of a wealthy Liverpool merchant. As a young girl, she began painting flowers in the Victorian tradition, which viewed women illustrating flowers as “a genteel, diverting and instructive study [so] that the fair sex could find amusement….” The talented Bury’s illustrations (or “portraits” as she called them) were primarily of lilies and related flowers.
At that time, Liverpool was England’s second city, a major industrial and trade center. It also became a center for the Linnaean System of classification, which further fueled the Victorian fascination for botanical subjects.
Priscilla Bury occupies a singular position in botanical art. Unlike Redouté or Poiteau, she was not trained as a botanist or patronized as a professional artist. Her remarkable contribution, A Selection of Hexandrian Plants, which depicts flowers with six stamens, is the largest scale, most unusual and rarest of all nineteenth century botanicals. It was engraved by renowned London engraver Robert Havell at the very same time that he was engraving Audubon’s plates. First produced from 1831 to 1834, these rich aquatint plates were partly printed in color and partly hand colored.
The Oppenheimer Field Museum Edition of A Selection of Hexandrian Plants accurately conveys the vivid colors and pristine quality present in the originals from which they were made. Each print is on Somerset acid-free, cotton rag watercolor paper imported from England.
Strictly limited to 350 numbered sets.
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