Folk Art Herbarium Album

Spine view of the album titled News Cuttings

Spine of the album.

Manuscripts and Archives Processor at the Small Special Collections, Ellen Welch started the Spring season with a blog about the Herbarium Pictum album with botanical illustrations honoring Virginia Garden week. Here we are at the end of summer ready to share a new acquisition that is a 20th century garden album from England, acquired from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, titled Folk Art Herbarium (MSS 16573). It is an album with pressed flowers, leaf and shrub cuttings and hand drawn illustrations representing the life of the creator of the album. The artist is unknown and created the album from the years 1907 to 1913.
















Side view of the album showing a span of the pages.

“The combination of artwork and pressed flowers in these pages is spectacular,” according to Ellen Welch, Manuscripts and Archives Processor.

Flip through the pages that are filled from edge to edge with these colorfully illustrated drawings showing the gardens they planted, the houses they lived in, and the people they knew. Complimenting the artwork are handwritten personal captions from the artist. See this unique album and be inspired to start your own album to share with generations to come.

First page of album

The first page of the album is full of bright colors, interesting designs, pressed plant leaves, and comments.

Below are some images of the pages along with comments from the Small Special Collections staff upon seeing the album. Special thanks to Rose Oliveira, Accessioning Archivist, for suggesting this item to share and to Whitney Buccicione, Director of Technical Services, for encouraging blogs about our collections depicting flower gardens.

detailed insert of page with a pressed flower

“I love how this album tells a story of one person’s hobby and artistic talents in the 20th century. The combination of preservation techniques and striking amateur paintings stir the imagination about this individual who so clearly had a fondness for their home and gardens. It is remarkable how the colors and textures of these plants remain today. When we receive treasures such as this, I often wonder what the author would think about people still admiring their work a century later.” ~Barbara Hatcher, Acquisitions Specialist.

page of pressed flowers

“I am really drawn to the pressed flower page. The texture is intriguing and as a visual learner, getting to see the actual flowers and leaves is so cool! The bright colors of the next image are eye catching, but the pressed flowers make me want to reach out and touch them!” Penny White, Reference Research Librarian.


Greenhouse drawing

“This beautiful album reminded me that I recently procured a beautiful blank notebook to document my summer vegetable garden, and—while my garden is bursting with lush life and absolutely, wildly fecund here at the mid-point of the summer, my notebook is just as blank as the day I brought it home. In the seasons of life (and this life of mine, now), I might eventually fill the pages of my garden album and seeing this reminds me that doing so might bring joy beyond the seasonal outdoors gardens I make or the illustrative notes I might capture—it might live well beyond me and my time to bring joy to others in worlds and times I cannot even imagine.” Holly Robertson, Exhibits Coordinator.

Drawing of stone or rock house from Streatham, England with inhabitants on the back porch.

“I am the Accessioning Archivist, and I was dazzled when I saw this collection in our intake room. It had been sitting in there a while, a casualty of the pandemic and staff turnover, waiting for someone to move it along. It was such an interesting piece, I might say magical, with so much attention paid to each page. I was happy that our Processing Archivist could do a deeper dive to learn more about it.” Rose Oliveira.

Drawing of Miss Adlam sitting by the window in a house called Fairfield Shipley.

“I love this album so much! The bright colors and intricacy in the paintings make them feel like they are bursting with life. You can tell that this was a passion project for the artist, and I am so glad we have it here so that people can still appreciate it today and possibly be inspired to create artwork of their own.” Stacey Lavender, Digital Archivist.

Specific comments about the last flowers and plants from the garden in the Spring of 1907.

The artist depiction of the the last tulip and the last plant that came out of the front garden. Spring 1907

Portrait of the artist mother during a garden party.

Molly Schwartzburg, the Curator who purchased this collection for UVA, was thrilled to acquire this imaginative album created by a non-famous person.

The collection was brought in on September 21, 2017. Come in and see the whole album. There are more illustrated pages of gardens and activities of the artist.

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