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Botanical Plates from "Botanini in Originali Seu Herbarium Vivum

Origin: Europe, Germany, Erfurt
OH: 12 1/2" OW: 7 1/2" (roughly)
Ink and watercolor on laid paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2008-44,1-25
A collection of 25 prints of botanical specimens with added had color. See curatorial remarks for a description of the process.
Label:In 1729, Johann Hieronymus Kniphof, a professor, doctor, and keeper of the botanic garden in Erfurt, Germany, developed a new method for creating botanical images. Kniphof’s process used the plant itself to produce an exact image. After the plant was harvested, he pressed and dried it. Once it dried, he applied ink directly to the specimen and rolled it through a printing press. In an early report he explained “the manifest economic advantages the process had compared with botanical books illustrated with woodcuts or copper plates.” Previously botany texts had used inefficient woodblock prints, which lost detail, or copper plates, which became too costly. This new process of nature printing allowed for the plant to be depicted more affordably in an as true-to-life manner as possible.