William Trost Richards
In their precise accuracy and close-up format, these two sheets of botanical studies exemplify William Trost Richards’s commitment to the principles of John Ruskin, an English critic who promoted a “truth to nature” approach to representation. Always a prolific draftsman, Richards here delineated the forms of various plants and wild flowers with botanical exactitude. The artist’s concern for realism based on careful observation was in keeping with the Ruskinian notion that God is manifest in the tiniest details of the natural world.
Ruskin’s ideas influenced the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, as well as its American counterpart, the Association for the Advancement of Truth in Art, of which Richards was a member.
Opaque watercolor and graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured brown wove paper
July 9-14, 1860
Sheet: 8 1/8 x 5 5/8 in. (20.6 x 14.3 cm)
Artist's notations in graphite: "July 9th 1860" at left center (below daisies); "little less / than size / nature" and "July 14th" near stalks of wild grass; and "about size of / nature" beside clover-like flower
This item is not on view
Gift of Edith Ballinger Price
Wildflowers include daisies, bluebells, wild grass, clover-like flower
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