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Flower Study

William Trost Richards

American Art

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.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor and graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured brown wove paper
DATES July 9-14, 1860
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 8 1/8 x 5 5/8 in. (20.6 x 14.3 cm)
INSCRIPTIONS 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
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Edith Ballinger Price
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wildflowers include daisies, bluebells, wild grass, clover-like flower
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