Prett and Östlund’s book was inspired by a book Pia Östlund discovered while working at the Physic Garden five years ago. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the images, she set out to rediscover this lost technique of nature-printing. The book that launched her journey was The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland Nature-Printed (1855) by Henry Bradbury. The text for this book was provided by Thomas Moore, Curator of Chelsea Physic Garden. Botanist John Lindley was the editor.
The Physic Garden explains:
The quality of the nature-prints was astonishing. The botanist Joseph Hooker announced the results were so good that ‘the plates seem to surpass the specimens themselves in elegance and in colouring’. According to The Times it was ‘as if the original specimens were pasted on paper’. But for mysterious reasons the process was abandoned and the method, lost. The few nature-prints that were made this way are rare, sought-after and extremely valuable.
In The Nature-Printer, Prett traces Östlund’s determined quest and her attempt to repair broken connections between art, science and engineering. The book also tells the remarkable story of nature-printing, explores the reasons for its disappearance, and shows how important things are sometimes lost in the rush of progress.
This limited edition book will be available beginning May 1, 2016. It includes a copy of Östlund’s first successful nature print, a bound-in monoprint, a herbarium specimen and 32 pages of color plates. The text is on 176 pp printed letterpress on Somerset Book mould-made paper. Covers are print letterpress from woodblocks in three colors. The book is quarter-bound leather. Size: 160 x 250 mm.
Proceeds benefit Chelsea Physic Garden. If you are interested in this new publication, act now because only 75 copies will be printed.
Nature printing with Pia Östlund
Developed by physicians in the 15th century as an aid in their study of medicinal and useful plants, nature printing is a wonderful way of documenting plants. Join designer and printmaker Pia Östlund for two-day workshops at Chelsea Physic Garden to explore this technique.