Saturday, December 22, 2007

Antique Botanical Print - Humulus lupulus

I purchased this print of the hop plant recently on Ebay. The print is an original hand color engraving from English Botany: or Coloured Figures of British Plants, With Their Essential Characters, Synonyms, and Places of Growth. This periodical publication, published between 1790 and 1814, included 2,592 beautifully coloured illustrations of British plants. Most of the illustrations were drawn and engraved by James Sowerby. The engraved image of Humulus lupulus measures 6-1/2" x 3-l/2". The page is imprinted Humulus Lupulus, London: Jas. Sowerby, January 1796.

If you think about the time period when this publication was being produced, beer was an essential part of everyday life. The hop plant was probably familiar to more of the population than it is today. These hand-illustrated publications provided some of the only botanical literature available to the average person of the time. We own several botanical prints and find them to provide an interesting contrast to today's computer-reproduced illustrations.

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