Snippets

I have called these Snippets because they will be short anecdotes about the everyday happenings in the library. They will include comments, quotations and images relating to items in the library, the search for new acquisitions and all rose related subjects.

I would be pleased if you felt able to comment and leave your thoughts and ideas. Click on the heading and a comments box will appear at the bottom of each snippet.

  • More from Catharina Klein.

    You may be aware that I am a fan of Catharina Klein; collecting her postcards, book illustrations and more recently one or two of her painting books. I would dearly love to own an original painting but have never seen one, signed by her, available. I have one that looks very much like her work but it is unsigned, so is believed to be by one of her followers. She must have painted thousands of pictures during her long painting career and always signed her work, so it is believed.

    Catharina had a studio in Berlin from which she held art classes but this was not her only method of helping others to paint. In the early 1900s Raphael Tuck and Sons published a number of her painting books. These had either two or four of her postcards on the left hand page with outlines of the cards on the right hand side which could be coloured. Similar to the adult painting books that have become popular today. The paintings could be removed from the book and sent as postcards.

    I am not quite sure how many books were published but I have found three and I expect there are more out there.

  • ‘Beautiful Roses’ (1903) by John Weathers.

    ‘Beautiful Roses’ (1903).

    Two books: same title, same year, same author, same text.

    Illustration by John Allen.

    These two beautiful examples of the same book have been hiding on the shelves for some time and it is only recently, while I have been working on the illustration of the early rose books, that they have resurfaced. I was delighted when I became reacquainted because I love the 33 illustrations by John Allen. I am sure the text is worthy too but as you may know I am all about rose art and literature rather than rose cultivation.

    John Weathers was not a great rosarian but he was extremely knowledgeable in the field of horticulture. He wrote several books including ‘A Practical Guide to Garden Plants’, ‘The Bulb Book’, ‘French Market Gardening’, ‘Commercial Gardening’, and ‘A Practical Guide to School, Cottage and Allotment Gardens’, as well as contributing to the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. I am also delighted to discover that he translated from German a similarly lovely book by Julius Hoffmann ‘The Amateur Gardener’s Rose Book’.

    John Weathers worked at Kew Gardens before becoming Superintendent of the Middlesex County Council’s School of Gardening and a lecturer in horticulture. I have yet to research fully John Allen, the illustrator, but initially there does not seem to be any information available. Further work needs to be done.

    More rose illustrations from the book ‘Beautiful Roses’ by John Weathers.

  • The mystery of the two books.

    While I was writing about one mystery I thought I would mention another that has arisen over the last few days. I have recently joined the Instagram world and am very much enjoying following a number of book collectors and dealers, especially those that are interested, as I am, in Victorian and Edwardian literature. This has caused me to look more closely at many of my books some of which, I must admit, I have taken very much for granted.

    I came across these two on the same shelf. They have the same binding although a different colour, they have the same title but they are totally different texts, written by two different authors and published fifteen years apart, 1903 and 1918.

    I can only think that because they are both on a similar subject and published by the same company, C.Arthur Pearson Ltd that an attempt has been made to save costs on the second book (Edwin Beckett) as the country was suffering from a terrible war and finances would be scarce.

  • Podrome de la Monographie and its mystery.

    This tiny little book written in 1820 by Claude Antoine Thory (1759-1827), hides amongst the Rosarian Library’s French texts. It is tiny in stature but not in nature as it is linked with ‘Les Roses’ by Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840) for whom Thory wrote the text that describes each one of Redoute’s 169 paintings.

    This little book is a brief summary of each of the species and varieties of rose that are known to exist at this time, most of which are illustrated in ‘Les Roses’. So what is the mystery? In the book there are two illustrations only and they state the artist to be H.J Redoute. I presume each is a misprint!

    Title page.

    Illustration 1.

    Illustration 2.

  • ‘Rosarum Monographia’ (1820)

    This botanical text is the third book to be written dedicated to the Rose, with ‘A Collection of Roses from Nature’ (1799) by Mary Lawrence and ‘Roses: or a monograph of the Genus Rosa being numbers one and two respectively. The artwork and the text are both the work of John Lindley (1799-1865) and it was published by James Ridgway of London.

    The 1820 edition and the 1830 edition are both in the library but are in rather a sorry state which is perhaps not surprising as one is over 200 years old and the other not far off the 200 years.

    Lindley was an erudite botanist who worked tirelessly to clarify the species roses and these texts feature the roses which he felt were species roses separating them from those that had become hybridised. His work did not only involve roses; he was very keen on orchids and other flowers. Lindley was appointed assistant secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and its new garden at Chiswick in 1822 and became professor of Botany at University College London in 1829. His achievements were many and now he is remembered through the RHS Lindley Library, a place which helps us with our horticultural research.

    Illustration from the 1820 text.

    The 1820 text with an illustration from the 1830 edition.

  • Back for the new year 2022.

    After a break I am back and ready for the new year ahead. During the year there have been several books dedicated to the rose published but my favourite is ‘By Any Other Name: A Cultural History of the Rose’ by Simon Morley. My opinion is not at all swayed by the fact that Simon gives credit to me in his acknowledgements but I am swayed by the fact that I feel Simon offers us new ideas and a commentary that is different from previous authors.

    Two other new books worthy of note, both beautiful in very different ways

    A great new book worthy of presence in any library.

  • Poetry and Roses.

    I do love it when literature and roses come together and in this case poetry. To add even more interest this is about the poetry of Lord Byron and the paintings of Catharina Klein. When I discovered that Catharina had illustrated a book of poetry entitled ‘Rubies from Byron’ I just had to find it. It is a beautiful little book bound in a soft suede but I had no idea of the date it was published.

    Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) lived before Catharina Klein (1861-1929). The publishers De Wolfe, Fiske and Co. existed between 1880 and 1905 so the book must have been published during that period.

    ‘The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

    Where grew the arts of war and peace, –

    Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!

    Eternal summer gilds them yet,

    But all, except their sun is set.

  • Histoire des Roses.

    ‘Histoire des Roses’ (1819) by Charles Malo. A beautiful little book with twelve illustrations by P. Bessa. Measuring only 9cm by 13cm its plain cloth green cover disguises the beauty within. It is unbelievable knowing this book is 200 years old.

    In 2017 when the Royal National Rose Society had to close its doors and gardens I was lucky enough to buy the books from the extensive library that had been collected over nearly 150 years. Among those books were about 50 French ones, some of which have beautiful illustrations. I look at these regularly but the little book above had become overlooked as it sits on the shelf with several other little books.

    Title page.

    Three of the twelve illustrations.

  • In the style of the Dutch painters of the 17th century.

    I haven’t bought a painting like this before but I thought the roses were beautifully painted and the glass of wine only added to the composition! One always hopes that a painting such as this may be by a professional artist but the research I have done leads me nowhere. The signature is unclear and although it begins ‘ J van ‘ I am under no illusion that it is by one of that great family of artists.

    I will appreciate the painting for what it is; a very attractive picture. Maybe the style of glass will be able to tell me something . . . . . .

    The lovely old roses.

    A great style of glass.

    A very unclear signature.

    The Dutch style painting.

  • A new name every day . . . . . .

    I search the auction houses at least weekly for rose paintings that are affordable for me, the amateur collector. Reluctantly I pass over the Harold Claytons, Cecil Kennedys, James Nobles and the like leaving those to the lucky people who can justify paying for them. Occasionally I come across a painting that appeals to me just as much as those by the fine artists who are well known. A typical example is my most recent find by Arthur Fidler, an artist whose name I do not know.

    In a web search I found one or two other paintings by him but nothing about him personally. To me the beautiful rose painting looks so skilfully executed I cannot believe I have not ‘discovered’ him before. I am not a reliable art critic and only judge by what I like so you must make a judgement yourself.

  • The missing Kleins . . . . . . . .

    I have recently added a story about Catharina Klein to the Story page so I thought this would be an appropriate snippet. I must have at least 5 or 6 hundred of her paintings on cards as I have been collecting for a while now. There are two in particular that I would love to find in order to complete a set of four. I do not know why these cards appeal but they do. Perhaps it is because they stand out as different from the rest. As you can see I have the red and the yellow but there is also a pink and apricot in the set. I know because I have seen them on Pinterest where a lucky person was displaying them.

    There are hundreds more Klein cards for me to find but it is the companions for these two that I would like . . . . . .

    I must share with you her alphabet cards at some point but there is so much about Catharina Klein and her paintings that would be good to share . . . an amazing lady with an amazing talent. . . . .

  • R. A. Foster – the story goes on . . . . .

    Sorry to be so long in coming back with this post . . . . .a slight accident.. . . . . . . In my last snippet regarding Rebecca Foster I said I would share with you some images of the paintings I bought from an auction house in the West Country. You will see five of these below. They are watercolours. I will share the oils another time. Even though they are not roses I am very pleased to have found them.

    The most exciting development, however, is that I suggested I would love to know who was selling the paintings. I know now as the seller, Rebecca’s grand daughter, contacted me and is providing me with some great detail for my research.

  • R A Foster . . continued. . .

    Continuing the R A Foster theme . . . .I have been looking for her paintings, either watercolours or oils, to buy for some long time now but have only found ones that have been sold in the past. To my amazement, last week nine came along at once in an auction house in Cornwall. I did the only decent thing possible but the problem was I was not the only buyer after them. Perhaps I should stick to buying her postcards.

    I would love to find out who was selling them as they must be a collector and I would also love to know who the underbidder was as they also must be interested in her paintings.

    I will share some photos when I receive the paintings but for now these are some of the paintings she had published as postcards.

  • R A Foster update.

    For some time now I have been researching into the life and work of the flower artist Rebecca Ann Foster or R A Foster as she always signs her work. She first held my attention when I discovered her beautiful paintings of roses on postcards that were published at the beginning of the 20th century. She was, however, a fine artist who exhibited many paintings in various galleries. Together with information about her life I am endeavouring to compile a list of the works she produced and the postcards she had published.

    To add complication to this I have, in the last week, discovered that there have been a number of prints published by one of the companies who published her postcards. When I feel I have finally achieved my task I will include the research in one of my stories.

  • Do you remember?

    This beautiful garden sadly exists no longer. It died in 2017 along with the Royal National Rose Society. Fortunately out of the ashes has arisen The Rose Society UK, which is going from strength to strength.

  • The Soul of the Rose.

    About a year ago, before our lives changed so suddenly and drastically, I was about to have printed a book of rose stories ‘The Soul of the Rose’. It was to include 30 stories and many images, also quotations and verse. Now that plan has changed. I am not only showcasing the museum on line but also the stories that were to be in the book. They include some amazing people . . . . . .

  • A new style of rummaging!

    I know there are many things we have missed over the last few months but I hate to admit that it is the antique fairs, bazaars and shops that I have missed most of all. At least I have discovered more auction houses and antique sites on line which have enabled me to rummage in a different way. The art postcard collection has certainly grown, the Limoges brooch collection too. One or two more paintings have also found their way into the gallery section of the library.

  • Collecting a memory.

    The best thing about collecting is very often the memory that is attached to the discovery. This pretty but otherwise insignificant cup and saucer holds one of the best memories for me. Found in a brocante in France it was, looking back, one of those unforgettable moments when everything was perfect.

    Cup and saucer
  • A Great New Website.

    I am delighted this new website is ready for me to showcase my collections of rose memorabilia. The previous Rosarian Library site focussed mostly on the books but this one will include the Library, Gallery and Museum.

    I am hoping many of you, who also love roses, will enjoy my Snippets and Stories as well as the images of the collections.

All Snippets

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