‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’ – Botanical Wall Charts at the Academic Heritage Foundation

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Bontanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed has gathered a massive collection of botanical wall charts that were used as teaching aids in the Netherlands and the rest Europe from 1870-1960. The collection, over 3000 images, includes stylised morphological diagrams, sketches of microscopic anatomy and early botanical data visualisations. It’s clear from this collection that the act of illustrating was as much an act of observing. These lithographs record a kind of meditative microscopy; each a postcard sent from a journey into the minuscule world of tissues and cells. As Goethe is quoted as saying ‘You really do not see a plant until you draw it’. The highly detailed plant morphologies in German botanist Leopold Kny’s Botanische Wandtafeln are virtually cosmic in their nebulous configurations while Dutch geneticist Hugo de Vries’s data visualisations tend towards the lyrical.

Note: many of the thumbnails appear to be missing from the page although the full-sized images are correctly displayed.

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBladstanden – A.A.Van Voorn

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsFixeeren, Accumuleeren, Affoleeren – Hugo de Vries [1898]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsRussisch Billard Volgens Galton – Hugo de Vries [1898]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsCurve der Vruchtlengte van Oenothera Lamarckiana – Hugo de Vries [1898]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsKurkhuid – J.G. Meijer [1880]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsCelwand Reactiën – J.G. Meijer [1880]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsKernschede – J.G. Meijer [1880]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical Wallcharts Bloei van Knautia Sylvatica – J.G. Meijer [1904]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsDodel Port Atlas – J.F. Schreiber [1893]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsDodel Port Atlas – J.F. Schreiber [1893]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

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5 Responses to “‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’ – Botanical Wall Charts at the Academic Heritage Foundation”

  1. Rob Kesseler writes:

    Hi Paul, someone sent me a link to your feature on botanical wall charts as I had recently been featuring them in a lecture. I am currently in discussion with a botanical institute in Pittsburgh who rescued a collection including some by Kny from a skip. We are hoping to do an exhibition featuring the charts alongside some of my images in 2017. I will let you know if it comes off.
    Great site you you have and beautiful movies. If you are ever passing through London maybe I could tempt you in to give a talk at Central Saint Martins where I am currently chair of Arts, Design & Science.

  2. Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #51 | Whewell's Ghost writes:

    […] Data is Nature: ‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’ – Botanical Wall Charts at the Academic Heri… […]

  3. paul writes:

    Rob, I would certainly be interested in the show you mention that may happen in 2017. Thanks for the comment and keep me posted.

  4. Goncalo Reis writes:

    Brilliant architecture of plants.

  5. Sean writes:

    These are exquisite!

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