Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Glass Flowers, formally The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, is a famous collection of highly-realistic glass botanical models at the Harvard Museum of Natural History at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
They were made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka from 1887 through 1936 at their studio in Hosterwitz, Germany, near Dresden. They were commissioned by Professor George Lincoln Goodale, founder of Harvard's Botanical Museum, for the purpose of teaching botany, and financed by Goodale's former student, Mary Lee Ware and her mother, Elizabeth Ware. Over 3000 models, of 847 different plant species, were made.
The flowers have suffered deterioration and are undergoing restoration. In a 1999 article about the collection in the journal ResearchPennState curatorial associate Susan Rossi-Wilcox is quoted as saying "It took a long time for the faculty here to go from thinking about the Glass Flowers as a teaching collection to thinking about them as art objects." Rossi-Wilcox went on "See the white powdery stuff on the leaves? This is glass corrosion. The majority of these models are affected. That's the great irony. The models showing plant diseases are also showing glass diseases."
The Glass Flowers were and are one of the most famous attractions of the Boston area. More than 120,000 visitors view the collection annually. In 1936, when Harvard invited the public to tour the campus in honor of its tercentenary, a New York Times reporter taking the tour commented "Tercentenary or no, the chief focus of interest remains the famous glass flowers, the first of which was put on exhibition in 1893, and which with additions at interval since, have never failed to draw exclamations of wonder or disbelief from visitors.".
Posted by imarealist hoi at 8:11 AM