Plant: Exploring the Botanical World by PHAIDON EDITORS
RRP $79.95 Phaidon (2018)
IF YOU LIKED Botanicum, the recent coffee-table book curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis (Five Mile Press) you’ll love Plant, a hefty and visually bewitching collection of botanical illustration across the centuries.
Hooked on a chronology of plant science from 9500 BCE to the present, the book brings together sketches by Charles Darwin, medieval illuminations and electron micrographs. The works of illustrators such as Ferdinand Bauer, Pandora Sellars, and Margaret Mee jostle with plantbased pictures from famous artists including Brassaï, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Mapplethorpe, Georgia O’keeffe and Irving Penn.
The text is full of entertaining yarns centred on the intersection of botany and culture – the fifteenth century economic madness known as tulipmania, for instance, or the revelation that thale cress is the first plant species to undergo its entire life cycle in space.
A delight from start to finish, the book is one of a trio from the publishers, the others being Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World, and Map: Exploring the World.