Book of Mushrooms

Private Collection

Alternate Titles:

Libro de las Setas, Buch der Pilze

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Libro de las Setas
Buch der Pilze

Type
Extent / Format

600 pages / 16.3 x 10.3 cm

Date
1805
Genre
Artist / School

Author: Robert Wilson

Illustrations

280 illustrations

Short description

The Book of Mushrooms by Robert Wilson collects gorgeous representations of all kinds of mushrooms and sponges on over 600 pages. This gem of mycology arose in the year 1805. As a result, it is characterized by the time period, when the science of mushrooms enjoyed an enormous upswing. Numerous botanists, among them such famous mycologists as Christian Hendrick Persoon, composed comprehensive scientific works and textbooks about mycology at the beginning of the 19th century. The most wonderfully colored depictions by Robert Wilson allow the unbelievable world of mushrooms to arise before the eyes of the beholder and sometimes offer exotic and curious depictions, in which one can entertainingly and educationally immerse themselves. This Book of Mushrooms is a wonderful attestation to the enthusiasm felt for botany at the beginning of the 19th century.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Book of Mushrooms

The Book of Mushrooms by Robert Wilson collects gorgeous representations of all kinds of mushrooms and sponges on over 600 pages. This gem of mycology arose in the year 1805. As a result, it is characterized by the time period, when the science of mushrooms enjoyed an enormous upswing. Numerous botanists, among them such famous mycologists as Christian Hendrick Persoon, composed comprehensive scientific works and textbooks about mycology at the beginning of the 19th century. The most wonderfully colored depictions by Robert Wilson allow the unbelievable world of mushrooms to arise before the eyes of the beholder and sometimes offer exotic and curious depictions, in which one can entertainingly and educationally immerse themselves. This Book of Mushrooms is a wonderful attestation to the enthusiasm felt for botany at the beginning of the 19th century.

Wonderful Depictions, Wonderfully Colored

On one page a splendid toadstool presents itself with a luminous red cap, even gills, and a flawless stem. Notes are written next to the drawing in delicate script. Another depiction shows curious small white mushrooms, which grow in groups on the cap of a bigger, brown mushroom. The botanical fascination of the artist is clear here. The mushrooms were drawn on paper with a sharp pencil and a practiced hand. The coloration with ink, crayon, and watercolors lights up the drawings and lends them a wonderful liveliness and three-dimensionality.

Various “Fungi”, Indigenous and Exotic

Altogether, 280 of these wonderful images adorn Wilson’s Drawings of Fungi, as this exquisite 16.3 x 10.3 cm booklet is titled. The list of mushrooms follows no apparent order and presents brightly jumbled toadstools, puffballs, and other mushrooms. Above all, the Book of Mushrooms is a wonderful example of the fascination with botany at the beginning of the 19th century!

A Golden Age of Mycology

The study of mushrooms or mycology has been a field of research in botany from year one. Since antiquity, people have concerned themselves with mushrooms, which they found use for as a source of nourishment and medicines. The differentiation between edible and poisonous mushrooms was already an important, fundamental, and above all practical central point. Mycology enjoyed an enormous upswing from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Many botanists concerned themselves extensively with mushrooms and recorded their findings in textbooks. Famous names include Christian Hendrick Persoon or Lewis David von Schweinitz. The latter not only composed a foundational work of mycology, but also four books with drawings of mushrooms in the years 1805-1816. Therein are collected – like in Wilson’s Book of Mushrooms – over 940 realistic watercolors.

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