This book was an incredibly thoughtful gift from my manager for Christmas this year. She knew I loved wildflowers, but what she didn’t know is that Melissa Cullina, who wrote the forward for this book, is who I took a class with this summer. She told us about Furbish’s work during the course of the class, and I got to see the larger editions that have her complete paintings. (Available for a mere $350! This will probably be the pinnacle purchase if I get really serious about this collection I’ve started.) This was the nicest gift I’ve ever gotten from a manager.
Kate Furbish lived from 1834 to 1941, and during her lifetime, traveled all over the state of Maine to paint the flora. She even found a new species (Furbish’s Lousewort – Pedicularis furbishiae), in her travels in northern Maine. When you think about the fact that she was a woman, in that timeframe, her accomplishments are even more enormous.
She donated her work to Bowdoin College, to be used to educate future botany students, but it’s really only being published now. This book is a quick survey – the art is lovely, though I can tell you the full size versions are even better.