Saturday, 11 April 2009

Illustrated Book of the Week - Garden Flowers in Color


Although Garden Flowers in Color was written by G.A.Stevens  in 1933 - it is his printer J.Horace Mcfarland, who is our main focus with this weeks Illustrated Book of the Week.

Mcfarland was an early 20th Century pioneer. One of the first American's to realise the importance of preserving the environment, he was a tireless campaigner, constantly trying to beautify urban spaces and save important areas of natural beauty. 

As a horticulturalist, he is also a seminal figure - founder of the American Rose Society, he invented modern forms of plant identification, while his gardens were internationally famous as testing grounds for new species.

And as if that weren't enough - he was one of the earliest printers of colour photography in America - as far back as 1894 he was producing colour catalogs with horticultural imagery.

Stevens' book is a fantastic example of this colour printing. The saturation and life in the images is incredible, and eighty years later, they jump right off the page.

I particularly like the 'decoupage' style of layout too - the combination of super-bright colours and a slightly naive feel to the way the pictures are displayed make the whole book look completely contemporary. Very similar in feel to the super-fashionable, 'hand-crafted' spreads that designers like M/M Paris are so keen on.





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