Crimson Rose. Maud Naftel (1856-1890). Watercolour illustration, 1886. Source Naftel, Frontispiece. Coming to this almost at the end of her book, Naftel writes,

The outline of this crimson rose must be drawn with care; the numerous petals may prove confusing, but a correct outline in the first instance will render easier the after-task of colouring. In such a rich deep-tinted flower, it is most important to put on the colour of the right strength at once, and not to trust much to re-touching, for no stippling or hatching will give the velvety look so characteristic in this flower. Do not economise your colour: have plenty of it on the palette, and keep your brush full...

Naftel goes on to talk about the shadow cast by the rose. Some of the plates in this book benefit by being rotated so that the flowers appear upright (in one particular case, the flowers are in a vase and definitely need to be seen this way). But in others, both shadow and background are very much part of the composition, and Naftel advises her readers on how to tackle it:

The shadow on the ground is an important part of this study, and its delicate gradations form a beautiful and instructive lesson, which will repay attention. It will then be noticed that the red of the rose is reflected in its shadow, for the soft edge has decidedly a pinkish tinge, and in the same way the shadow of the green leaf has borrowed colour from the original. It is impossible to be over-careful in noting these subtle differences, which, unimportant as they may seem, make all the difference between good art and common art. A very pale wash of lamp-black may be floated over the left-hand side of the background and foreground. [50-51]

It is clear from such remarks that these are not primarily botanical illustrations but flower art, intended to please more than simply to identify. However, the popularity of botany and botanical illustrations, as well as watercolour painting, would have attracted readers to this manual.

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Naftel, Maud. Flowers and how to paint them. London: Cassell, 1886; new ed. 1906. Internet Archive. Contributed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Web. 12 March 2022.

Created 12 March 2022