Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Golden Flower: Chromolithographs by Louis Prang

The Golden Flower: Chrysanthemum. Boston, L. Prang & Co., 1890. First edition, inscribed by the author, F. Schuyler Mathews, on a yellow label. This stunning illustrated book features sixteen full-page chromolithographs in brilliant color, printed by Louis Prang and depicting myriad varieties of chrysanthemums. The volume opens with a frontispiece illustration of the chrysanthemum personified in Art Nouveau splendor as "Princess Golden Flower."


The chromolithographs reproduce studies from nature in watercolor by James and Sidney Callowhill, Alois Lunzer, and by Mathews himself, who was a naturalist as well as the author and illustrator of several field guides to flora and fauna. The illustrations accompany eighteen verses written in tribute to the chrysanthemum by Edith M. Thomas, Robert Browning, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others.

The publisher, Louis Prang, was a pioneer of chromolithography who brought color printing to the masses, selling prints, cards, books, and more. This deluxe book showcases the quality of work that made Prang one of the most influential and popular color printers of his time.

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