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Women's botanical illustration in Canada : its gendered, colonial and garden histories (1830-1930)


Women's botanical illustration in Canada : its gendered, colonial and garden histories (1830-1930)

Robert, Kimberlie M (2008) Women's botanical illustration in Canada : its gendered, colonial and garden histories (1830-1930). Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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MR45323.pdf - Accepted Version


This thesis studies botanical illustration by Canadian women between 1830 and 1930 from three aspects: the gendered history of botany from its beginnings as a general practice that later turned into a systematized science, botany's colonial agency in Canada, and the influence that garden design had on botanical illustration. A botanical illustration is, on the surface, an intense scientific flower study complete with anatomical details intent on documenting the plant's stages of growth. It is a portrait that was thought to be an appropriate teaching tool. Executed with proper artistic and observational aptitude, the botanical illustration is a striking piece of artwork. However, the nature of art is often too fluid and subjective for the fixity of science. My intention is to discuss nineteenth-century botanical illustration by Canadian women in terms of it being a cultural product that both fed female amateur floriculture and horticulture in England and Canada and that offered possibilities to cultivate professional identity more usually reserved for men. Women's authority to present the new masculine science of botany was at issue as women were caught in a complex social and scientific network that, on the one hand, encouraged them to teach botany and to produce botanical art while, on the other, restricted them from participating in higher scientific circles necessary for their advancement. As a result, their botanical production was a multivalent reflection of botanical education, of personal relationships with nature, and of colonial circumstances and expectations.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Robert, Kimberlie M
Pagination:viii, 129 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Foss, Brian
ID Code:976097
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:19
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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