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Frampton Flora

Frampton Flora

by Richard Mabey

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rousseau wrote that ``the study of nature abates the taste for frivolous amusements, prevents the tumult of passions and provides the mind with a nourishment which is salutary,'' and, indeed, the genteel art of botanical drawing was a prevalent pastime among Victorian ``ladies'' of leisure. The collaborative efforts of two generations of Victorian women comprise this accomplished collection of flower paintings recently discovered in the attic of the Clifford family estate, Frampton Court, in Gloucestershire, England. British nature writer Mabey keenly suggests that the assortment of ``humdrum'' flowers from the environs of Frampton and more exotic blooms found in the wilder countryside reflects the peculiarly Victorian ambivalence toward the ``twin passions of domesticity and expansiveness.'' While the pieces here are skillfully executed, the handiwork of Charlotte Anne Purnell and Rosamond Clifford is distinguished by a luminous texture and sophisticated sense of design. The paintings are grouped by locale, invoking a sense of the women having constructed a `` `permanent geography' of their ancestral territory.'' The assiduously studied, delicately restrained flowers provide a telling account not only of the flora of a lost age, but of the refined industriousness of their portraitists. (October 1)

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Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
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