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Plant Study

William Trost Richards

American Art

In their precise accuracy and close-up format, these two sheets of botanical studies exemplify William Trost Richards’s commitment to the principles of John Ruskin, an English critic who promoted a “truth to nature” approach to representation. Always a prolific draftsman, Richards here delineated the forms of various plants and wild flowers with botanical exactitude. The artist’s concern for realism based on careful observation was in keeping with the Ruskinian notion that God is manifest in the tiniest details of the natural world.

Ruskin’s ideas influenced the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England, as well as its American counterpart, the Association for the Advancement of Truth in Art, of which Richards was a member.
MEDIUM Graphite on beige, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper
DATES August 1860
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 5 5/8 x 8 1/16 in. (14.3 x 20.5 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS In artist's hand, in graphite: "Aug 1st 1860." at left center; "Aug 4th 1860" at lower center; and "white flower / green center" at upper right. Erased inscriptions (now illegible) at lower center and lower right.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Edith Ballinger Price
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION William Trost Richards (American, 1833-1905). Plant Study, August 1860. Graphite on beige, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper, Sheet: 5 5/8 x 8 1/16 in. (14.3 x 20.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Edith Ballinger Price, 72.32.12
IMAGE overall, CUR.72.32.12.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 6/17/2008
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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