Spring has arrived. While some of us may have an opportunity to carefully step outside and view blossoms in our own neighborhood, others may not. Wherever you are, you can take a virtual stroll among the shoots and blossoms planted among the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division.
Many images of gardens can be found among the photographs made by Frances Benjamin Johnston. In the first decades of the 20th century, Johnston documented gardens and landscapes across the United States. The following three views were captured in California, Michigan, and Virginia. Johnston used selections from her garden images, reproduced as hand-colored lantern slides, to accompany a series of lectures she offered in support of the garden beautiful movement, to promote and preserve thoughtful landscape design in the United States.
Carol M. Highsmith, whose work photographing the American landscape has been inspired by Johnston, also has many botanical-themed images in the collections, including the two below.
Images of flowers in the collections are not limited to photographic formats. For those interested in fine prints, the collections include a number of garden or flower-themed ukiyo-e woodcuts.
If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of some wildlife. Prints featuring birds and flowers comprised a popular genre of ukiyo-e prints.
These pictures represent a small selection of floral images in the collections, and we hope they will inspire you to do more looking using the links below. Wherever you are, and whatever your circumstances, we hope these images provide some tranquility.
- View more Frances Benjamin Johnston photographs of gardens, and learn more about the Library’s collection of her wide-ranging work. You may be interested to see an advertisement for her garden-related lectures.
- Watch researcher Sam Watters, who identified many of the locations represented in Johnston’s lantern slides, discuss Frances Benjamin Johnston’s photographs of gardens in this Library of Congress webcast. Read a Picture This blog post about Watters’s work with the collection.
- Explore more garden-centered images by Carol M. Highsmith, and read about her collection at the Library.
- See more Japanese fine prints featuring flowers and read about the collection. This online exhibit provides more information about ukiyo-e prints at the Library of Congress.