Focus on the Peck Collection: Botanical Works on Paper

April 22, 2022 - July 17, 2022

During the seventeenth century, Dutch botanists, merchants, and artists turned their attention to vegetation, near and far. Intellectual hubs like the University of Leiden cultivated some of the first botanical gardens while amateur flower enthusiasts took an interest in personal horticulture.

This Focus on the Peck Collection installation celebrates the arrival of Spring through two artist’s renditions of weeds and everyday plants. These botanical works by Dutch draftsman Crispijn de Passe the Elder (c.1565-1637), alongside a much later work by French engraver Eugène-Stanislas-Alexandre Blery (1805-1887), depict familiar vegetation with uncommon vitality and detail. Together, they showcase how artists elevate ordinary, yet visually expressive plant life to unexpected prominence.

Crispijn de Passe the Elder, Dutch, ca. 1565-1637, Studies of Mallow and Nightshade, c. 1600, pen and brown ink, brown wash on paper, 4 5/8 × 7 1/2 in. (11.7 × 19 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Peck Collection, 2017.1.60.