Our partners in New York City, The Old Print Shop, have a stunning set of floral watercolors by 20th century artist Edith F. Johnston. Not much is know about Johnston, who created during the early to mid 20th century. She was illustrator and co-author (along with Margaret McKinney) of “A Book of Garden Flowers” published in 1941, “A Book of Wayside Fruits” in 1945, as well as “A Book of Wild Flowers” published in 1946. These publications offered rich insight and advice to their readers, with notes on planting windows and care for a multitude of flower varieties. Johnston and McKinney also included light history of each flower, including its use in ancient cultures and any symbolic meanings. Every book featured full-color multi-stone lithographs, after drawings by Johnston.
The original watercolors shown below vary in design and arrangement but all show a propensity towards illustrating with strong and dramatic color palettes. It is possible that several of the watercolors were studies for plants featured in her books. These unique works on paper would make beautiful additions to any natural history collection.
To see more by Edith Johnston, click here.
Assam, N. E. India, on Brahmaputra R. Edith Johnston. Watercolor on paper, July, 1965. Paper size 13 3/4 x 10 3/4″ (349 x 275 mm). Titled in pencil at lower paper edge. Plant identification has been erased – it appears that this was done for a presentation (framing for a show). Signed and dated in image. LINK.
Pansy & Bleeding Heart. Edith Johnston. Watercolor, undated. Image size 20 7/8 x 15″ (531 x 382 mm). Signed by the artist (under leaves) on left side. LINK.
Eggs of Red Snail on Cuperys Alternifolius [umbrella papyrus]. Edith Johnston. Watercolor, 1956. Paper size 22 x 14 7/8″558 x 378 mm). Titled and date in pencil along lower paper edge. “May 2, 1956 – O’Brien.” Edith Johnston often noted the locations where she drew – possible why O’Brien in noted. LINK.
Bog Violet, Butlerwort, Pinquicula lutea, P. elatior, Mill Crk. Rd. Mar. 7, 1957. A&T Gleason. Edith Johnston. Watercolor on paper, 1957. Paper size 13 7/8 x 9 3/4″ (353 x 248 mm). Titled in pencil. Signed Edith E. Johnston. LINK.
Carambola – Averrhoa carambola. Oxalis Family – china. Burma, India. collection of Billings McArthur. Killarney Point, Lake Pillarney, Fla. Edith Johnston. Watercolor on paper, 1955. Paper size 13 3/4 x 10 3/4″ (349 x 275 mm). Titled and dated at upper paper edge in pencil. Pencil notes in image. LINK.
Aletris aurea – Golden Colie Root. Mill Crk. Rd. Aut. 24, 55′. KWD Lily family. Edith Johnston. Watercolor on paper, 1955. Paper size 13 3/4 x 10 3/4″ (349 x 275 mm). Titled and dated in pencil at lower paper edge. Signed in image. LINK.
Rosa Laevigato. Cherokee Rose. Edith Johnston. Watercolor on paper, undated circa 1965. Paper size 13 3/4 x 10 3/4″ (349 x 275 mm). Titled in pencil at lower paper edge. Signed in image. LINK
Floral Vine [Untitled]. Edith Johnston. Watercolor, c.1955. Paper size 18 3/4 x 13 1/8″ (47.5 x 33.3 cm). Signed in watercolor. LINK.