Margaret Neilson Armstrong

Margaret Neilson Armstrong was an illustrator working around WW1. She was best known for designing book covers, and designed over 200 in the Art Nouveau style. She was considered to be one of the most accomplished and prolific book cover and binding designers in her time. She used a lot of plant and flower reference in her work and was an accomplished botanical illustrator as well. It is these beautiful watercolors I found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I FINALLY got to visit recently! Some were in the How the Met was Made exhibit and some were in that little long hallway room to the left after you walk up the Grand Staircase where they have paper things–prints and drawings.

I am enchanted by them, the delicacy of line, the color, and even the sense of light, especially in this one of White Valerian. I am not sure I have seen many botanical illustrations where the blossoms seem luminous.Finally, I love the little pencil lined rectangle in the background. Almost my favorite part. I think it is how she denoted what part of the drawing was to be captured and placed in a book of botanical drawings, but there is an artfulness about it that I love.

Of course seeing botanical illustrations like these always makes me want to BE a botanical illustrator, but I am not sure I have the persistence or patience.

Here’s the certificate course in botanical illustration that I moon over, for your delectation. Maybe someday I will do it!

And, if you are still not willing to go to a museum, or the ones in your town are not yet open, you can make your own museum exhibit with my MUSEUM VISIT: A Color, Punch Out and Play Set:

To buy a copy of Museum Visit, go to: Amazonasaurus:

or Pomegranate Publishing:

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