New acquisition: Flowers and Views

A recent donation to Special Collections may be of interest to students of History of Art – and Botany.

Binding of Flowers and Views in the Holy Land

Binding of Flowers and Views in the Holy Land

It is a souvenir volume of Flowers and views of the Holy Land, Jerusalem, consisting of 12 chromolithographs depicting various places in The Holy Land, with pressed flowers from the same area mounted on to each facing plate.

It is in an attractive binding of olive wood with bevelled edges, and the title on the front cover is surrounded by a geometric border inlaid into the wood.

Pressed flowers from Mount Carmel

Pressed flowers from Mount Carmel

The book was probably produced at the beginning of the 20th century, although its exact date of publication is unknown. Several different versions of the title survive in other libraries – sometimes with different plates – produced by various publishers. A very similar book was even made during the First World War for the British troops in Jerusalem as a “souvenir” of their occupation.

The book came to the University of Glasgow via the Scottish Jewish Archive. From an unknown donor, it was offered to Special Collections as being the more appropriate home for it. A good example of a “gift” book – a type of illustrated book (usually ornately bound) that became popular in the late 19th century – we hope that it will be of interest to a variety of researchers. If you would like to see it, it is now available for consultation in the Special Collections reading room and has the call number Sp Coll 3018.



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10 replies

  1. Thanks for a great article. I’m been contemplating buying this book for a long time… I think it’s time to buy!

  2. I also have a book very like the one now in Glasgow University – the photo shown is exactly like mine, but there are certain differences. I have just sent an email to Carol Wamberal of barnaclegoose@bigpool.com, as follows: I am a British pensioner living in Spain. A few years ago, I bought here, for about £25, a book similar to those you have described, though it is not quite the same. I thought you might be interested to hear about it.

    Like yours, it is bound in polished olive-wood, and also has an oblong wooden frame inset into the front outer cover, within which is printed the word “Jerusalem” in English and Hebrew. The book´s title, which was printed on the leather spine in English and Hebrew but is hardly visible now, is “View and Flower Album from the Holy Land”, and this is printed on the first page in English, German, Russian and French, with the additional remarks (in German and English only): (sic) “True and artificial pictures of the ruins of all holy places, views from old and new Jerusalem, the cities of Judea and Galilea and all jewish colonies in whole Palestine, BESIDES SPECIMEN OF FLOWERS FROM EVERY PLACE”. In fact, the English is not perfect, as you can see, so that the original text was probably the German one, or perhaps really Yiddish but written in Latin characters instead of Yiddish Hebrew ones. The last page gives the book´s title and contents in Hebrew, though without the additional remarks. The book was printed by J P Wigalik, Jerusalem. I cannot see any author´s name.

    There follow 16 pages with pressed flowers stuck onto them, and opposite each, a set of small photographs or paintings showing notable places. In order, these are: Mount Zion, Jerusalem (a single general view of the city), Mount Moria, Tomb of Rachel, Mount of Olives, Caiffa (i.e. Haifa) and Mount Carmel, Saffed and Tiberias, Jaffa and environs , (Jewish) Colonies in Judea, Mount Hermon and colonies, Valley of Josaphat, somewhere called “lower pool” and colonies,”upper pool” and colonies, Mountains of Benjamin and colonies (followed by a 2-page spread), Valley of Elah and Jerusalem colonies, and Valley of the Jordan.

    My book has more pages than the others I have seen described, which all seem to have only 12 pages with flowers. It also seems to have been produced specifically to appeal to potential Jewish immigrants from the countries whose languages are used. This explains the emphasis on “colonies” in various places.

    The book’s personal history is also interesting. I bought it from an Englishman who for a while had an antiques shop in our little town. He said he did not know where it had come from, but I would guess that it had been the property of some British resident who had died or moved away. Inside the front cover there are written the name and address of a Mrs J R Parry, in Northeast London, and on the facing page “Just a little Souvenir Jack December 1917″. I would guess that “Jack” was a soldier in General Allenby´s Army, which conquered Palestine in 1917.

    I´d be very glad of your reaction,

    Bill Campbell

  3. I have a booklet that was given to my mother by my father during the 2nd world war it is a booklet of pressed flowers and photos/drawings of Jerusalem. The title inside cover states British Accupation (not occupation) 1917. Can anyone give me some information regarding this booklet.

    • Hello Helen
      This sound similar to our book, but we do not have a copy with the misprint “British Accupation” in the title. However, I have just had a look on Worldcat and do find this edition recorded – it is described as having 26 pages and published in Jerusalem in 1917 by Isac Chagise. If this is the same as yours, at least 6 libraries own a copy, including the University of Oxford and the National Library of Israel.

  4. Hello,
    I just bought at an auction this weekend a book of pressed Western Australian wildflowers. On my google search for these books (I am trying to date the collection by dating the production of the book) I found that on the Australian War Memorial website you will find a few of these books from the Holy Land very similar to yours. They were brought back to Australia by soldiers who fought over there in WWI.
    My book the flowers were pressed in is specifically made for the purpose. I think it would have been made in England. It is about A4 size and has a black leather cover with the words “Treasures of Land and Sea” in gold. Under that it has an oval logo with the words “Pulchrior” “Registered Trade Mark”.
    I hope you might be able to help me to track it down.
    Thanks,
    Annie (in Sydney)

    • Hi Annie
      Thanks for the information about the Australian War Memorial website. For any of our readers who might like to compare another copy of this book, the relevant page is at http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/REL34211. It’s very interesting to read about the original owner of this copy, Private Hubert Arthur Lawler, who fought at Gallipoli and brought the book back to Australia as a souvenir.
      Tracing the origins of your album for pressed flowers is more difficult. I suspect that a lot of books like this would have been produced commercially (just like photo albums). We don’t have anything similar that I can find for camparison on our manuscripts catalogue. Perhaps someone else can help with this?

  5. I was wondering what is the market value of thsi item. I have teh edition entitled “Flowers and Views of the Holy land”, Souvenir of the British Occupation
    December 9, 1917 Jerusalem

    • I’m sorry, but we don’t give valuations on books as a matter of policy (it’s not our business!). However, if you want a professional opinion on the value of your book, go to a reputable antiquarian book dealer who should be able to advise – if you are based in the UK, the PBFA (Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association) is a good place to start to find one: http://www.pbfa.org/

  6. Thanks for your comments Carol. It is fascinating in how many variations these books were produced. I am providing the link back to your blog entry so that our readers can compare the two copies:

    http://www.barnaclegoose.com/2009/12/happy-new-year.html

  7. I’ve just blogged about my copy of this book and I made a link to your page. I hope that’s okay. Your copy appears to be in better condition than mine and I don’t have the Mt Carmel pages but I have a couple not in your volume. I rather like the idea that they had a wider selection of plates and plants and that the 12 that went into each volume was probably a bit of a lucky dip. It made for an interesting “edition”.

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