- Museum number
Physalis, formerly in an album (Vol.VII, 71a); Winter Cherry (Berry). 1772-1782
Collage of coloured papers, with bodycolour and watercolour, and with plant fibre samples, on black ink background
- Production date
Height: 292 millimetres
Width: 179 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- See bibliographic references in curator's comment for 1897-5-5-1. Composition made at Bulstrode Park in November.
Exhibition label 1992:
'Winter cherry, or chinese lantern as it is also known, is indigenous to southern Europe and eastern Asia. It was introduced to this country during the mid-sixteenth century'.
The following entry appeared on the Explore section of the BM website until September 2015:
One of nearly 1000 'cut flowers' in The British Museum
In the autumn of 1772 Mary Delany (1700-88) wrote to her niece Mary Port: 'I have invented a new way of imitating flowers'. With her eye for botanical detail she would cut minute pieces of coloured paper and stick them on a black background to represent each part of a specimen. Occasionally she touched up the pictures with watercolour. Here she has incorporated the real skeleton of a pod case to stick over the paper seeds. The glue that she used was possibly egg-white, or flour and water.
The Winter Cherry, or Chinese Lantern as it is commonly known, is indigenous to southern Europe and eastern Asia. It was introduced to this country during the mid-sixteenth century. Many friends sent Mrs Delany flowers from their gardens for her to copy and she recorded their botanical and common names, the place they were found and the date on each of her 'paper mosaicks'. Most of her collages were made at Bulstrode, the home of her dearest friend, Margaret Bentinck, Duchess of Portland, with whom she spent seventeen summers after Dr Delany's death in 1768. She created nearly a thousand collages before failing eyesight caused her to stop in 1782. They filled ten albums, which came to the British Museum in 1897.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1986 Sept. - Nov., NY, Pierpont Morgan Library, Mrs Delany's Flower Collages, no.35
1992 Sept.-Dec. BM, Flower Collages of Mary Delany
1994 May-July, Cardiff, Nat Mus of Wales, 'Mary Delany' (no cat.)
1995 Nov-Dec, Dublin, NG of Ireland, Mary Delany (no cat.)
2000 May-Sep, BM P&D, 'A Noble Art', no.40(d)
2004 July-Oct, BM Enlightenment Gallery
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number