Sunday, September 5, 2010

Henry Correvon

An exciting find in a Portland, Maine bookstore.

Last weekend we drove down from Montreal to Portland, Maine. We discovered Portland last year, almost by accident ( there was a train derailment and we were forced to take a detour of our planned route to New Brunswick); it was such a pleasant revelation that we decided to return this year and spend a little more time exploring this lovely little town. Portland is a university town and has a large art school, so very quickly and easily you can skip the tourist district and enjoy the more authentic cultural life of galleries, coffee shops and great restaurants. There are many good bookshops and not once did I see a Borders or similar chain.
After lunch on Sunday, just before we were about to leave I looked into a second-hand bookstore and found a fine copy of a book by Henry Correvon the famous Swiss horticulturalist. "Rock Garden and Alpine Plants' was published in 1930 and has the most beautiful coloured illustrations, this publication was translated into english and was obviously for the North American reader as it makes many references to his visits to the U.S. and Canada.

One of the eight illustrations.

The book has eight beautiful colour illustrations by an unidentified artist, they are definitely in the Art Nouveau style ( which in the 1930's must have been going out of vogue). This illustration is if sempervivums which is significant as Henry Correvon had also written "Les Joubarbes, etude du genre Sempervivum".

Sempervivum 'Aymon Correvon'

There are a number of plants baring the name Correvon, perhaps the most well known would be the Clematis viticella 'Madame Julia Correvon', but there is also a Sempervivum called 'Aymon Correvon'.

Henry Correvon

This picture of Henry Correvon is on the frontispiece of "Rock garden and Alpine Plants.


Edith Hope said...

Dear Barry, This is all very interesting and quite new to me. The photograph of HC gives him something of the appearance of William Robinson, don't you think? I was completely unaware, until this moment, of the derivation of Clematis 'Madame Julia Correvon'. Fascinating.

Barry Parker said...

Dear Edith,
In fact he mentions William Robinson in the book and also seemed to know many leading british gardeners of his day. He was quite definitely an anglophile. I notice that the creator of 'Madame Julia Correvon' was actually Morel*, and suspect that HC and family were well known to plantsmen throughout Europe and N. America.

*Morel was a French plantsman who also raised "Ville de Lyon', 'Etoile Violette' and 'Perle d'Azur', all great cultivars that are still popular.

threedogsinagarden said...

The colors and style of the illustrations look lovely. Too bad there are only eight of them! I recently read an article in Canadian Gardening about old garden books, which made me curious about these old treasures. Now, you have me convinced this is something worth exploring further at the next antique sale my husband takes me to.

Barry Parker said...

Hi Jennifer,
For me they are the most exciting finds, and usually at very reasonable prices. this book was only $8 US.
Good luck at the next antique sale.

Is the Wiz said...

Dear Barry,
Sounds like my kind of trip. M. Correvon seems a man who could stride up mountains all day, sustained only by a hunk of bread and cheese, and an occasional draught from a rushing torrent. The illustrations are terrific, with a great sense of style and composition.

Barry Parker said...

Hi Isobel,
He does look that sort of character doesn't he? I now have to find out his relationship with Madame Julia and Aymon. I think there is a kind of 9 degrees of separation thing going on between M. Morel, William Robinson and even Ernest Markham. Might be the subject of my next post.

Elke said...

I'll be right over to look at this book. Leave the garden gate open.

gardenbre said...

I now envisage the book opened to an illustration in a locked display case of a museum with a little tag saying
$8 US ... heheh

Sempervivum said...

Hi Barry,
I could not resist not to put a link to your site on international Sempervivum forum!

Thank you for sharing with us!

Best wishes, Renata from Ljubljana, Slovenia
owner of 2.000 semps ... :)

Barry Parker said...

Hi Renata,

I'm so glad you found my post relating to Sempervivums. I was thrilled to find the Henry Correvon book and now to hear that it has reached such a wide audience is doubly pleasing.

Núcleo Museológico Seomara da Costa Primo said...

Something more abouth: • Henry Correvon (1937) Champs et Bois Fleuris. Neuchatel e Paris: Ed. Delachaux & Niestlé SA.
Colecção de bolso,Les Beautés de la Nature Com 121 plantas reproduzidas a cores, pela Menina S, Rivier e 19 desenhos de Paul A. Robert.
• Henry Correvon (1938) Fleurs des eaux et des Marais. Neuchatel e Paris: Ed. Delachaux & Niestlé SA.
Colecção de bolso,Les Beautés de la Nature. Com 32 pranchas a cores e 72 desenhos de Paul A. Robert..