Black and White Chrysanthemums

In 1890, a lot of things people needed could only be purchased from mail order catalogs. This vintage drawing of black and white chrysanthemums is from one of them – Cox’s seed catalog. One thing I’ve noticed when going through many of the old materials I use with Reusable Art is that things we think are new and modern may be a whole lot older than we think.

Painted daisies. Ever heard of them? They are bright, showy and dramatic. They’ve been marketed as something somewhat new. At least that’s what they say when trying to justify the price. But, I was quite surprised to find seeds for a “new single chrysanthemum” called “Painted Daisies.”

I didn’t recognize them when I first started working with this drawing of black and white chrysanthemums but now that I look at them again, they look very much like the lovely, colorful flowers in our flower boxes. While they are a tad pricy, they aren’t five times more expensive than regular chrysanthemums. The Cox Seed Company sold a packet of painted daisy seeds for 25 cents vs. 5 cents for the ones we typically enjoy each fall.

I like the drama of this black and white chrysanthemums drawing, the white flowers on the dark background. Though, I wonder if it would look even more dramatic with a solid background, instead of the stripes often seen with these early engravings. I would think a color-wash overlay would also make the flowers and leaves really stand out. But, I thought I would just mention a couple of my ideas and leave you to doing something much more amazing than what I could come up with. black and white chrysanthemums

This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.