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Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Past Exhibitions

Orchids from the Hunt Institute Collection

8 November 1990 – 1 March 1991

This exhibition offered a sampling of 52 orchid watercolors and illustrations from the 19th and 20th centuries, all drawn from the Institute's collection and chosen for their intrinsic appeal. Nineteenth-century artists included Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840), Pancrace Bessa (1772–1846) and Isaac Sprague (1811–1895). Among the contemporary artists represented were Mary Grierson (1912–2012), Jeanne Holgate (also Mrs. D. K. Covington; 1920–), Margaret Stones (1920–), Marilena Pistoia (1933–2017) and Margaret Mee (1909–1988). The Orchidaceae are one of the largest families of flowering plants, with an estimated 725 genera and about 20,000 species. It includes both terrestrial and epiphytic species and is found on virtually all parts of the globe. Perhaps much of the fascination with this family lies in its intriguing adaptations for attracting insects to achieve cross-pollination. After its showing at the Hunt Institute, the exhibition traveled to botanical gardens and museums in North America.