Identifying Ferdinand Bauer's Materials and Methods

Research output: Other contribution


In Richard and Samuel Redgrave’s 1866 publication, A Century of British Painting, the authors declared that ‘perfect knowledge and perfect mastery’ in the medium of watercolour had finally been achieved in the paintings of J.W.M. Turner. The popularity of Turner’s watercolours in the nineteenth century, and his virtuosity with the technique certainly changed the status of watercolour painting, which was at the time still considered inferior to oil painting. However it also cast a shadow over both later artists and over the appreciation of earlier artists who worked in the medium. And while mastery of technique in watercolour was demonstrated extensively in Turner and in the paintings of the English eighteenth and nineteenth century landscape school, it is certain that in the paintings of the much lesser known natural history painters, mastery and knowledge of the medium was present in abundance.
This report describes research on Oxford University's collection of Ferdinand Bauer’s watercolour paintings for the Flora Graeca (1806-40) is one of the great treasures of the University, and the subject of the project; 'Painting by Numbers: Decoding Ferdinand Bauer’s Flora Graeca Colour Code'. The multi-disciplinary project, which builds on the extensive body of research on Bauer carried out by H. Walter Lack, David J. Mabberley and Stephen Harris at Oxford, aims to identify the painting materials Bauer used to create his magnificent watercolours for the Flora Graeca, unravel the complex methods he used, and recreate (as much as possible) his lost colour chart
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputonline
Number of pages3
Place of PublicationOxford
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameOxford Plant Systematics
PublisherOxford University

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