How sketches of botanical plants by Isabella Crathorne have inspired an entire range called the Bloom Collection in the Harewood Shop.
A range of skincare products designed by Yorkshire-based maker Nathalie Bond is packaged in a gift box decorated with botanical sketches by Isabella Crathorne in 1787.
These delicate and detailed sketches come from a bound album of her work entitled Specimens of Botanical Plants held in Harewood’s libraries, containing 160 hand painted flower drawings. Complete with a full index, each entry is classified according to plant taxonomy and includes additional information, such as the location of the specimen and date of the find. Isabella did most of her collecting in North Yorkshire and occasionally Northumberland.
Botany emerged as a fashionable past-time in 18th century England, and was a science that women, in particular, had relatively easy access to: it was possible to collect plants, name them, draw and study them, all from the comfort of your own garden. Many women cultivated in-home herbariums and others, like Isabella, emerged as accomplished botanical illustrators.
Very little is known about Isabella, but her artistic skill was recognised in a portrait of her and her husband, Thomas Crathorne of Crathorne Hall in North Yorkshire, where she is depicted holding a pencil alongside an open sketchbook.
But how did Isabella’s album get to Harewood? Unfortunately the story here is not precise, however it is likely that there were familial links between Isabella and the Lascelles family. Isabella’s brothers, Henry and Edward Swinburne, as well as her nephew, Sir John Swinburne, were artists and patrons of contemporary art, commissioning individuals such as JMW Turner, Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman to paint their ancestral home. This is in much the same tradition as Edward ‘Beau’ Lascelles and the 1st Earl at Harewood, and as such the two families were moving in the same artistic circles. It is almost certain that they would have known each other and it is quite possible Isabella’s album came into the collection through their shared love of art, as well as botany.
There are many fascinating gardener pictures to celebrate National Gardening Week on the Harewood servants database