Vintage landscape: portraits

McCall flower portrait 13, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“Early Double Tulip: Van de Hoeff,” Alberta, Canada, ca. 1930, hand-colored glass lantern slide by William Copeland McCalla, via Provincial Archives of Alberta Commons on flickr (all images here).

McCall flower portrait 17, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of AlbertaFritillaria Pudica Spreng – Yellow or Mission Bell.”

The photographer, William McCalla, was interested in botany and photography from an early age. He studied at Cornell University in the early 1890s and later worked in western Canada as a farmer, librarian, and Natural History teacher.  While teaching from 1925 to 1938, he made over 1,000 lantern slides of plants and animals as visual aids.

The slides were donated to the Archives by his son and granddaughter in 1982 and 2007.

McCall flower portrait 2, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“Cross-section of poppy capsule.”

McCall flower portrait 9, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“How Violets scatter their seeds: capsule open: [capsule] empty.”

McCall flower portrait 16, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“Trillium sessile: Californicum wats.”

McCall flower portrait 12, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“Gladiolus Star of Bethlehem.”

McCall flower portrait 14, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“Mountain Ash.”

McCall flower portrait 15, ca. 1930, Provincial Archives of Alberta“Phlox Drummondii.”

You can see more of McCalla’s beautiful flower portraits here.

Jardin de l’Infante, Paris

My favorite flower display in Paris last week was at the entrance to the Cour Carrée of the Louvre, near the Pont des Arts.


But I’m a pushover for massed dahlias — these were yellow, white, orange, and dark red, mixed with some burgundy amaranth and caster bean plants in the back.

Jardin de l'infante, Louvre, Paris, Sept 2015, by enclos*ure

Jardin de l'Infante, The Louvre, Paris, September 2015, by enclos*ure

Unfortunately, a tall iron fence blocked them off from close inspection.


 I didn’t have a zoom lens, so I did the best I could to get some useable photos by pushing the camera through the bars and holding it out.

Jardin de l'infante,detail 2, Louvre, Paris, Sept 2015, by enclos*ure

The space is named “Garden of the Princess” for Mariana Victoria of Spain.  The three-year-old Infante was brought to live in the Louvre in 1721 when she was engaged to the preteen King Louis XV.

Jardin de l'infante,detail, Louvre, Paris, Sept 2015, by enclos*ure

Although she was deemed the “sweetest and prettiest little thing,” four years later, Louis broke off the match in order to marry an older Polish princess.

Jardin de l'infante,detail 3, Louvre, Paris, Sept 2015, by enclos*ure

Mariana was sent back to Spain and later married King Joseph I of Portugal.

Life in gardens: dahlias

Woman with dahlia, Library of Congress“Woman with dahlias,” ca. 1930, by Doris Ulmann, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In this beautiful portrait of an older Appalachian women, you can just see her stand of dahlias behind her.

In the traditional language of flowers, the dahlia is usually said to represent dignity, sometimes elegance.

A well-to-do New Yorker, Doris Ulmann trained as an art photographer with Clarence H. White in the 1910s. In the 1920s, she began traveling to the southeast to photograph rural people, particularly in the hills of Kentucky and the Sea Islands of South Carolina — people “for whom life had not been a dance.” She also documented Appalachian folk arts and crafts, working with musician and folklorist John Jacob Niles.