Thomas Cole (1801–1848)
Pressed Flowers from Kenilworth Castle, 1841


Plant material on paper, 9 & 7/16 × 7 & 7/8 in.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Gift of Edith Cole Silberstein and the Greene County Historical Society, TCNHS.1986.3.g

Thomas Cole created these herbarium sheets by pressing plant matter he collected during his travels between two pieces of paper. These items functioned as scientific specimens, but also as poetic souvenirs of the places in which they were found. His titles suggest he was less interested in documenting scientific fact than in expressing the feelings he experienced there.

In a letter to his wife, Maria, on September 22, 1841, Thomas wrote about his visit to Kenilworth Castle : “The weather was delightful when I was at Kenilworth, the country rich and beautiful, and the ruins went beyond my expectations… the ivy-clad towers, roofless halls, whose floors are covered with green turf and flowers… over which, through the dismantled windows and ragged loopholes, the sun casts his wandering rays, inspired me with a melancholy pleasure…”

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Brooke KrancerPressed Flowers from Kenilworth Castle