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The Complete Flower Paintings and Drawings of Graham Stuart Thomas.

Widely known as a garden writer, Graham Stuart Thomas is less renowned as an artist. The Complete Flower Paintings and Drawings of Graham Stuart Thomas (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1987; $45) shows him to be equally gifted in both fields. This book, both beautiful and instructive, appeals to the serious gardener and book collector alike.

Thomas's credentials are impeccable: for 30 years gardens adviser to the National Trust in England, he was responsible for the restoration of many of Britain's great gardens. He has written 15 books and contributed to many others as writer, illustrator, or photographer.

This large-format (10- by 12-inch) work contains 175 illustrations; 58 are in watercolor, the rest in pen and pencil. Most are accompanied by essays in Thomas's easy yet scholarly style.

Here's how he describes Gladwin iris: it "has an unpleasant scent which 'Stinking Gladdon' emphasizes. But it only releases its odor of raw beef if you bruise its leaves. Gladdon and Gladwin are, according to Geoffrey Grigson's The Englishman's Flora, derived from the Old English 'Glaedene', going back to the name gladiolus meaning 'little sword' and calling attention to the shape of the leaves . . . The flowers at first sight are of a dirty-greyish mauve, but on inspection they are beautifully tinted in a sad way, and exquisitely veined."

Additional sections include the author's essay on flower illustration, a summary of his writings and garden restorations, and-in case you thought this just was another British garden book--a plant hardiness map for North America.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 1988
Words:250
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