Jason Clarke Antiques

Early Twentieth Century Plaster Botanical Model of a Sunflower


For sale an early twentieth century painted plaster botanical model of a sunflower.

This exquisite model looks more like a rare and unusual tropical species than a sunflower on initial viewing until you realise that its intention is to reflect an individual floret, (flos tubulata) within the central flower head of the plant and an example of the surrounding leaf (flos lingulata) beside it. Both are displayed in their original custom black painted metal frame with paper identification labels and reference to the scale in which both are reproduced.

Both pieces are superbly detailed in their reproduction of nature and although primarily of plaster, also incorporate wires and thin metal rods to articulate the anthers and the stigmas at the top of the floret. The stigma are also detailed with a material to imitate the presence of pollen representing the reproductive process of the plant.

The model is sadly unsigned but probably originates from Germany or Italy, the countries that specialised in this type of scientific teaching apparatus. Given its quality, the obvious possibility is that it emanated from the workshops of the famous Robert Brendel and his successors although the unusual base is somewhat dissimilar to his earlier works.

A great example, completely unobvious and hugely interesting representation of this common flower.

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