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24 December 2017

Bohemian Display: The Famous Glass Flowers

I'm a sucker for a bouquet of flowers. In my opinion, self-care involves self-bouquet-ing. Real flowers. Then along came Rudolf. Since it is December, you may assume I speak of a certain red-nosed reindeer. I, however, refer to Rudolf Blaschka, though, who is son of Leopold and Caroline, immigrants of Český Dub, Bohemia. Yes, a family of Bohemians.

As you can surmise they've got all the makings of Bohemianism.

This family didn't tinker in glass. They're blood ran with glass. This family loved glass with a lineage tracing back to Venice. All of their skill could have been lost--after all, glass isn't the most durable of materials. It was Professor George Lincoln Goodale who commissioned the flowers to aid in teaching botany  ( And they were a gift to Harvard by Mrs. Elizabeth C. Ware and her daughter Mary Lee Ware, as a memorial to Dr. Charles Eliot Ware, Class of 1834).

And thus, The Ware Flower cult was born. If you're not part of this cult, it'll only take a few glances at these beauts to become one.

I recently went to the “Ware Collection of Glass Models” exhibit in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Harvard Museum of Natural History where the gorgeous flowers are laid behind glass cabinets.

A few fascinating facts:

You’ll be blown away. Literally. You’ll think, “This can’t be glass.”

Colored glass was used for many of the replicas, but the Blaschkas also enameled with a thin wash of colored ground glass.

This is old-new news. While the Glass Flowers gallery first opened at Harvard in April 1893, it was closed to the public till November 2015, with an official opening date in May 2016.

Many of these pieces were crafted during the pivotal period of 1886 to 1936 when Germany was either prepping for war or within it.

Part of Glass Flowers is the latest exhibit “Rotten Apples: Botanical Models of Diversity and Disease.” These glass replicas illustrate apples (and other specimen) in different stages of decay.

Before conquering flowers, Leopold’s made a living making eyes for stuffed animals.

Approximately 200,000 visitors come yearly for this. That’s why we recommend the winter.

With nothing blooming around me now, it was a serious flower treat.