Wall charts were first introduced in primary schools and would quickly find their way into high schools and universities. These wall charts became important teaching aids as populations increased and the numbers of students increased with it making circulating picture books, loose engravings and biological specimens impractical. According to Katrien Van der Schueren, author of The Art of Instruction, these educational wall charts originated in Germany around 1820. During the decade between 1990 and 1890 German printers alone published more than twenty thousand distinct charts that were sold and distributed around the world.
When charts on specific subjects weren't in production teachers, university professors and scientist would create their own hand-drawn charts or work with artists who specialized in scientific illustrations.
These wall-sized charts have become relics of artistic, scientific and educational progress due to their ephemeral qualities. The charts were not cataloged by the companies that created them or by the institutions that employed them in education. The attention to detail in the prints of these plants, seeds and flowers is outstanding.
As a gardener I'm particularly interested in the wall charts that illustrate the parts of plants, bulbs, flowers and seeds. They're beautiful and sometimes unsettling at this size. I can only imagine the kind of thoughts these wall-size prints elicited in small children of the time.
The plates in the book are beautiful and would make a great holiday gift, or turned to the right pages-a great Halloween decoration for your coffee table.
Given their origins in education, the prints in the book are ideal study tools for gardeners who are interested in seed saving and plant propagation because you get to these parts of plants and flowers up close and in great detail. The Art of Instruction is a unique coffee table book that features vintage educational charts of plants and animal anatomy from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These charts that were originally used in classrooms across Europe and today are coveted wall art. The Art of Instruction is compilation of Katrien’s her personal collection of educational wall charts.
I received a free PDF copy of The Art of Instruction for the purposes of this review. The book is published by Chronicle Book and you can purchase a hardcopy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.