It seems like a lifetime ago that I became involved in the Antique Natural History Prints world. My husband and I loved to wander through Antique Fairs, and spent many happy Sundays browsing and going to speciality book Auctions.
It was when we bought some Topographical views of London that were being sold cheaply because of the condition they were in, that my thoughts turned to hand coloring them in Watercolor. It just seemed to click from there on in, and I never looked back.
As I became more well known with clients from England they in turn recommended me to American clients, and over the years I have a loyal clientelle from Europe, the States and the Far East.
But it was when we decided to sell our own Antique Prints that we had bought over 25 years, that another business idea blossomed. And we found ETSY.
Etsy has enabled us to not only sell our Antique prints and engravings, but it made me want to involve myself in painting Original Watercolors, something I never had time to do beforehand, as the business always came first. Now, I can stop and find something interesting in the natural world, and I have found new enjoyment in painting – drawing and planning new projects has opened a new field of excitement for me.
This ‘about me’ page has given me a chance to tell you how passionately my husband and I feel about old Antique Natural History prints. When we handle a 17th century engraving, we are touching history. One of the bugbears of coloring old antique prints was the candlewax that had dripped onto the paper, and soaked in over the years. The Printers ink thumb mark left on the page. The comments left in the margins in Sepia Ink about a new insect they had discovered that day. All these things were done in haste, in a moment of time, but 300 years later they fill us with curiosity.
What was the man like who wrote in the margin? Or the Printer, was he working late to get this edition ready for sale, his wife annoyed at a dinner spoilt. The Gentleman enjoying a late night Supper with candles lit, showing a friend the latest book he had bought, the candle carelessly held dripped wax onto the page. All of these just small moments in time, but forever held in history. Real lives now long gone. The Printer an ordinary hard working man. The Naturalist quite often a Minister or Vicar, a middle-class man with time on his hands to pursue his delight in Natural History. And the Gentleman was almost certainly the wealthiest,… only the wealthy could afford such books, or have the education and time to read them.
I don’t think we will ever stop loving our old books…