Obelisk Art History
The Artists

Orra White Hitchcock
Of Love and Mushrooms

Orra White Hitchcock, The Artists
Portrait of Orra White Hitchcock

The summer of 1816 was a sweet season for the 20 year old science teacher Orra White. Together with her partner Edward Hitchcock, the melancholy young principle of the Deerfield Academy where they both taught, Orra ventured out into the fields and woods outside Amherst Massachusetts to draw and paint. But while the Hudson River School artists depicted the vast sweep of sublime landscape, Orra was both artist and scientist, methodically collecting samples and capturing the small details that distinguished the Cypripedium pubescens from the Cypripedium humile. Her final volume of 175 ink and watercolor images she called “Herbarium parvum, pictum” was widely shared among leading botanists of the day—a collection both beautiful and useful.

Reed Enger, "Orra White Hitchcock, Of Love and Mushrooms," in Obelisk Art History, Published March 20, 2020; last modified March 20, 2020, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/orra-white-hitchcock/.

Orra White Hitchcock was a U.S. Female Artist born on March 8, 1796. White Hitchcock contributed to the Enlightenment movement and died on May 26, 1863.

Contortions in Mica Slate, Whately, Massachusetts, Orra White Hitchcock

Contortions in Mica Slate, Whately, Massachusetts

c. 1828-1840
Drawing of Strata, Christiania (Oslo), Norway, Orra White Hitchcock

Drawing of Strata, Christiania (Oslo), Norway

c. 1828-1840
Nautilus Shell, Orra White Hitchcock

Nautilus Shell

c. 1828-1840
Plesiosaurus Skeleton, Orra White Hitchcock

Plesiosaurus Skeleton

c. 1828-1840
Slate, Devon, England, Orra White Hitchcock

Slate, Devon, England

c. 1828-1840

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