Orra White Hitchcock

Portrait

Of Love and Mushrooms

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.

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Contortions in Mica Slate, Whately, Massachusetts

1828-1840

Drawing of Strata, Christiania (Oslo), Norway

1828-1840

Nautilus Shell

1828-1840

Plesiosaurus Skeleton

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Slate, Devon, England

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