The Huntington’s exhibit showcasing 110 rare illustrated herbals and rose books, including a first edition of Redoute’s Les Roses, opened on February 9. I got a first glimpse of the show at a preview on February 8 along with a very enthusiastic crowd enjoying the work amid the perfume of baskets of dried rose petals (yes, you are encouraged to pick up and smell the roses). The botanical books on display trace the history of roses and are also marvelous “textbooks” on composition and technique for painters of flowers. In addition to the preview of the show, I enjoyed finding a wonderful book in the exhibit gift shop. It’s a new Taschen edition of The Roses and includes all of Redoute’s rose plates and a great chapter on his engraving techniques. Stock was running low when I was there, but the store manager said they should have more by the end of this month.
The exhibition is part of the 100th anniversary of the Rose Garden at the Huntington. Many rose garden events are planned during the year including a botanical watercolor class with Lisa Pompelli focusing on roses. Her class starts March 29 (and runs four Saturdays) when the rose garden should be in great bloom. Hint: If you want to attend make a reservation now, her classes fill up quickly.
“La Rose Imperiale” will be open through April 28. Don’t forget that the Huntington is now open on Mondays and closed on Tuesdays. Weekday hours are noon to 4:30; weekend hours are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.