The theme for Sepia Saturday this week is photos found in old books. Well, I can't quite match that theme but I do have an object found in an old book.
My father-in-law has a book with the front and back covers made of wood with the title Jerusalem inscribed on the front. The frontis page provides the details - it is a book of flowers of the Holy Land - and there is a handwritten note that the covers are made of olive wood.
The surprising thing is that the flowers are real. They are pressed plants that still, 100 years later, retain their colour. There are about fourteen pages in all.
|Flowers from Bethlehem|
|Flowers from Mount Zion|
There are two cards inside the book. The first one tells us the provenance of the book. It was brought from Jerusalem by William Pook and presented to Mr John Gordon M.L.A. (Member of the Legislative Assembly) in August 1914. John Gordon (1858-1937) was a storekeeper and grazier at Nagambie and Euroa in north-eastern Victoria. He was a local councillor for twenty years (1896-1926) also a member of Victoria's Legislative Assembly from 1911-1927, including a term as Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply.
John Gordon was a brother of my husband's direct ancestor, Christina Gordon, who married Daniel McKernan. In 1941 another note was added to the card. It's signed 'CG'. This is Catherine (Kate) Gordon. She was a sister of Christina and John. She never married, and lived with her brother John who also never married. She supported him in his very busy public life. A year before she died Kate gave the flower book to her sister Christina's son-in-law, William Phelan, with the added stipulation that it be then given to William's daughter, Ina Phelan and then her brother Gibson Phelan.
I'm not sure that Ina and Gibson ever received the book because it is now in the care of Neil who is the son of William Phelan's other son, Roy. Ina never married and Gibson married but never had children.
|Card inside the book of pressed flowers.|
|Invitation card, found inside the book of pressed flowers.|
On Trove I searched the newspaper articles of the day and found quite a few. The Argus, Melbourne's main paper, wrote about the royal visit in great detail (the poor royals must have been exhausted but they still found the energy to dance at the ball that night) but the Sydney Morning Herald provided me with a summary that I could fit comfortably in this blog.
|Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Apr 1927|
A fascinating book and story.ReplyDelete
What an impressive collection of goodies in this book!ReplyDelete
What an unusual book with covers of wood & pages of real pressed flowers instead of paintings. And the things found inside the book are certainly an interesting lot. A bit of a mystery how the book ended up where it did, I suppose. But sometimes things simply can't work out the way one wishes for some reason. At least it's still in the family.ReplyDelete
Yes, and these days Australian Customs probably wouldn't allow it to be brought into the country, or it would be put into quarantine and dosed with chemicals to get rid of possible plant diseases.Delete
I should say that at this stage I have no idea who William Pook was. He wasn't a relative so maybe a friend or constituent.ReplyDelete
Such a wonderful treasure, as a botanist I appreciate its uniqueness. It's history is also interesting.ReplyDelete
I agree about the botany. There may be some indigenous plants in there that are now under threat. I probably should try to get them identified but the localities are so vague it's probably not worth the effort.Delete
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A beautiful and unique book. The wood on the cover does indeed look like olive wood. (I'm a woodturner and furniture maker as well as bloger)ReplyDelete
The flowers are so beautifully displayed, what a treasure to have inherited.ReplyDelete
What an amazing book, thank you for sharing this.ReplyDelete
The pressed flowers in this herbarium look like they have been put there yesterday. Absolutely beautiful! And speaking of Customs, I once inadvertently tried to get an apple through US Customs at JFK. I got the apple on board our aircraft. I was detained for half an hour by agricultural inspector...ReplyDelete
A beautiful book by any standards and so different, with its covers of olive wood. Those flowers looks so fresh too.ReplyDelete
I am amazed that the flowers have survived so long. A truly wonderful book to have,ReplyDelete
What A Beautiful,Perfect & Priceless Possession.ReplyDelete