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Lot 1003
Rare Collection of Four R. Brendel Mixed Media Floral Botanic Models, ca. 1900, Berlin, comprising a monkshood, No. 58, overall, h. 19-1/4", an evening primrose, No. 99, overall, h. 18-1/2", a common mallow, No. 92, overall, h. 19", and a military orchid, No. 81a., overall, h. 9", mounted on turned ebonized wood and rattan stands, each with the original paper label including the Latin classification. The firm of R. Brendel was founded in Breslau, Poland in 1866 by Carl Robert Brendel (ca. 1821-1898), a native of Reichenbach, Silesia (now Dzierzoniow, Poland). The company produced botanical models of medicinal plants with the assistance of pharmacist Dr. Carl Leopold Lohmeyer (1799-1873) in a wide variety of mixed media: wood, plaster, papier-mache, gelatin, lacquer, etc. The models, distinguished by their large scale, precise detail (often at a microscopic level), and their ability to be dismantled to see interior vegetal anatomy, soon became the industry standard in the golden age of botanical modeling. Brendel later produced agronomic specimens under the direction of Ferdinand Julius Cohn (1828-1898), director of the Breslau Agricultural Station), and by the end of the century the company's roster of consultants included the most important botanists of the day: Alexander Tschirch (1856-1939) of Bern, Emerich Rathay (1845-1900) of Klosterberg, and Leopold Kny (1841-1916) and Carl Mueller (1855-1907) of Berlin. After Brendel's death on January 22, 1898, the company was assumed by his son Adolf Reinhold Brendel (1862-1927) who moved the firm to Grunewald, a suburb of Berlin. R. Brendel was by then known throughout the world for its botanical models, winning awards at expositions in Cologne (1890), Chicago (1893), Paris (1900), Santiago (1902), St. Louis (1904) and Brussels (1910). The 1913 sales catalogue - distributed among a network of retailers throughout the world - included over 300 specimens ranging from simple models for high schools to complex assemblages for museums and universities. After the younger Brendel's death in 1927, the company suffered under the ravages of the interwar years, although some models continued to be produced after the war by the firm of PhyWe of Goettingen (identifiable by their "PhyWe" label and lack of the distinctive earlier Brendel turned and black-lacquered wood and rattan base). As the models were produced generally for institutions, they rarely turn up in salerooms and are avidly sought by museums and collectors alike. For a lengthy history of R. Brendel and their wares, see G. Fiorini, L. Maekaw, et al. "Save the Plants: Conservation of Brendel Anatomical Botany Models" in The Book and Paper Annual #27 (2008), pp. 35-45, which details the conservation project for the Brendel Collection at the University of Florence Department of Plant Biology and provides great insight into the models' construction. (A photocopy of the article accompanies this lot).


All exhibit scattered inpainting and small restorations but are overall intact. The turned ebonized stands are of wood, the stems and orchid support are rattan. MONKSHOOD: With a detachable "hood". Loss to one of three pistil elements, the stamen all intact. Old restoration where the petals and small lower leaves join the stem Label darkened but intact. Unsigned. PRIMROSE: Pistil elements intact. All but one stamen lacking the anther. The sepals cracked (but in place) along with old restorations to the upper stem where the petals and stamen join it. Old restoration where the small lower leaves join the cut-away section with a tiny metal hook above the section. The label darkened with scattered losses but traces of "R. Brendel" still visible. Evidence of an additional rectangular label on the upper base perimeter. Small loss to the turned edge of the upright stand. ORCHID: Restoration (with a faint hairline) where the rear sepals and petals unfold from the stalk. Scattered small surface losses to the interior organs with one pollinium lacking (retains a fair number of the original tiny glass beads here). The label darkened with scattered losses but "R. Brendel" visible. Evidence of an additional rectangular label on the upper base perimeter. MALLOW: The flower with losses to the top "hairs" along with general losses to the anthers. Old restorations to the petals and sepals where they join the stem. The cross-section with no anthers and a parallel vertical 1/8" break at the top edge and slight cracking around the "ruffle". A metal ring extends upward from the bulb. The label darkened with losses within the lower half but "Brendel" still visible. The base with a restoration extending to the label's edge along with evidence of an additional rectangular label on the upper base perimeter. All of the above consistent with age and does not detract from these rare and fascinating examples.

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Four R. Brendel Mixed Media Floral Botanic Models

Estimate $400 - $700Jan 25, 2015