The instructional posters in this collection belong to a series titled Botanische Wandtafeln (1874-1911). Consisting of 120 lithographs and an accompanying textbook, this set was one of many produced in Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Large format wall charts provided an effective method of visually transmitting information in German school and university classrooms, which by the 1870s were becoming increasingly crowded, following educational reforms in the mid nineteenth century that greatly increased student numbers.
In addition to the series’ primary author Leopold Kny (a professor of plant physiology at the Agricultural College in Berlin), two printmakers and more than ten artists were involved in creating the colour and black-and-white prints. The charts depict the anatomy, morphology and systematics of plant life in great detail, and proved enormously popular not only in Germany, but across Europe.
The Library’s holdings from this series are incomplete, and are supplemented here by several from the collection of Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell (School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney).
This collection was housed in the School of Biological Sciences until 2014, and passed to the Library for curation of both posters and their digital copies, so allowing the collection to be shared more broadly.