Collection ID: MSS 65

Collection context

Summary

Date:
1790-1800
Abstract:
The collection comprises 139 hand-cut paper collages on paper prepared with watercolor, created by Booth Grey (1740-1802) or those in his circle of acquaintances, in the manner of the well-known "paper mosaics" made by Mrs. Delany.
Extent:
40 Linear Feet
Language:
English

Background

Acquisition information:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The collection comprises 139 hand-cut paper collages on paper prepared with watercolor, created by Booth Grey (1740-1802) or those in his circle of acquaintances, in the manner of the well-known "paper mosaics" made by Mrs. Delany. Each collage is now mounted in a mat. Some were previously inserted in a leather album with title leaf: "98 plants done by the Honble. Booth Grey" (see box 15, item 138).

"The Booth Grey corpus currently includes 136 collages, which very closely resemble Mary Delany's paper mosaics. They are made from pieces of cut paper, are attached to paper that was painted black, and are individually labeled with the name of the plant depicted. Identification and dating of watermarks and wallpaper stamps on some of the papers in the collages and original Booth Grey album indicate that the initial set of Booth Grey collages was assembled in the 1790s. John Edmundson's essay, which works from the dates of publications that name plants later appearing in the Booth Grey album, confirms this paper evidence."--Reeder, Kohleen. "The 'paper mosaick' practice of Mrs. Delany & her circle." In Mrs. Delany & her circle, edited by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2009.

"It is apparent through visual examination that several hands were involved in the creation of these collages--the use of different styles and techniques can be observed, and the level of skill with which the collages were executed varies."--Reeder, Kohleen. "The 'paper mosaick' practice of Mrs. Delany & her circle." In Mrs. Delany & her circle, edited by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2009.

Biographical / Historical:

"Little is known about Booth Grey that pertains to his collection of botanical paper collages. An inscription on the original pastedown of the album that once held these collages -- '98 Plants done by the Honble. Booth Grey' -- is the only clue we have to who made them ... Grey was the younger son of the Countess of Stamford, and his older brother was married to the Duchess of Portland's daughter Henrietta. In all likelihood, then, he would have been a visitor at Bulstrode and it is believed that he was part of Mrs. Delany's circle of acquaintances. He is almost certainly the same 'Mr. B Grey' that gave Mrs. Delany plant specimens for at least four of her paper mosaics, all of which were made at her home at St. James's Place between 1777 and 1779. Booth Grey was a member of parliament, representing Leicester from 1768 to 1784. He was educated at Cambridge, lived at Budworth Magna ... and he married Elizabeth Manwaring in 1782. Like other men of his social class, he seems to have been interested in horticulture and the arts ..."--Reeder, Kohleen. "The 'paper mosaick' practice of Mrs. Delany & her circle." In Mrs. Delany & her circle, edited by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2009.

Notes:

The collages are described in: Mrs. Delany & her circle / edited by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts. New Haven : Yale Center for British Art ; London : Sir John Soane's Museum in association with Yale University Press, 2009. See especially: "The 'paper mosaick' practice of Mrs. Delany & her circle," by Kohleen Reeder.

Selected exhibitions: "Mrs. Delany and her Circle" (Yale Center for British Art, September 24, 2009 - January 3, 2010); "Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists' Books and the Natural World" (Yale Center for British Art, May 15, 2014 - August 10, 2014).

Access

LOCATION OF THIS COLLECTION:
1080 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06510-2302, USA
CONTACT:
ycba.info@yale.edu