CLARISSA W. BADGER
[Lydia Mary SIGOURNEY, William Cullen BRYANT, Mary HOWITT and others (contributors)]. Forget-Me-Not, Flowers from nature, with selected poetry. New York: [?privately published], 1849 [but 1848, see inscription]. 2 (400 x 280mm.) Letterpress title, 13 leaves of text illustrated with 13 original botanical watercolours by Clarissa Badger. Original red moir cloth, covers blocked in gilt with an elaborate neo-classical design with a large central motif of two muses, lyres in hand, seated at the foot of a column topped by an urn, all surrounded by a border of stylised foliage and birds at the corners, cream glazed-paper liners, gilt edges (skilfully rebacked), contained in a modern morocco-backed cloth slipcase. Provenance: Clarissa Badger Newman (presentation inscription from Clarissa Badger, dated 25 December 1848).
PRESENTATION COPY OF THIS UNRECORDED WORK, PROBABLY PRIVATELY PRINTED, ILLUSTRATED WITH ORIGINAL WATERCOLOURS BY CLARISSA BADGER. "Both Clarissa Munger and her sister, Caroline, were artists. Caroline went on to become proficient at painting miniature portraits on ivory... Clarissa concentrated her talents on drawing plants and flowers. In 1828 Clarissa married the Reverend Milton Badger. During their marriage they lived.. in.. Massachusetts; New York City; and.. Connecticut.. Though little is known about her life other than the landmark dates of her birth, marriage, and death, Mrs.. Badger's fine drawings and talented hand have survived to keep her name alive" (J. Kramer. Women of Flowers New York: 1996).
Mrs. Badger was an illustrator with an intuitive feeling for the decorative, as she amply demonstrates in this and in her later published works. The present work, possibly unique, is in effect a prototype for her published works (Wild Flowers drawn and coloured from nature [New York: 1859, 4, 22 plates] and Floral Belles from the green-house and garden [New York: 1867, 2, 16 plates]). Little is known of Mrs. Badger's life, indeed it is only from the inscription in the present work to Clarissa Newman (presumably a close relative) that we can confirm her first name.