July 31st is the birthday of artist and naturalist Mary Vaux Walcott. Born in 1860, Walcott took an early interest in the arts. After spending many of her summers in the wilds of Western Canada with her family, she turned her artistic inclinations towards botanical illustration. Later in life, she married Charles Doolittle Walcott, who was Secretary of the Smithsonian at the time (1914).
She returned to the Rockies for many months out of the year with Charles as he conducted paleontological and geological studies. There she continued her watercolor studies of native flowers. The Smithsonian published her illustrations in North American Wild Flowers in 1925 in a five volume set that you can find in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
We’ve posted about Walcott before, here and here. Her work is exceptionally beautiful, and we think some of the blooms here might have even been in bloom around her birthday.
Price obviously knew the importance of cats in art. He certainly had strong feelings about the topic of art, going so far as to include the quote above from Robert Louis Stevenson as the epigraph to the book. And since we see 2 kitties gracing the title page, we can deduce that his idea of good art = cats. But I’m no art historian.