Exploring Botanical Art

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Exploring Botanical Art in the Museum with Titian Peale

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Dear Parents:

This is a program designed to help those parents and children who need something fun, artistic, and educational to do during this difficult period. All ages can participate, but the younger children need your help in reading the content.This program is inspired by Titian Peale, the youngest son of Charles Willson Peale, whose father has many of his portraits and paintings in the Hammond-Harwood House. Titian was also a painter, especially of nature, exploration, and butterflies.
Today, we shall make a botanical drawing using paints, leaves, and clipart of butterflies. Besides art, some history about Titian Peale will be added to the program. Let’s begin.

The first program is called Exploring Botanical Art in the Museum.
That’s a very long title but it is really fun.

I will be your guide. My name is Miss Judi and I am dressed up as a housekeeper in the 18th century when this house was built.

One of the stars of our museum is Charles Willson Peale who did many paintings of famous Americans.

Peale had many children, but it is his youngest son we are going to learn about today.

His name was Titian after a famous Italian painter. Titian was so like his father in many ways including his father’s interest in nature.

He was an explorer who painted subjects all over the country from moose in Maine, to a buffalo hunt in Nebraska, and a volcano in Hawaii.

He was also a naturalist (one who studies nature).

But Titian had one very special interest — butterflies. At his home he had a large butterfly collection and started painting them with leaves and flowers.

This is called botanical painting. Look at one of his paintings below.

We are going to do something similar.
But instead of paints you are going to use a stamp pad (or green paint), a leaf or several leaves, scrap paper, watercolor paper (or heavy paper), paper towels, a butterfly and caterpillar pattern.
Find a leaf which has a very distinct vein pattern.
My example uses a leaf from the ash tree.









  1. When you have the leaf, place it with the vein facing down on the stamp pad.






2. Then place a clean piece of paper over the leaf and carefully rub the leaf a few times on the scrap paper.
Remove the leaf.







3. Now return to the stamp pad and place your leaf on it again and rub gently, but carefully. Remove it and check to make sure the underside of the leaf is covered with ink or paint. If you need more ink, go back to the stamp pad. Then place it on the heavy paper or whatever paper you have. Again, place a clean piece of scrap paper over the leaf and carefully rub all over.







4. Slowly lift the paper off the image.









5. Repeat until you have the number of leaves you like.






6. You may wish to add stems. Paint them green or brown.






7. Finally, add your butterflies and maybe this caterpillar.

I used clipart from the web, or you may draw your own.
I suggest that you use clipart that is black and white as I did in the above photo. Now color the butterfly and the caterpillar.
I hope you had fun doing this.

We would love to see your finished project. First, ask your parents if you can email your picture with your name and age.

If they say “yes,” email it to Rachel Lovett at hhhcurator@gmail.com
We would love to do more projects. Would you?

We are planning on doing a virtual reading of Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty and then making our own model of the Hammond-Harwood House. Then we will do a jigsaw puzzle of George Washington at the Battle of Princeton by Titian’s father, Charles Willson Peale. More ideas will follow if you like this first program.

Judi Jones, Education Volunteer


Posted on Apr 15, 2020 in by Hammond-Harwood House



Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve, for public education and enjoyment, the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts.
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