Chicory, Cichorium intybus
15th or 16th century Gouache on vellum
Museum no. E.1045-1986
This gouache study painted on vellum was probably a page from a manuscript herbal. We know that the page was once part of a bound volume because three of the four edges of the sheets have been gilded. The textile designer James Mitten (1812-54) once owned this drawing in the early 19th century. He probably used is as source material when designing floral and foliage patterns.
The drawing of chicory is fairly crude and oversimplified, and you can see from the small drooping central leaf that the artist lacked the skill to represent foreshortening. Nevertheless, the detail of the plant's structure is very accurate.
This drawing can be found in Print Room Box DP1.