'Chicory, Cichorium intybus'
15th or 16th century
Gouache on vellum
Museum no. E.1045-1986
This gouache study is painted on vellum. It was probably made as an illustration for an early manuscript herbal, a kind of reference book used by apothecaries. Since these books were concerned with how plants could be used medicinally, rather than how they could be identified, the illustrations are usually poor representations of the species discussed in the text. Here we find a rather awkward study of chicory.
In the early 19th century, many years before they entered the Victoria & Albert Museum, this work was in the collection of a textile designer James Mitten. He probably used it as source material for his designs.
This print can be found in Print Room Box DP1.