“Flora and Fauna” contains highlights from JCSM’s growing collection of natural history prints donated by Sheila J. McCartney. While attending Rice University, McCartney acquired her first print, an owl, in recognition of the school mascot. Attracted to the detailed, hand-colored prints McCartney began collecting more prints of owls and other birds, as well as a few mammals and botanical prints. She would seek out rare book dealers and antique dealers while on business trips to San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia or travel to Europe. Through numerous relocations the primary goal was the safe passage for her artwork and rehanging in her new home. Regarding the display of these artworks McCartney recalls “The walls in my home were covered with these prints…I loved living with these magnificent pieces”.
These prints are pulled from the permanent collection of JCSM, where they provide an enrichment for, and divergence from, our collection of prints by John James Audubon. Audubon completed his masterwork, Birds of America, between 1827 and 1836. Most of the prints in this selection are by the European predecessors of Audubon, working in the early to mid-1700s. JCSM is excited to share Sheila J. McCartney’s trove of prints and we look forward to adding more to our collection over the next few years.