A Want Supplied

A Want Supplied: Emily Harris Floral Autograph At Home Book 1903

Emily’s NZ Floral Autograph At Home Book (1903)
Emily C Harris. New Zealand Floral Autograph At Home Book
[Timaru: PW Hutton, 1903]
Puke Ariki. ARC 2002-190, box 1, folder [5]. (J)

NZ Floral Autograph At Home Book Front Cover

15 reproductions of ‘well-known and also rare New Zealand flowers’ painted in watercolour by Emily C Harris. Back cover stylised boy and girl in period costume. Each opening has a botanical image at bottom left under the day of the week and ruled lines for callers’ signatures. The facing page carries a larger botanical image top right, more ruled lines and the day of the week Monday through Saturday. The final opening has two botanical images but is without lines or day of the week (no callers on Sunday).

Design: Art Nouveau but not over the top. Emily Harris has hand-drawn the title, her name, days of the week and ruled lines throughout. There are lots of design effects, like flourishes on the lettering, double-edged borders and different shapes that the lettering sits within. Each page has these little design features. On several of the pages the ruled line section ends with scrolled corners, as if the paper has curled up on itself. The book is quite different to anything else I’ve seen of Emily’s. (Catherine Field-Dodgson, 25 July 2022)

At Home Book Front Page and Money Page

Cover dark green card, three-toned printing (red, green, gold), two-tone green internals on heavy cream stock.
Dimensions: 6 x 4in (152.4 x  101.6mm)
4 signatures, centre-stapled, no publishing or printing information.
This copy is blank except for Emily Harris’s signature and a date on the right Thursday opening:
‘Thursday. Emily Cumming Harris 4th’

At Home Thursday Page featuring Emily's Signature

Newspaper advertisements Oct-Nov 1903 indicate the At Home book was intended for the Christmas market and was published by bookseller PW Hutton of Timaru. It may have been printed by the Triad company of Dunedin. Hutton advertised it extensively in the Timaru Herald and probably supplied stock to retail outlets in other places. The book was advertised in Wellington, Nelson, Ashburton, Timaru and Invercargill. Emily Harris had sole right of sale in Nelson.

Timaru Herald. 27 OCTOBER 1903

‘Thursday 4th’: perhaps Thursday 4 Feb 1904.

The At Home book was assigned a sticker marked J in the Moores’ alphabet of family materials sometime after 1933. It came to the Taranaki Museum as part of the Moore Hobbs donation of 1961. Searches to date have not turned up further copies and it seems likely that Puke Ariki holds the single surviving copy.  The staples are badly rusted and need to be removed.

Floral pairings (provisional)

(updated June 2023)

Covers: Wahlenbergia  gracilis (harebell)? + Veronica macrantha (hebe)? +  boy and girl
Monday: Celmisia (mountain daisies)? + Callixene parviflora?
Tuesday: Forstera tenella? + Rātā or pōhutukawa
Wednesday: xx + Rengarenga (Arthropodium cirratum, Rock Lily)?
Thursday: Earina autumnalis (Easter orchid, raupeka)? + Clematis indivisa (Puawhananga)
Friday: Thelymitra (native orchid?)? + Mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
Saturday: xx + Rhabdothamnus solandri (NZ gloxinia)?
End pages: Gentian? + Convolvulus (bindweed)


Floral Autograph At Home Book (Photos)
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Botanical Comparison Notes