Item of the Month: June 2017


Monkshood. Aconitum napellus (Nyár.) W. SeitzModel manufactured by Robert Brendel Company (Breslau, 1870).
Papier-mâché, wire, wood, oil paint, varnish.
Height: 40 cm

The first flower models were built by an apothecary from Breslau (modern Wroclaw) by the name of Carl Leopold Lohmeyer (1799–1873), whose beautifully designed herbaria convinced Professor F. J. Cohn from the University of Breslau to place an order with him for a selection of different blossom models for use as teaching aids at the university. 

Lohmeyer's  models which depicted the blossoms and various other parts of plants representating the major genera of the kingdom became important study aids for universities and secondary schools. Lohmeyer, unable to meet increasing demand, sold his licence to Robert Brendel (1821–1898) who founded a factory of botanical models, which began manufacturing cheaper plant models made of papier-mâché, glass beads, wire, etc. In 1866, Brendel launched his first 30 models. These enlarged scale models of plants and their parts, being intended for use as study aids by universities as well as amateur botanists, were botanically accurate and in true proportion.

The factory originally operated in Breslau, but in 1875 Brendel moved it to Berlin where, in addition to plants, it started manufacturing models of fruits and fungi. At the end of the 19th century, when management of the factory was handed over to Reinhold Brendel, the number of different models produced at the factory had increased to 200.

The University of Tartu made purchases of Brendel's plant models in the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, as products of both the Breslau and the Berlin factory.

The project is curated by Inge Kukk
The project is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia