Sereno Watson
East Windsor Hill 1820-Cambridge, Mass 1892
Cornus sessilis, American botanical ink drawing from William H. Brewer’s Geological Survey of California, 1876 America

Pen and brown ink on wove paper, inscribed in pen and brown ink in the lower margin Cornus sessilis/ . S Survey 35th. Parallel 1 8/ San Francisco Dec 9th/ 76

292 x 180 mm. (11 x 7 1/8 in.)

Condition: The drawing is in an excellent condition, and the paper is white in colour, not greyish as the photograph may indicate.

An exceptionally rare and important botanical ink drawing of Cornus sessilis, commonly known as black fruit cornel or dogwood, by Sereno Watson relating to page 274 of Volume 1 of the Botany section of the Geological Survey of California. At Harvard, Watson assisted botanists William H. Brewer and Asa Gray in the preparation of Volume 1 which was published in 1876 and subsequently Watson wrote Volume 2 himself which was published in 1880. Although he mentions Cornus sessilis on page 452 in Volume 2, there are no illustrations in either volume.

Between 1860 and 1864 botanist William Henry Brewer (1828-1910) was engaged by Josiah Dwight Whitney in carrying out an extensive geological survey of California. After four years surveying in the field Brewer sent his collection of plant specimens to Asa Gray at Havard for verification and documenting.