From earliest childhood I had been swayed by the rhythm of the words from the Scriptures. What, I wondered, were the costly frankincense and myrrh borne by the Wise Men from the East on their pilgrimage to the Babe at Bethlehem? Where were these plants grown? Until ten years ago I was unable to find satisfying botanical answers to my questions. Then my vocation as a trained artist was established. I was asked to make faithful water-color portraits of flowers not native to the Western Hemisphere but grown here from seed brought back by those hardy adventurers of the past who had discovered them in India.
The pictures of these beautiful flowers were housed in the archives of The Horticultural Society in Westminster. However, I was still to receive the inspiration to create paintings of the Bible flora. A year later I arrived in the United States to accept the appointment of artist in the Department of Animal Husbandry at Davis, a branch of the University of California in Berkeley. Finally, I read a descriptive list issued by the New York Botanical Garden that gave over one hundred and fifty names of trees, herbs, and flowers of the Bible, along with their generic names and scriptural verses. It had been compiled by one of their curators, Dr. Harold N. Moldenke, who was responsible for the background research on which they based their famous "Bible Plant" exhibit. Now at last I knew that the frankincense tree grows in the Himalayas, and the myrrh, which exudes its gum for purifying, lives in the fierce heat of Yemen in Arabia. Also, I learned that the spikenard was from the valleys of Tibet and I determined to locate every plant mentioned on the list. Five years of this research made it possible for me to paint the illustrations for this book. All are from life except the balm, bdellium, spikenard and frankincense, which perforce had to be portrayed from pressed specimens loaned to me by the University of California herbariums at Berkeley and Westwood.
Natural history of the Bible as seen by a botanist and artist, illustrating the flowers, fruits, trees, shrubs and herbs mentioned in the Bible
"This is a gracious, learned and fascinating account of the natural history of the Bible as seen by a trained botanist and skilful artist. All students of the Scriptures will value this companion with its 114 beautiful monochrome plates, illustrating the flowers, fruits, trees, shrubs and herbs mentioned in the Bible.
Winifred Walker is an internationally known botanical artist who has received numerous awards for her exquisite work. She is a Fellow of the distinguished Linnaean Society, and was an official artist to the Royal Horticultural Society for ten years.
"One need not be an advanced student of the Bible to appreciate the beauty and value of this book." — DAILY TELEGRAPH