cabinet de botanique en l'honneur du docteur Honnorat

catalogue number: hdv 2000.111.2
date created: 2000
classification: installations
work type: installation
medium: permanent installation in a room of 25 m² with vitrine showing 2 volumes of the herbarium by Simon-Jude Honnorat (1783-1852), a herbarium consisting of 111 collages with dried plants collected by herman and susanne de vries around Digne-les-Bains and a portrait of Honnorat (editor of the Dictionnaire Provençal-Français) [see also 'extended description']
signature and inscriptions:
current repository: collection Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains
current repository number:
collecting history:
related works:
photo/scan: courtesy Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains
rights & reproduction: herman de vries
extended description

It is not surprising that the philologist Simon-Jude Honnorat (1783-1852) would know and show an interest in the local plant names, for he was a tireless collector of the plants themselves, creating as comprehensive an herbarium of regional species as has ever existed. His herbarium is thought to have contained thousands of specimens. Many of these were collected in the heavily wooded mountainous area of Faillefeu, in the hills above the upper valley of the river Bléone, and he presented a special two-volume herbarium to the landowner of the area who had facilitated his botanising there. This was a stroke of good fortune, for Honnorat's entire collections of geological and botanical specimens were thrown away, unwanted and unsaleable, when his son, who worked in textiles in Flanders, came, after his father's death, to clear out the doctor's house in Digne. These two beautiful volumes of c.1804, almost all that remains of Honnorat's botanic collections, are the centrepiece of the cabinet, occupying a glass case in the middle of the room, with each week a new page turned.

At de vries's request, the floor of the narrow oblong room is made of local early nineteenth-century tiles, discovered recently when repairs were undertaken in the museum, and the walls are panelled to dado height with walnut, the wood used locally over centuries in the manufacture of vernacular furniture. Above this, on the two longer walls, there are arranged 111 of de vries's own botanical 'real works' of various dimensions, framed in walnut, and in free configurations that deliberately deny the paradigmatic ordering of nineteenth-century museum presentations. This informal array is of specimens collected by herman and susanne in the woods and valleys of Faillefeu,

with Honnorat in mind. They are plant self-portraits, each plant 'saying itself', each at once a document, and an image, of itself: nature has become art and their irregular configuration signals their status as distinct from that of the scientifically systematic herbarium of which the two volumes in the room were a part.

The installation is perfectly completed by a contemporary portrait of Dr. Honnorat brought into the light after long exile in the museum storerooms. He is pictured, gravely handsome, seated at his work table, quill pen in hand, working on the introduction to his Dictionnaire Provençal-Français. Behind him on a shelf, as attributes, are piled three stout volumes: Linnaeus,

Hippocrates and Jean de La Fontaine. Each is emblematic of some aspect of the doctor's activities, the scientific, the medical and the literary-folkloric. It is a portrait of a many-sided man. The ensemble, thus completed, implicitly celebrates not only the natural history of the region, but also the language of the pays, and the tragically lost achievement of Honnorat himself. In the cabinet, de vries reminds us of the inescapable nexus of historical, cultural and linguistic circumstance, and of their diverse and particular interactions in the mediations of nature through science and art. In honouring Dr Honnorat, de vries, as an artist, honours the engagement of disinterested science with the natural world and its objects.

[Passage from Mel Gooding, herman de vries. chance and change (Thames & Hudson : London 2006) 117-118]

list of titles (some with local name) of the collages, most collected second half of May 2000 + repository number:
2000.6.1. cotinus coggygria scop (anacardiaceae)
2000.6.2. politric asplenium trichomanes L. (aspleniaceae)
2000.6.3. herba daurada / ceterach officinarum willd (aspleniaceae)
2000.6.4. campanula persicifolia L. (campanulaceae)
2000.6.5. escoubier lonicera xylosteum L. (caprifoliacea)
2000.6.6. sambucus racemosa L. (caprifoliaceae)
2000.6.7. silene dioica (L.) clairu (caryophyllaceae)
2000.6.8. gypsophila repens L. (caryophyllaceae)
2000.6.9. minuartia rostrata (pers.) reichenb. (caryophyllaceae)
2000.6.10. moehringia muscosa L. (caryophyllaceae)
2000.6.11. silene italica L. (caryophyllaceae)
2000.6.12. bugaderia convolvulus cantabrica L (convolvulaceae)
2000.6.13. erophila verna L. (cruciferae)
2000.6.14. carex flacca schreber (cyperaceae)
2000.6.15. carex flacca schreber (cyperaceae)
2000.6.16. tamus communis L. (dioscoreaceae)
2000.6.17. knautia arvensis (i) coulter (dissaceae)
2000.6.18. equisetum maximim lam. (equisetaceae)
2000.6.19. euphorbia dulcis L. (euphorbiaceae)
2000.6.20. gentiana verna L. (gentianaceae)
2000.6.21. dragoun globularia bisnagarica L. (globulariaceae)
2000.6.22. globularia cordifolia L. (globulariaceae)
2000.6.23. bauc-à-plumet/stipa eriocaulis bertas (gramineae)
2000.6.24. cortaderia selloana (schultes et schultes fils) aschers (gramineae)
2000.6.25. sesleria caerulea L. ard (gramineae)
2000.6.26. blad de couguou/aegilops triuncialis L. (gramineae)
2000.6.27. poa bulbosa L. subsp. bulbosa, var. vivipara koeler (gramineae)
2000.6.28. melica nutans L. (gramineae)
2000.6.29. grouseldier ribes petraeum wulf (grossulariaceae)
2000.6.30. ribes alpinum L. (grossulariaceae)
2000.6.31. gladidus italicus Miller (cidaceae)
2000.6.32. luzula sylvatica gaud (juncaceae)
2000.6.33. luzula nivea d.e. (juncaceae)
2000.6.34. stachys recta L. (labiatae)
2000.6.35. bouwens homes salvia pratensis L. (labiatae)
2000.6.36. melittis melissophyllum L. (labiatae)
2000.6.37. dona narcissus poeticus L. (liliaceae)
2000.6.38. anthericum liliago L. (liliaceae)
2000.6.39. paris quadrifolia L. (liliaceae)
2000.6.40. fritillaria involucrata all (liliaceae)
2000.6.41. endymion nutans dumort (liliaceae)
2000.6.42. ornithogalum umbellatium L. (liliaceae)
2000.6.43. polygonatum odoratum (mill.) druce (liliaceae)
2000.6.44. barralets gros/muscari comosum Kunth (liliaceae)
2000.6.45. linum campanulatum L. (linaceae)
2000.6.46. linum campanulatum L. (linaceae)
2000.6.47. linum suffruticosum L. var. appressum (caball.) rivas-mart. (= salsoloides lam.)
2000.6.48. linum narbonense L. (linaceae)
2000.6.49. epilobium dodonaei vill. ssp. dodonaei (conagraceae)
2000.6.50. botrychium lunaria sw (ophioglossaceae)
2000.6.51. cephalanthera rubra (l) rich (orchidaceae)
2000.6.52. cephalanthera longifolia fritsch (= c. ensifolia rich) (orchidaceae)
2000.6.53. orchis simia lamarck X orchis militaris L (orchidaceae)
2000.6.54. orchisistulata l. (orchidaceae)
2000.6.55. cephalanthera longifolia (L.) Fritsch (orchidaceae)
2000.6.56. platanthera bifolia (L. ) Lem Richard (orchidaceae)
2000.6.57. listera ovata (L.) (orchidaceae)
2000.6.58. alleluia oxalis acetocella L. (oxalidaceae)
2000.6.59. vicia purputascens d.c. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.60. ononis rotundiflolia L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.61. lathyrus vernus bernh (papilionaceae)
2000.6.62. gealassouns anlhyllis vulneraria L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.63. onobrychis saxatilis Lamk (papilionaceae)
2000.6.64. tetragonolobus siliquosus roth (= lotus siliquosus L.) (papilionaceae)
2000.6.65. lebretins ononis fruticosa L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.66. cytisus sessifolius L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.67. amarun frisat lathyrus aphaca L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.68. serpoulet thymus polytrichus (borbas) jalas (papilionaceae)
2000.6.69. genista pilosa L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.70. lathyrus tuberosus L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.71. hypocrepis comosa L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.72. pinauzel dorycnium suffruticosum vill (papilionaceae)
2000.6.73. anthyllis montana L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.74. ononis cenisia L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.75. esparceou bastard a. hypoglottis L. / astragalus monopessulanus L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.76. tira-buou / genista hispanica L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.77. lathyrus niger (L.) bemh (papilionaceae)
2000.6.78. esparcette / onobrychis sativa lam. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.79. genista d'espagna spartium junceum L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.80. genista pilosa L. (papilionaceae)
2000.6.81. herbe de muret plantago alpina L. (plataginaceae)
2000.6.82. aurethetas plantago madia L. (plantaginaceae)
2000.6.83. polygale calcarea F. Schulte (polygalaceae)
2000.6.84. polygala comosa Schkuhr (polygalaceae)
2000.6.85. polygale calcarea f. schultz (polygalaceae)
2000.6.86. polygale alpestris reichenb. (polygalaceae)
2000.6.87. acetouas / rumex scutatus L. (polygonaceae)
2000.6.88. crystopteris fragilis (L.) bernh (polypodiaceae)
2000.6.89. polypodo polypodium vulgare L. (polypodiaceae)
2000.6.90. pulsatilla alpina (l.) delarbre (ranunculaceae)
2000.6.91. coucoumbre frollius europaens L. (ranunculaceae)
2000.6.92. thalictrum minus L. (ranunculaceae)
2000.6.93. clematis alina (L.) mill (ranunculaceae)
2000.6.94. amoureta reseda phyteuma L. (resedaceae)
2000.6.95. reseda lutea L. (resedaceae)
2000.6.96. galium glaucum L. (rubiaceae)
2000.6.97. salix incana Schrank (salicaceae)
2000.6.98. saxifraga rotundifolia L. (saxifragaceae)
2000.6.99. saxifraga lingulata bell (saxifragaceae)
2000.6.100. scrophularia canina L. subsp. juratensis (schleich. ex wydl.) bonnier & layens (scrophulariaceae)
2000.6.101. cymbalaria muralis p. gaertn., b. mey & schrerb (= linaria cymbalaria mill) (scrofulariaceae)
2000.6.102. veronica teucrium L. (scrofulariaceae)
2000.6.103. rhinanthus alectordophus Poll. (scrofulariaceae)
2000.6.104. jusquiama hyoscyamus niger L. (solanaceae)
2000.6.105. batouira laserpitium gallicum L. (umbelliferae)
2000.6.106. anthriscus cerefolium hoffen (umbelliferae)
2000.6.107. valeriana tuberosa L. (valerianaceae)
2000.6.108. valeriana rotundifolia villars (valerianaceae)
2000.6.109. viouleta de vacharessa / viola calcarata L. (violaceae)
2000.6.110. viola riviniana reichenb. (violaceae)
2000.6.111. viola biflora L. (violaceae)

exhibition history
2001 'herman de vries. les choses mêmes', Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains
2001 onwards permanent exhibited at the Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains
published references
exhibition catalogue herman de vries. les choses mêmes. reConnaître (Réserve Géologique de Haute Provence/Musée départemental Digne 2001) images repr. on pages 24-25, 22-25.
text herman de vries, 'le musée des terres', in publication herman de vries (Fage Éditions : Lyon / Musée Gassendi : Digne-les-Bains 2009) [44].