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Apr 18, 2015. - Mar 6, 2016.

Tidewater Wildflowers

Watercolors by Bessie Tyler

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Bessie Murray Tyler, Wild Tiger Lily / Lilium superbum, watercolor, ca. 1934. Click image to enlarge.

From a Depression-era botanical survey to works of art. That's the story with this exhibition of works by Elizabeth "Bessie" Murray Tyler at the Willoughby-Baylor House.

A Richmond native who died in Norfolk in 1980, Tyler won numerous awards throughout her career and had works exhibited from Atlanta to Madison Square Garden. Described as a portrait artist in a 1961 Virginian-Pilot story, she did a watercolor project of native wildflowers in 1934, and returned to the subject many times over the subsequent decades.

The exhibition is a treat for lovers of both art and natural wonders. You can learn:
• how Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria) can used against cockroaches
• how the bulbs from Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) were a turnip-like treat for Native Americans
• the curative powers of the Swamp Rose (Rosa carolina) for what was euphemistically called "summer complaint."

Flowering plants captured by Tyler's brush range from an insect eater (Sarracenia purpurea) to a holiday favorite (Ilex opaca). You can find folk-remedy relief from snake or insect bites (Hieracium venosum) and find all kinds of berries used in making dyes.

And you can do it all for free.

Tidewater Wildflowers: Watercolors by Bessie Tyler will be on view through March 6, 2016, at the Willoughby-Baylor House, 601 E. Freemason Street, Norfolk, Va. The historic home, downtown near MacArthur Center, is open noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Bessie Murray Tyler
Swamp Rose / Rosa carolina
ca. 1934

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