Antique Botanicals

Original book plates of Sir Joseph Paxton

Date: May 29 – Jun 30Space: Foyer

Come and enjoy Napier local Margaret Jaffe’s unique collection of antique botanical book plates, from the books by Sir Joseph Paxton, on display in the CAN foyer for the month of June.

Margaret Jaffe was born in Glasgow during World War II, and at the age of eight informed her aunt that she wanted to become a business woman. At the age of 21, she sailed to America. On landing, and dressed in the style of Jackie Onassis she attended an interview for a job she was to start two days later. Margaret lived in the U.S for 42 years and became heavily involved in civil rights, eventually starting a business with a baby on her hip that flourished into a company employing 120 migrant workers.

Margaret has style and a personality to match. She loves op shopping, and admits what keeps her interested is ‘the thrill of the hunt’. She has lived in New Zealand since 2006, after moving here with her late kiwi husband Bill, who she sadly lost eight years ago.

Margaret has a very keen eye, developed from a lifetime of collecting. Her particular passion is for antique book plate prints of botanicals, by Joseph Paxton. Margaret’s very first Paxton’s Magazine of Botany, Volume 1, was a gift from clients after she had completed the sale of their beautiful home and gardens. As soon as she opened the book she was smitten. The colours and workmanship were perfect.

Someone asked her recently when and where she began collecting, so Margaret had a ‘wee think’, and decided it was high time she showed her collection at a public gallery for all to see. This is the second time they have stepped onto the stage at CAN, following the success of her first exhibition in 2019. She hopes the community will enjoy them as much as she has.

The prints are 189 years old but carrying no wrinkles. When Margaret was in England she bought a few more botanicals, some loose and some in book form.  She also learnt more about who Joseph Paxton was; ‘He was very poor but was taken in by the Duke of Devonshire on his estate at Chatsworth.   There he stayed and travelled the world collecting plants.  Joseph Paxton also designed the Crystal Palace in South East London for an incredible exhibition which Queen Victoria opened.  He became Sir Joseph Paxton and his books, when published were for the rich and titled of England.  All told Paxton published 250 books from 1834 until 1849!’

So, Margaret has decided it is time to let others enjoy her collection of botanicals. 40 of these precious works of art will be available to purchase at her exhibition ‘Antique Botanicals’, in the foyer at CAN.

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