Mandrakes and Belladonnas are relatives, cousins of eggplants and tomatoes, bound by shared prejudices and powers within the vast Solanaceae family. Bearing the cure in the etymology of their names (solamen = healing), these plants are linked to cosmetic uses, rituals, and, of course, healing. Imagine if Elizabeth Blackwell (1699-1758) had illustrated them for her A Curious Herbal (1753), a book that captivated Linnaeus, created to pay off debts left by her charlatan husband, hanged in Sweden after an attempted coup d’etat.

Elizabeth Blackwell was my muse for these AI-generated and animated drawings.

Notes for a work in progress: Poisonous, Noixous, and Suspicious. Exploring forbidden plants and women erased from the history of art and science.