Coffea Liberica—Liberian Coffee

Accession Number

Coffea Liberica—Liberian Coffee

Charles T. Scowen

Artist Nationality
British (modern)

Object Creation Date
circa 1876-1886

Medium & Support
albumen print on paper

9 3/4 in x 11 7/8 in (24.8 cm x 30.1 cm);14 5/16 in x 19 5/16 in (36.35 cm x 49.05 cm);9 3/4 in x 11 7/8 in (24.8 cm x 30.1 cm);8 9/16 in x 10 13/16 in (21.8 cm x 27.5 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art

Subject matter
This photograph depicts a closeup view of a blossoming coffee plant. Clustered in the center of the photograph is a grouping of lightly-colored, eight-petaled flowers that glow against the inky darkness of the plant’s leaves. Nestled against the flowers are a group of coffee beans, which appear as shiny, dark orbs clinging to their branch. The sumptuous warmth and detail of the albumen print renders these natural forms in rich clarity. This plant was on one of the many coffee plantations on the island of Sri Lanka—then known as Ceylon—which was colonized by the British in 1802. This image is typical of colonial photography of its time, which idealized the bounty and agricultural plenty of colonial plantations. European fascination with the island as being a tropical, arcadian landscape is evident within these images, depicting the place as being beautiful, timeless, and pastoral.

Physical Description
This photograph depicts a closeup view of a blossoming coffee plant. A cluster of white flowers stands out against a backdrop of dark leaves. Nestled against the blossoms is a group of coffee beans.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Coffea (genus)
coffee (food, dye)
flowers (plant components)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted