While spring officially arrives on March 21, for the thousands of tourists and native Washingtonians who flock annually to the Tidal Basin, it is the National Cherry Blossom Festival (currently through April 11) which truly ushers in the season in the Nation’s capital.
This small watercolor by the artist William Henry Holmes (1846–1933) forms part of a memorial scrapbook presented to Mollie Garfield after the assassination of her father, President James Garfield. And, though it marks a sad occasion, Holmes's lifelike rendering exemplifies re-birth and the bloom of spring.
More on Mollie Garfield , William Henry Holmes, and cherry blossoms:
- Mollie Garfield (Mary Garfield Stanley-Brown) papers regarding President James Garfield, 1874–1883
- William Henry Holmes artists' files, 1879-1932
- Cherry blossom slideshow from the Smithsonian's Collections Search Center
Elizabeth Botten works in the Reference Services Department at the Archives of American Art.