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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Natural History

Botanical Prints

Botanical illustrations were created not just as part of the pursuit of scientific knowledge
but also as objects of considerable aesthetic beauty.

[ Besler | Blackwell | Currier & Ives | Ehret | Grandville | Hooker | Merian | Poiteau | Pomologie Belge | Redouté | Thornton | Volckamer ]
[ Selection of miscellaneous botanical prints ]


Selection of botanical pritns
Selection of botanical prints

A selection of various individual botanical prints

J. J. Grandville. [1867].

Grandville's whimsical 'Flowers Personified.' Octavo. $125 to $135.

Botanical gifts
Botanical prints for gifts.

A selection of small botanical prints appropriate for gifts. $40 to $100

Basil Besler. [1613].

Superbly decorative prints from a seventeenth century herbal. Large folio. Ca. $1,800 to $5,000

Johann Christoph Volckamer. 1708-1714.

Unusual prints showing citrus set against European landscapes. Small folio. $1,250 to $1,350

Georg Dionysius Ehret. 1750-73.

Prints by the dominant botanical artist of the middle of the 18th century. Folio. Ca. $500 to $1,500.

Maria Sibylla Merian. 1726.

Exotic images of South American plants and insects. Folio. Ca. $1,500 to $5,000.

Pierre Joseph Redouté. 1801-24.

Exquisite prints by the greatest name in botanical prints. Folio and quarto. $300 to $3,600.

Joseph Dalton Hooker. 1849-51.

Images of the rhododendrons of the Eastern Himalayas. Folio. Ca. $600 to $975.

Dr. John Robert Thornton. 1799-1805.

Dramatic images with classical landscapes. Folio. Ca. $2,500 to $6,000.

Dr. John Robert Thornton. 1812.

Reduced versions of Thornton's famous Temple of Flora images. Quarto. $700 to $750.

Currier and Ives
Currier & Ives. 1835-1907.

Fruit and flower prints issued by America's printmakers. $300 to $3,000

Mrs. Elizabeth Blackwell. 1757.

From a German edition of Mrs. Blackwell's Classic Herbal. German Edition by Trew. Folio. Ca. $125 to $250.

Watercolor icon
Anonymous watercolors. Ca. 1880-1920

Delicate and detailed watercolor drawings of North American plants. Quarto. $40 to $65.

Jung Camellias
J.J. Jung. 1839-1843.

Exquisite stipple and line engravings of camellias. $475 to $700

Bradbury icon
Henry Bradbury. 1855.

From Thomas Moore's Ferns of Great Britain & Ireland. Folio; sheet size 21 1/2 x 14. Nature printed intaglio prints. $550 to $750

Pomologie Belge icon
Annales de Pomologie Belge . . . 1854.

Handsome lithographic fruit prints. Large quarto. $225 to $350.

Poiteau fruits
Pierre-Antoine Poiteau. 1846.

From Pomologie Française. Exquisite stipple engravings of fruits. $525 to $850

Selection of botanical prints

Richard Corbould. "Botany." From Encyclopædia Londinensis or, Universal dictionary of arts, sciences, and literature. London: J. Wilkes, March 1, 1805. Ca. 10 x 7. Stipple engraving with some line work, by J. Chapman . Hand color. With light sticker mark in bottom margin. Very good condition.

In the era of Enlightenment, books of knowledge, like Encyclopædia Londinensis, took on a new importance and nobility in the scope of book publishing. Organized by printer, bookseller, and stationer John Wilkes (1750-1810, of Milland House, Sussex), the detailed, informative work reflects his experience as a newspaper proprietor and co-head of the British Directory Office. Fine artists like Richard Corbould were employed to draw allegorical prints to embellish the volumes. Though Wilkes died in 1810, publication of the Encyclopædia continued until around 1829 in London. Exalting the pursuit of knowledge, its allegorical prints draw on neo-Classical vocabulary to confer nobility on the studies of the arts and sciences, such as geography, botany, painting, and others. In classically-draped garments, female figures pose amid Roman architecture and artifact, employing the tools of investigation specific to their discipline. Along with its finely-rendered botanical illustrations, scientific diagrams, and detailed maps, these allegories made Encyclopædia Londinensis an extraordinary work of aesthetics and education. This allegory represents the science of botany. $250

Flower Basket
"A Flower Basket." New York: Currier & Ives, 1872. Lithograph. Original hand color. Small folio. 8 1/2 x 12 1/2. Some light toning to paper, but very good condition. Cf. C:2038.

Nathaniel Currier, and then Currier & Ives, issued many separately-issued botanical prints, intended to be framed and hung as decoration in Victorian American homes. This is a nice example of their output. $450
GoGo to list of other Currier & Ives botanical prints.

Watercolors by Ellen Robbins. From the portfolio Autumn Leaves. Watertown, Massachusetts, middle of the nineteenth century. 12 1/2 x 10 3/4. Very good condition.

Ellen Robbins was a watercolorist and art teacher born in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1828, and died in 1905 in Boston. Robbins was mostly self-taught and she specialized in paintings of flowers and other still lives. She often painted on the Island of Shoals, off the New Hampshire coast, where she was able to visit the garden and home of the poet Celia Thaxter. She achieved considerable attention for her watercolors of autumn leaves, which she often put together into bound albums for sale. Later she advertised in Boston newspapers as "Miss Robbins' Flower and Autumn Leaf Painting Classes." Her watercolors achieved even further recognition when Louis Prang issued a number of chromolithographs based on them.

Chinese watercolor
Watercolor of deep pink Camellias with two Butterflies. Chinese: early 19th century. 11 x 10 1/2. Watercolor on wove paper. Very good condition.

The China trade has captured the attention of European and American connoisseurs and collectors for the last two centuries. The traffic in porcelain, lacquered furniture, carvings and works on silk are best known to us today. In comparison, there has been less of an awareness of the varied work in the graphic arts that was also part of this commerce. This example of magnificent graphic work is not only beautiful to behold, but also of keen interest to the history of science. These exquisite and beautiful watercolor drawings were done by an unknown Chinese artist in the early 19th century. This is an early date for America's China trade, which ran from approximately 1790 to 1890. The elegant handling of the flowers and the calligraphic expertise are unmistakably Chinese. This fine image portrays a camellia stalk with a bud and two blossoms, with foliage, over which hover two different types of butterflies. A delightful natural history image. $2,600

Woodcut of Chrysanthemum. Japanese. Date unknown. Woodblock. 12 1/2 x 8 1/4. Very good condition.

A beautiful and delicate depiction of a chrysanthemum. The flower was introduced to Japan around the eight century from China. So taken were the Japanese with the flower that they adopted a single flowered chrysanthemum as the crest and official seal of the Emperor. They also, developed Kiku, which is the art of meticulously cultivating chrysanthemums. $275

Paul Crillon Barton. "Arthemis Cotula." [Wild Chamomile]. From Vegetable Materia Medica of the Unites States or Medical Botany, containing a botanical, general and medical history of medicinal plants indigenous to the United States. Philadelphia: M Carey and Son, 1817-18. Quarto. Engravings by Tanner, Vallance Kearney & Co. Fine condition. Rare.

William P.C. Barton (1786-1856) published a highly ambitious treatise on the medical vegetables and plants of the United States in 1817. Barton was a former student of the naturalist Benjamin Smith Barton. The illustrations in Vegetable Materia Medica were engraved after drawings by the author and were later hand-painted by Barton and others. Some copies were left partially or totally uncolored. Barton, a botanist, naval surgeon, and professor at the American Medical College in Philadelphia, sought to promote "the advancement of national science" by encouraging Americans to examine and describe the botany of their own William country, rather than leaving it to European naturalists. Theses rare prints are indeed beautifully engraved and colored. This series as a whole is one of the earliest and most important American color plate books. $250


[ Besler | Blackwell | Currier & Ives | Ehret | Grandville | Hooker | Merian | Redouté | Thornton | Volckamer ]

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. February 6, 2015