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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 | Currier & Ives | Ehret | Grandville | Hooker | Michaux | Poiteau | Pomologie Belge | Redouté | Thornton ]
[ 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 $3,800

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. $475 to $650

Georg Dionysius Ehret. 1750-73.

Prints by the dominant botanical artist of the middle of the 18th century. Folio. Ca. $500 to $825.

Pierre Joseph Redouté. 1801-24.

Exquisite prints by the greatest name in botanical prints. Folio and quarto. $450 to $3,000.

Joseph Dalton Hooker. 1849-51.

Images of the rhododendrons of the Eastern Himalayas. Folio. Ca. $600 to $850.

Michaux Red Ash
Michaux's North American Sylva . . . 1817 & 1856.

Handsome stipple engraved and lithographic prints of North American trees. Octavo. $65 to $200.

Dr. John Robert Thornton. 1799-1805.

Dramatic images with classical landscapes from Thornton's famous Temple of Flora. Folio. Ca. $2,500 to $2,800

Currier and Ives
Currier & Ives. 1835-1907.

Fruit and flower prints issued by America's printmakers. $300 to $450

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 $650

Poiteau fruits
Pierre-Antoine Poiteau. 1846.

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

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

Handsome lithographic fruit prints. Large quarto. $225 to $300.

Selection of botanical prints

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Johann Christoph Volckamer. Print from Nurnbergishe Hesperides. Nuremberg, 1708-1714. Approx. 12 3/4 x 8 1/4. Copper engravings. Lovely hand color. Very good condition.

These are superb examples of one of the most sought after and unusual series of botanical prints from the eighteenth century. At that time, structures known as orangeries came into fashion. Wealthy Europeans sought to grow and keep warmer climate plants, such as citrus and even palm trees, throughout the year. The potted trees could be transferred into these greenhouses to avoid the harsher, northern winters. These beautiful prints by Johann C. Volkcamer illustrate types of the then newly popular citrus fruit in delicate detail. Encircling the fruit are baroque ribbons naming each of the varieties. The large fruit hang serenely in the foreground over exquisite landscapes, country houses, and gardens. Most of the which were located in and around Volckamer's home of Nuremberg as well as northern Italy. The whole effect is somewhat surreal, yet still highly reflective of eighteenth century European taste.

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

American Fruit Piece
"American Fruit Piece." New York: Currier & Ives, 1872-4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Small folio. 8 1/2 x 12 1/2. Some light toning to paper, but very good condition. C:160.

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.

Watercolor 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.

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 | Currier & Ives | Ehret | Grandville | Hooker | Michaux | Redouté | Thornton ]

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. September 25, 2019