John Edwards. No. 62. “Althae Frutrex”. From A Collection of Flowers drawn after Nature . . .
London: 1793. Plate mark: 13 ¼ x 9 7/8. Sheet: 20 7/8 x 14 1/2. Hand colored engraving by Edwards. Very good condition. Dunthorne: 105; Great Flower Books (1990) p. 93.
John Edwards (1742-1815), a member of the Royal Academy, was a skilled artist and designer. The British Herbal was a work of botanical illustrations issued monthly, “containing the most beautiful and scarce flowers and useful medicinal plants, which blow in the open air of Great Britain; with their Botanical characters also a short account of their cultivation &c.” In total there were 100 finely engraved and hand-colored prints, each depicting a single species.
The work from which this print comes, his masterpiece, was his next publishing venture. He began to publish designs for the work in 1783, with plates being periodically completed throughout the 1780s and into the following decade. Unlike his previous work, all plates are designed, etched and colored by Edwards himself, which process gave him complete control over the publication.
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