Pierre-Joseph Redouté was born in Saint-Hubert in what is today the Belgian Province of Luxembourg. He lived from 1759 to 1840, and is known for his exquisitely beautiful and accurate botanical illustrations. He was both a painter and botanist and was the official court artist of Queen Marie Antoinette. According to Wikipedia, he produced over 2,100 published plates of over 1,800 species of plants, some never rendered before. He continued working in Paris during the Reign of Terror (the French Revolution), and later served Empress Joséphine (first wife of Napoleon). In 1822, he was appointed a master of draughtsmanship at the National Museum of Natural History.
This gorgeous collection contains 184 of his drawings, including an index of both common and Latin names. Roses were one of his particular specialties, and a large number of them are pictured here, from numbers 126 to 169, (with the exception of Laurier Rose, which is not a rose at all). There are also numerous fruits and berries, and one nut. Unfortunately, Dover has discontinued the printing of this book, and I cannot imagine why. There are still copies out there, of course, and anyone interested in plants and paintings of plants should snatch up a copy.
Here are just a few of the lovely artworks found in this collection.
#013: Red Torch Banana (Musa coccinea)
#024: Cherry (Cerasus domestica)
#030: Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus)
#033: Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)
#042: Filbert (Corylus maxima)
#067: Sweet Iris (Iris pallida)
#110: Pear (Pyrus sp.)
#124: Red Currant (Ribes rubrum)
#137: Damask Rose (Rosa damascena aurora)
#176: Tamarind Flower (Spaendoncea tamarandifolia)
#180: Tulip (Tulipa gesneriana)
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