What is it about botanical prints? It's like bringing the outside indoors. The level of meticulous detail, delicate hand colouring and effort in producing these prints in the eighteenth and nineteenth century continues to bring new admirers today. You can just about walk down any high street and the boutique home stores have large reproductions of such prints for sale demonstrating their popularity. Beautiful exotic prints displayed in the home are on trend, but collectors seek out the original prints, these are the real gems.
The peak of botanical illustration sits between 1750 to around 1850. As improvements in printing were made, initially in engraving and later lithography, beautiful illustrated botanical books were produced. The work of the artist Pierre-Joseph Redouté on Roses is well known, maybe you've heard of him, however these are high priced. An edition of Redouté Les Roses in three volumes with 184 fine stipple-engraved plates printed in colours and finished by hand, sold in the UK in 2019 for a hammer price of £4000.
Maybe starting somewhere a little more accessible on price would be good? There are many to choose from but the work of Jean Jules Linden (1817-1898) is often found in the market and affordable. Jean Jules Linden was an influential horticulturist and publisher, especially in the realm of orchids. Born in Luxembourg he published one of the finest botanical periodicals of the latter half of the 19th Century, L’Illustration Horticole.
This exquisite antique Botanical print "Aerides Houlletianum" the Fox Brush or Cats tail Orchid is from L'Illustration Horticole, one of the great Belgian horticultural periodicals of the 1800s. Published from 1854 to 1896, L'Illustration Horticole featured a monthly review of noteworthy plants for the greenhouse and garden. Included were descriptions, illustrations, history and advice on cultivating the plants.
Linden revolutionised the way orchids were grown in European collections. Before Linden all orchids were cultivated in hothouses at high temperatures. Many plants died, Europe was known as 'the orchid graveyard'. Based upon Lindens observations the British botanist Lindley described the plants he collected and included the information on the natural growing conditions.
His firm grew into a true horticultural empire that at its zenith had outlets in Brussels, Ghent and Paris. Awards were won at international exhibitions in London, Paris and St. Petersburgh. Linden published wonderful books on orchids containing beautiful lithographs. He published one of the finest botanical periodicals of the latter half of the 19th Century, L’Illustration Horticole.
You can see more prints by Jean Jules Linden in my ETSY Shop HERE