In terms of a botanical illustration timeline, Bauer is an exact contemporary of Pierre-Joseph Redoute. He was born a year earlier and they both died in the same year.
Born Franz Bauer in 1758 in Feldsberg in Lower Austria (now Valtice in the Czech Republic). His father was the Court Painter and died when his three children were infants.
He was the older brother (by two years) of the much-travelled and renowned Ferdinand Bauer who was also a botanical artist
Franz's initial involvement with botanical art was through the illustration of plants for the Professor of Botany and director of the Botanic Garden of the University of Vienna.
Franz illustrated works by the Baron Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin and his son Baron Joseph Franz von Jacquin at the Schonbrunn Imperial Gardens.
In 1788 he travelled to England - by way of Prague, Dresden, Halle, Berlin, Gottingen, Mainz, Leiden, Utrect and Paris. When he arrived in London he was made very welcome by Sir Joseph Banks.
Sir Joseph Banks recognised the talents of Bauer. He employed him as a botanical artist at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew on an annual salary of £300. He was known by the title 'Botanick Painter to His Majesty'.
In effect, Bauer would find much to make him want to stay. Apart from the high salary and regard paid to his paintings, he was now able to develop his art in his own way, a well stocked botanical garden and new plants arriving all the time. Plus botanists to work with.
He settled at Kew where he was to remain for the rest of his life. In England he was known by the anglicised version of his name Francis Bauer.
The drawings he made while at Kew have much scientific value and at the same time are also a historic record of the development of botanical art, plant science and Kew Gardens at a time when it was expanding rapidly.
Bauer was elected a Fellow of the Linnaean Society in 1804 and additionally became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1821.
He died at Kew in December 1840 at the age of 82 and was buried locally in Kew Parish Church - St Anne's on Kew Green - next to Zoffany and Gainsborough. There is a monument to him inside the church.
The Bauers - Masters of Botanical Illustration
by Hans Walter Lack
This is the first comprehensive biography of the brothers Franz and Ferdinand who between them made an enormous contribution to botanical illustration - plus their elder brother Josef who was the court painter to the Prince of Lichtenstein. the book includes many illustrations of their work.
Hardcover: 528 pages
First edition published: 1 Nov. 2015
He initially learned to illustrate plants while in the care and under the instruction of Norbert Boccius (1729-1806), the prior pf the monastery and hospital in Feldsberg. He and his brother Ferdinand produced 2,250 illustrations which are now contained in 14 volumes in the Liechtensteinische Billiothek in Vienna.
Franz later became a flower painter for Count Dietrichstein and was then introduced to Nicholas von Joaquin (1727-1817). He and his brother were employed to illustrate new-found and rare plants. They both worked on illustrations for Icones Plantarum rariorum (3 volumes 1981-1795).
They learned that botanical draughtsmanship demands understanding of the plant figured, even down to minute detail, as well as its portrayal with accuracy and grace; thereby they were initiated into the intricacies of plant form. Under such supervision they became accustomed to p[recise observation and developed superb techniques for drawing and colouring.
The Orchid Painting of Franz Bauer
Bauer's botanical artwork sets a standard in terms of quality and style of illustration.
For 40 years, Francis Bauer illustrated the newly discovered plants from around the world that were introduced to England via Kew, where they were grown and studied for the first time in a scientific manner.
His early preference was to complete all illustrations using watercolour wash alone. He is considered by many to have perfected the art of botanical illustration.
Of the two brothers, Francis was the one that leaned most towards the science of botanical illustration and working from plant material brought back from explorations (while Ferdinand created illustrations which on explorations to find new plant material)
He was creating botanical illustrations at Kew at a time when the science of botany and the identification of plants were making some great advances. Just as DNA is a critical factor in identifying plant species today, in the early 19th century, plant anatomy was considered to be crucial to the understanding and identification of plant species.
He became a highly skilled botanist and was probably the first botanical illustrator to create very detailed illustrations of the anatomical structure of a plant based on plant dissections and the use of microscopes. It's also thought that he may have used the newly developed camera lucida, to help him make very accurate drawings.
In his later years, his routine practice was work with the Linnean classification and he included anatomical dissections of the reproductive parts of a plant alongside the complete specimen.
His microscopic drawings are now as famous as his portrayals of the complete plant and have significant scientific value. His drawings include pollen specimens at different levels of magnification.
A number of his drawings are also held in the Library at Kew. Some of his earlier drawings are held in the library at Gottingen University in Germany.
He provided illustrations for a number of botanical books, You can see digital versions of these books in the next section.
The Franz Bauer Drawings Collection
This major collection of artwork was bequeathed to King George IV by Franz Bauer and presented to the British Museum by Queen Victoria in 1841. The collection was transferred to the Natural History Museum in 1881.
The collection in the Natural History Library in South Kensington includes:
He contributed plates to Hortus Kewensis, or, A catalogue of the plants cultivated in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew /by William Aiton .Printed for George Nicol, Bookseller to his Majesty,1789.
Illustrations from Delineation of exotic plants cultivated in the Royal Garden at Kew (1796) by Franz Andreas Bauer (1758-1840). Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London.
Plate 11 from British Orchids - Plants, Flowering Plants at The Natural History Museum, London
Plate 11 from British Orchids. Watercolour from British Orchids (1792-1817), by Franz Andreas Bauer (1758-1840). Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London.. Picture, Image, Photo, Photograph, The Natural History Museum, London
Bauer painted a number of illustrations of plants of the genus Strelitzia from South Africa between 1818 - 1820 including his 1818 work Strelitzia depicta. Coloured figures of the known species of the genus Strelitzia are included in the drawings in the Banksian Library'.
The Orchid Paintings of Franz Bauer
by Joyce Stewart (Orchid Fellow, Kew) and William T Stearn (Biographer)
Franz Bauer gew fascinated by orchids while he worked at Kew. He used the opportunities presented by the arrival of new orchids and his skills with the microscope and draughtsmanship tp explore and portray these plants - and their pollen grains and spores - in minute and exquisite detail.
His plates are either paintings of the whole plant or the portrayal of the complete dissection and enlargement of the reproductive mechanisms
This is the first book to focus
on the work of Franz Bauer.
Hardcover (160 pages)
First published: The Herbert Press in association with the Natural History Museum
1st edition: 1993
Current edition Timber Press
The Orchid Paintings of Franz Bauer from Amazon UK
The Orchid Paintings of Franz Bauer from Amazon.com
Delineations of Exotick Plants cultivated in the Royal Garden at Kew.
Drawn and coloured and the Botanical characters displayed according to the Linnean System by Francis Bauer.
Published by William Aiton, d.c. (Preface by Sir Joseph Banks.) 1796-83
The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants
illustrated by drawings on stone from the sketches of Francis Bauer by John Lindley.
London, Ridgways and Treuttel, Wurtz, 1830-1838.
Genera filicum; or Illustrations of the ferns, and other allied genera; from the original coloured drawings of the late Francis Bauer; with additions and descriptive letterpress, by Sir William Jackson Hooker. London, H. G. Bohn, 1842.
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