Georg Dionysius Ehret was a German-born artist who became one of the most influential botanical artists of all time through his development of the Linnaean style of botanical illustration.
He was also a prodigious artist who produced an enormous number of high quality illustrations for various botanical publications and plant collectors.
He spent his early career travelling and working across Europe prior to working closely with Carl Linnaeus at the time the latter was developing his system of binomial nomenclature - and illustrated his findings.
In 1736, he moved to England in 1736 and became much sought after by premier botanists and collectors to record their rare plants.
His work is now in many of the premier art collections - Natural History Museum, Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the Lindley Library of the Royal Horticultural Society, the Royal Collection and the Hint Institute of Botanical Documentation.
This site sets out to give you
Georg Ehret was regarded as one of the best botanical artists of his day - if not the best.
One special claim to fame is that he worked early on with Carl Linnaeus and his style of botanical art - still in use today - is referred to as the Linnaean style.
George Ehret illustrated many of spectacular plants for the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.
In particular, he illustrated the exotic plants, which had recently arrived in Europe and which appeared strange to English eyes.
He was also able to access the collections of the exotic plants collected by wealthy plant enthusiasts and drew the unusual plants that grew in their hothouses
His work appeared in a variety of publications on the rare and exotic plants, most notably the Plantae Selectae (1750-73).
Ehret used sketchbooks to record his plants from life before producing larger paintings in his studio. Some of his sketchbooks have been preserved within collections and demonstrate his high level of competence and botanical knowledge.
1735-1737 - Visited Amsterdam in the Netherlands and met the Swedish physician and garden manager, Carl Linnaeus. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
Ehret then began to work with Linnaeus at Georg Clifford's estate, De Hartecamp, located south of Haarlem.
Linnaeus created the foundations for modern biological nomenclature (now known as binomial nomenclature). Ehret helped him document the systematic differences between plants.
Linnaeus published the first edition of his Systema Naturae while living in the Netherlands. The diagram below made in 1736 by Ehret formed part of that publication. The speculation is that Georg Dionysius Ehret wrote the classification names along the right edge and also applied the color.
The impact of working with Linnaeus is that Ehret developed a profound knowledge of plant structure which he put to good use when developing his drawings and paintings of plants and flowers in the years that followed.
A single drawing of "Methodus Plantarum Sexualis" in a glass and wooded frame is the original watercolour for the plate of Linnaeus' "Systema Naturae" (1736) and is now held by the Natural History Museum in London
The genius of Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770) was the dominant influence in botanical art during the middle years of the eighteenth century
Wilfrid Blunt in The Art of Botanical Illustration
1736: Moved to England and thereafter spent most of his career working in England.
He met Sir Hans Sloane, President of the Royal Society, and Philip Miller (1691–1771), curator of Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 until the late 1760s. Miller’s Figures of Plants (1756) included illustrations of 300 plants from the Physic Garden drawn by Ehret. Ehret’s plates included cross-sections and insects associated with the pollination of individual plants. His work is supposed to have influenced images on Chelsea ware ceramics of this era.
1738: Helped to produce and publish the Hortus cliffortianus in 1738, a critical and influential example of early botanical literature.
1750: Established as a prominent artist in botanical illustration
1750 - created plates for his patron - Christopher Jacob Trew's Plantae Selectae, published in 1750 and Hortus Nitidissimus (published 1786)
1757: Ehret was made a Fellow of the Royal Society
1770: Died on 9 September 1770 in Chelsea, London.
Correspondence between Linnaeus and Ehret was bequeathed by his family to the Linnean Society.
Ehret: Flower Painter Extraordinary
by Gerta Calmann (Author)
This is the very first book I bought about Ehret. It's a large and well produced book which includes facsimiles of both his drawings and paintings. It covers:
95 illustrations including 33 in colour
Typically only available as a used book. The slip cover on mine is torn at the top - but it's not a big deal!
Buy in the UK Ehret: Flower Painter Extraordinary
The publication of Plantae Selectae was begun in 1750 and completed in 1773.
The four men responsible for Plantae Selectae are:
The book is 201 pages and the bulk of this are botanical illustrations by Georg Dionysius Ehret
Trew had been purchasing Ehret's botanical paintings for some time and was his most important supporter.
Ehret's Flowering Plants
(Victoria and Albert Natural History Illustrators)
by Gill Saunders (Author)
Written by the Curator of the Design, Prints and Drawing Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It draws on the collection of 90 watercolour paintings by Ehret in the Museum's collection - some of which were published for the first time in this book.
Published March. 1988
Typically only used copies are available to buy online
Ehret's work is very impressive and much is preserved in excellent condition.
His artwork - sketchbooks, botanical illustrations and paintings - is typically in excellent condition and can be seen in various museums and art collections.
His work is also regularly on exhibition in exhibitions of botanical art.
Ehret's notebooks show his excellent botanical knowledge and are wonderful examples of scientific botanical illustrations drawn in the field
Where can you see Ehret's work?
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