New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus
London :1807 - Biodiversity Library on Flickr
In 1799, Robert John Thornton, a medically trained doctor and devoted botanist, began the production of The Temple of Flora – a volume of large-format engravings of beautiful, coloured floral portraits. The work was intended as an homage to the great Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus, a man revered by Thornton for his revolutionary new system of classification, established a few decades prior. Thornton spared no expense in creating the plates, employing the most celebrated flower painters of the age to portray the flowers in immaculate detail. The monumental presence of the plants and their dramatic landscape backgrounds are also unique and fascinating reflections of the Romantic era within the realm of botanical illustration, a fact that rendered the original plates hugely valuable.
Very few complete editions of The Temple of Flora exist today, but now a newly published, complete reprint by Taschen – accompanied by the history of the work's origin and the life of its author – bring these stunning illustrations to the wider audience they deserve. Here, we present a selection of the plates, accompanied by enlightening facts about the flowers they depict – taken from the book, by its author Werner Dressendörfer.
Botanical Prints from The Temple of Flora; or Garden of Nature, T. Bensley for Dr. Robert John Thornton, Ed., London: 1799-1807. Hand-colored engravings and etchings with stipple, mezzotint or aquatint, some partially printed in colors, some heightened with gum arabic, 20.5 x 15.75 inches, platemark. Peter Charles Henderson (d. 1829), Philip Reinagle (1749-1833), Abraham Pether (1756-1812), Sydenham Edwards (after) W. Ward, Elmes, Richard Earlom (1743-1822), James Caldwall (1739-1819), Thomas Sutherland (1785-1838), Medland, Dunkarton, Joseph Constantine Stadler (act. 1780-1812), Warner, Hopwood, Landseer, Burke & Lewis, et al. (engravers)
Philip Reinagle RA (1749 – 27 November 1833) was an English animal, landscape and botanical painter.
This is a large format facsimile of the original - which is something that the publishers specialise in.
This is a very different sort of book about a Flora. The images have a very distinctive style and I recommend people look at what they are like online prior to purchase.
Taschen, as ever, has excellent production values and produces a robust and well produced book. Although this book is expensive, I've always found Taschen to have good value pricing.
Hardcover: 104 pages
Publisher: TASCHEN GmbH; Facsimile Edition edition
Publication date: 25 Feb. 2013
Dimensions: 34.7 x 1.9 x 42.7 cm
Rated an average of 4.4 out of 5* on Amazon.com
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Robert John Thornton. The Temple of Flora from Amazon UK
Robert John Thornton: The Temple of Flora from Amazon.com
Robert John THORNTON
Approx. lifespan: 1768–1837
pens. aged 18 Trinity College adm1786:06:23
Younger s. of Bonnell THORNTON ( Christ Church [Oxford] (1743), of London (and Sylvia BRATHWAITE dau. of John BRATHWAITE )
Sch: Chesterton School CB, [ Cambridgeshire ]
At: Guy's Hospital [ London ] ; also studied abroad and Edinburgh, [ Scotland ]
MD St Andrews, [ Fife ] 1805
Practised in: : London from 1797
Physician: Marylebone dispensary [ London ] where he is said to have introduced the use of digitalis in cases of scarlet fever.
Lecturer on: : medical botany at
Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals Guy's and, [ London ]
Published his New Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus and ruined himself by the lavish scale on which the work was produced. Held a lottery for the benefit of his botanical works 1811
m. and had issue.
Publ.: The Politician's Creed; The Temple of Flora; The Philosophy of Medicine; Facts decisive in Favour of the Cow Pock etc.
d. London 1837:01:21
brother of Bonnell G. THORNTON (1783)
( D.N.B. )
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