Lithographs of Australian plants from 19th Century botanical magazines
Original antique prints of Australian flowers from a variety of botanical magazines that appeared in Europe, beginning in England, in the 19th century. Intended for gardeners and horticulturalists, they also catered to the thirst for knowledge about all kinds of subjects that became widespread among the rapidly growing middle class. We would qualify today some of their contributors and readers as botanical scientists but in those days an amateur interest in botany was common.
There had long been a taste among the gentry for decorative plants from distant places but now the search for exotic species became frenetic. Amateur and hired plant collectors scoured the globe and sent their findings back to Europe where, as soon as possible a description was published in one of the botanical magazines with an illustration depicting the plant in bloom, often with closeups of sepals, seeds and other features of botanical interest.
Naturally, plants from New Holland (Australia), which was being explored thoroughly at that time, are frequently illustrated. For many Britons and other Europeans, these illustrations were an important part of what they knew about Australia. You may like to see more botanical prints from this period in our categories Engravings from Curtis and Engravings from other botanical magazines.
Here we have grouped illustrations of Australian plants produced by lithography, a print making process which gradually superseded that of copper engraving -as explained in”print-making terms”.
To see larger images of the full prints, please click on the images below.
The Botanical Magazine founded by William Curtis in February 1787 and more fully described in our category Botany/ Australia /Curtis, was at first illustrated with copper engravings. From about 1835 the new technique of lithography was introduced. For the next almost 50 years, most of the illustrations were produced by Walter Hood Fitch, one of the most celebrated and talented botanical illustrators of the Victorian era. They measure 230 x 120 mm approx.
PC 022 Acacia agyrophylla, plate 4384, 1848. Excellent condition. $A 90
PC 014 Acacia urophylla Plate 4576 1851 $A 80
PC 015 Melaleuca wilsoni Plate 6031. Excellent condition. $A70
Flore des serres et des jardins de l’Europe [Plants of the greenhouses and gardens of Europe] appeared monthly for almost 40 years from 1845. It was founded and part-edited by Louis van Houtte, the proprietor of the largest nursery of its time on the continent. The magazine was printed inside his garden in Ghent, Belgium, where the plants it illustrated were for sale. The lithographers included the famous Belgian artists of his day, Severeyns, Stroobant and De Pannemaker. 215x120mm. Excellent condition.
PA 022 Epacris miniata. Plate No ll, 182 . 215 x 120 mm. $A 60
PA 023 Correa cardinalis. 215 x 120 mm. $A 80
PA 024 Phyllocladus hypophylla (From Tasmania). 215 x 130 mm. $A 80
PA 025 Epacris miniata by Stroobant from . 215 x 140 mm. $A 80
PA 019 Livinstona humilis by Stroobant from 1868. 220 x 145 mm. $A 40
PA 026 Grevillea alpestris by Stroobant from 1859. 240 x 150 mm. $A 80