This beautiful lily print is from The Temple of Flora: New Illustrations of the Sexual System of Linnaeus (1799-1807), considered one of the greatest botanical publications of the early 19th century. Published by Robert John Thornton, The Temple of Flora features vibrant botanical illustrations set against dramatic backdrops filled with historical and mythological references. Thornton employed several artists to illustrate his publication; this work was created by artists Peter Charles Henderson (1791-1829) and Joseph Constantine Stadler (1780-1822).
About the Publisher
Robert John Thornton (1768-1837) was an English physician and lecturer on medical botany. To create these extravagant works, Thornton employed prominent artists who created the paintings for the plates. The plates were then engraved and often finished by hand. Thornton acted not only as publisher but as creative director, dictating the backgrounds and plant selection. The volume depleted Thornton financially, and the original paintings, as well as bound books and loose plates, were sold in a lottery in 1811.