Peter Henderson, lithograph print, ca. 1800. Gift of Nancy Mitchell in honor of her late husband John C. Mitchell II.

The White Lily with Variegated Leaves

Artwork not currently on view.

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 painted by popular botanical artist Peter Charles Henderson (1791-1829).


About the Publisher

Robert John Thornton (1768-1837) was an English physician and lecturer on medical botany. Thornton employed prominent artists to produce this sumptuous publication, including Philip Reinagle, Peter Henderson and Abraham Pether. These artists created the paintings for the plates, which 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.

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