We are honored to offer a selection of superb hand
colored folio engravings from the first edition of Flora
Londinensis by William Curtis. These first edition prints are
the rarest of Curtis's large-scale prints.
This comprehensive and elegant work was Curtis’
masterpiece and the first comprehensive study of the
flora of England. The artists included the inimitable
James Sowerby, Sydenham Teak Edwards, Francis Sansom &
William Kilburn, all in their salad days, when the sap
ran strong & creative!
Born in Alton in 1746, William Curtis early on left
an apprenticeship at an apothecary to pursue the passion
which unites us all, the love of plants. Out of this
love came the Flora Londinensis, which, though
highly acclaimed by his fellow naturalists, was not a
financial success. Curtis had labored on this work for
over ten years, selling it out of his own home. He
finally came to the understanding that a work of showy &
bright exotic plants would be more likely to succeed
with the general public than images of the wayside &
woodland plants of England. Thus was born, in 1787, the
Botanical Magazine, which Curtis called his
“pudding” as it earned him sustenance, rather than the
unremunerative praise of the Flora Londinensis.
We have faith that time has allowed us to developed a
much greater appreciation of this seminal work.
(References: Sotheby's 1987 Catalog, pg. 140 & Blunt,
The Art of Botanical Illustration, 1950, pg. 184-185)