||HOOKER, William (1779-1832)
La Bourdine [Peach]
London: W. Hooker, -1818. Aquatint and stipple engraving, printed in colour and carefully coloured by Hooker after his own drawings. Very good condition apart from some overall light soiling. Image size (including text): 10 7/8 x 7 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 13 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches.
This fine plate comes from Hooker's important pomological work 'Pomona Londinensis', which contains "among the best of all fruit prints" (Dunthorne) by an artist whose work is "equal or even superior to paintings of fruit by the great Pierre-Joseph Redouté." (Stearn)
William Stearn writes in the introduction to Hooker's Finest Fruits (London: 1997, p.18), that Pomona Londinensis includes "possibly the finest illustrations of fruit ever published, so lifelike and appetising that one almost feels that they could be picked off the plate, so beautiful that they stand as works of art in their own right."
A prominent 19th-century English botanist, William Hooker (no relation to Sir William) served as official botanical artist to the Horticultural Society (now the Royal Horticultural Society) from 1812 until he retired in 1820. According to Blunt and Stearn, he was "one of the greatest pomological artists of all time." (The Art of Botanical Illustration, 1990, p. 233). Hooker's aim was to select those variants possessing distinctive qualities. "Growers round London provided him with fine samples, particularly Mr Padley in charge of the gardens at Hampton Court Palace...He also illustrated fruits grown in Brompton, Highgate, Isleworth, Kew, Marylebone, Paddington, Richmond, Thames Ditton and Twickenham in London area and others from Elton in Gloucestershire, Newington in Kent and Wallington in Northumberland." (Stearn, op. cit., p.18)
Cf. Bradley Bibliography III, p. 78; cf. Nissen BBI 913; cf. Dunthorne 139; cf.Great Flower Books (1990), p. 103; cf. Raphael, An Oak Spring Pomona, p. 42; cf. Janson, Pomona's Harvest: An Illustrated Chronicle of Antiquarian Fruit Literature, p. 299; cf. Stearn & Roach, Hooker's Finest Fruits.