BROOKSHAW, After George (1751-1823)
[Grapes] Royal Muscadine Grape
[Pl. XLVIII] [London]: G. Brookshaw, [1804-1812]. Aquatint engraving, with some stipple, printed in colours and finished by hand. Image size (including text): 17 3/4 x 13 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 22 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches.
A fine image from Brookshaw's masterpiece: 'Pomona Britannica; or, A Collection of the Most Esteemed Fruits'.
George Brookshaw's 'Pomona Britannica' is the finest work on fruit and flowers ever produced. Its breathtaking images display a level of technical virtuosity and beauty that distinguish this magnificent work as a true work of art. As a retired cabinetmaker, Brookshaw produced his seminal botanical study late in his career, at first publishing it in parts and then as a complete edition in 1812. The fact that this outstanding work took ten years to complete is evident in the quality of its images and the care with which Brookshaw executed each individual picture. 'Pomona Britannica' was produced as a visual record of the best available varieties of fruit in an attempt to encourage gardeners to experiment with growing fruit, and illustrates examples found in the Royal gardens at Hampton Court, Kensington Gardens, and the private gardens of the Prince of Wales in Blackheath. 'Pomona Britannica' differs from other botanical works in its dark aquatinted backgrounds and its stylized compositions. By using aquatint to create a contrasting background, Brookshaw manages to produce a truly dramatic effect. His use of stylized composition distinguishes his pictures from the dry scientific illustrations found in other botanical studies and creates an exceptionally beautiful visual experience. 'Pomona Britannica' is not only a didactic study, it is a masterpiece of illustration in which every picture is a testament to the artist's talent and ingenuity.
Cf. Dunthorne 50; cf. Great Flower Books (1990) p. 81; cf. Nissen BBI 244; cf. Sandra Raphael An Oak Spring Pomona 40a.