REDOUTÉ, After Pierre-Joseph (1759-1840)
Fritillaire Imperiale var. jaune [Crown Imperial Fritillary]
Paris: [C.L.F. Panckoucke, 1827-1833]. Stipple engraving, printed in colours and finished by hand, engraved by Victor. Very good condition apart from some overall light soiling. Trimmed to plate mark on the left side. Sheet size: 12 3/8 x 8 1/2 inches. Plate mark: 10 1/2 x 7 7/8 inches.
A beautiful image from "Choix des Plus Belles Fleurs": one of greatest flower books ever published by the most celebrated flower painter of all time.
Pierre-Joseph Redouté was one of the world's great flower painters. Born into a family that had been painters for at least two generations, Redouté went to Paris in 1782 with his brother where they worked as scene painters for the Théâtre Italien. Redouté painted flowers in his spare time. The search for subjects led him to the Jardin du Roi and eventually to Gerard van Spaendonck who made him an assistant. While at the Jardin du Roi, Redouté came to know Charles-Louis L'Heritier, an amateur botanist and writer of independent means. He gave Redouté a full time job as an illustrator, instructing him in plant anatomy. Redouté's scientific understanding of plants contributed greatly to the clarity of his depictions. But it was Redouté's work in stipple engraving and colour printing that was to be of the greatest importance. Stippling and the application of two or three colour inks to one plate were engraving innovations that Redouté brought to French printmaking, and these were brought to perfection in his three great works: Les Liliacees (1802-1816), Les Roses (1817-1824) and the work from which this image comes Choix des plus belles fleurs... et ... des plus belles fruits which was published in 36 parts with 144 plates between 1827 and 1833. The present image shows Redouté at his most assured, combining the best of his artistic background with his skill as an observer of nature. He writes in the preface to the Choix : ''It is with the benefit of experience, and encouraged by the most flattering approval of naturalists and painters of France and abroad, that I undertook took this most agreeable of botanical works. By ceaseless observation of nature, in its constancy and its variety of forms and colours, I believe that I have reached that synthesis of botanical accuracy, composition and colouration that is essential to produce the perfect image of the plant kingdom.'
Cf. Hunt Redouteana 21; cf. Dunthorne p 235; cf. Great Flower Books (1990), p 129; cf. Nissen BBI 1591; cf. Pritzel 7456; cf. Stafleu & Cowan TL2 8750.