Byline: Richard Edmonds
I the annals of collecting, antique flower prints have always held a prominent place. These things are available today at all kinds of prices from pounds 20 for Victorian examples, but getting steadily more expensive as you go back in time.
During the 17th and 18th centuries collectors found delight in their great gardens, furnishing them with plants brought from distant parts of Europe, Asia and the New World.
Naturalists and botanists brought back seeds and specimens and these were worked up by artists, set onto a copper plate then printed in limited hand-coloured editions and often the work of nuns.
They sold like hot cakes because the basic idea was snobbish and that has always appealed to the collector. The idea was to hang your prints in the sitting room while putting the latest treatise on botanical discoveries on your bookshelves. It all increased your reputation as a person of consequence in a period when knowledge was taken seriously. Obviously, it also let the world know that you could afford the best.
But among the greatest of the travelling botanists/artists was …