Stemming from exploration and scientific documentation, botanical art is a specialized genre of fine art that focuses on the accurate and detailed depiction of plants, flowers, and other botanical subjects. Capturing the beauty of the natural world, it remains a respected and influential genre that serves both scientific and aesthetic purposes and serves as a testament to humanity's enduring fascination with the natural world.
To behold a print from Florilegium, is to behold history. In 1768 the Voyage of The H.M.S. Endeavour set sail across the Pacific. Aboard were a crew of ninety-four men, including Captain Cook and his botanist Joseph Banks. Their mission was scientific - to discover and record specimens of the earth. When he returned to England, Banks had the watercolours engraved onto copper plates by dear friend and esteemed engraver Daniel MacKenzie. This was an expensive and labour intensive activity. Yet somehow, these exquisite copper plates were never printed, rather they languished in the collection of the British Museum of Natural History.
This failure to publish had long been regarded as one of the tragedies of science. That was until two-hundred years later. In 1980, the British Museum of Natural History brought Banks back to life. Using his original eighteenth century copper plates and a technique called ‘A la poupee’, all 734 studies were printed in editions of 100, and later hand-coloured in fine detail. Art & Collectors is pleased to be able to offer you a selection of these breathtakingly detailed engravings - printed from the original copper plates from the 1770s.
Banks’ Florilegium is about more than flora. Stemming from a voyage marred by death, destruction and disease, these works are somehow wondrous. Effervescent and elegant, Florilegium is an encounter with history, art and the natural world. The director of the Natural Museum doubts whether they will ever reprint Florilegium. Instead, the limited series is a rare portal between early and contemporary Australasia. We encourage both burgeoning and established collectors to behold this iridescent series. Luminous, exquisite and sure to be treasured.