The complete reprint of all color plates from Robert John Thornton's monumental work The Temple of Flora, first published in London in 1799. Presented as 35 loose-leaf Elephant folio-sized color prints as well as a booklet including an introduction and the original texts of the 31 botanical plates
The year 1799 witnessed the first installment of a work that has gone down in history as one of the most remarkable books of botanical plates ever published. Two centuries have passed since the publication of Robert John Thornton's The Temple of Flora, but its charm remains unsullied today. Although trained as a medical doctor, Thornton (c. 1768 1837) passionately devoted himself to botany, a study that had only a few decades earlier established itself as a modern science through Carl Linnaeus`s revolutionary new system of botanic classification based on the structure of blossoms. Thornton greatly honored the ingenious Swedish scientist and wished his own prodigious undertaking to serve as an ultimate monument to the great botanist.
Today, Thornton`s large-format plates with their allegorical depictions and stunning floral portraits number among supreme achievements of botanical illustration. Thornton engaged the most renowned flower painters of his age and spared no cost in the creation of this unique work. His reckless enthusiasm, however, reduced his originally considerable fortune so drastically that, sanctioned by Parliament, Thornton had to organize a botanical lottery in order to bring his spectacular project to a provisional end. Surviving complete editions of the Temple number today among the great treasures of only a few libraries; meanwhile, the individual plates have become sought-after and extremely expensive collectors` items, whose particular allure lies in their unusual combination of at times exotic plant motifs with highly romantic background landscapes. More than any other floral painting, the bewitchingly illuminated blossoms of the "Queen Plant," posed before darkening ruins, expresses the late 18th century sentiment that in the following decades found its characteristic expression in European Romantic literature and painting. Including all the plates of the Temple of Flora as loose-leaf color prints, this large-format edition represents a consummate reprint of the work. In addition to the botanical and cultural historical explanations of the individual plate illustrations, the volume narrates the history of the origin of the work and the life of its author. This resplendent reprint has been made from one of the finest complete original copies, belonging to the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.
TASCHEN s Temple of Flora consists of the following, packaged in a presentation case:
a 44-page booklet including author Werner Dressendörfer s introduction as well as the texts of the 31 botanical plates
33 loose-leaf Elephant folio-sized color prints for browsing or framing