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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Natural History

Dr. Robert John Thornton's Temple of Flora

Thornton: Oblique Leaved BegoniaQuadrangular Passion FlowerSpacer

Quarto Edition

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Prints from Dr. Robert John Thornton's Temple of Flora, or Garden of the Botanist, Poet, Painter and Philosopher. London: R. J. Thornton, 1812. Quarto: 14 1/2 x 11 1/2 (paper size). Aquatints. Full original hand color. Very good condition.

A dramatic series of prints from Dr. Thornton's justifiably famous Temple of Flora. Designed as a grand tribute to the Swedish botanist, Linnaeus, Thornton's opus is considered by many to be the most magnificent botanical work ever produced. The images, which were drawn by a number of artists, have a bold and unique dramatic impact, partly from the elaborate process by which they were made and partly from the use of 'classical' landscapes in the backgrounds. Thornton's prints were first issued in a large folio size around the turn of the century, and then in 1812 Thornton issued a quarto edition. This edition was offered as fourth prize in a lottery authorized by Parliament to repay his debts, though the lottery also failed him in this effort. (Dunthorne, p. 39) Though smaller in size, the quarto prints still have the dramatic scenes and much of the visual impact of their larger siblings. With their varied and striking backgrounds, rich texture and color and fascinating compositions, these are botanicals unlike any others.

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