Lot 11161: Thornton - The Oblique-leaved Begonia

Lot 11161: Thornton - The Oblique-leaved Begonia

Est: $2,500 - $3,500
Sold: $2,050

Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books

August 17, 2019 11:00 AM EST
Franklin, TN, US

More About This Item


Item Overview

Description: This dramatic folio botanical engraving is from Dr. Robert John Thornton’s work New Illustration of the Sexual System of...Linnaeus. Comprehending...The Temple of Flora. The work was published in London by between 1799 and 1807. Each engraving was made using stipple, mezzotint, and aquatint processes and feature hand-coloring heightened with gum Arabic.

Thornton’s engravings featured an uncommon composition in which the subject was seen oversized in relation to the background giving the plates a theatrical presence. Temple of Flora is often considered the greatest achievement in British botanical art. Thornton employed some of the foremost artists to create the plates included Peter Charles Henderson, Philip Reinagle, Abraham Pether, and Sydenham Edwards. Richard Earlom, James Caldwall, Thomas Sutherland, and Joseph Constantine Stadler were the engravers for Temple of Flora.

Thornton's The Temple of Flora is the greatest English colour-plate flower book. "...[Thornton] inherited a competent fortune and trained as a doctor. He appears to have had considerable success in practice and was appointed both physician to the Marylebone Dispensary and lecturer in medical botany at Guy's and St. Thomas's hospitals. But quite early in his career he embarked on his...great work. What Redouté produced under the patronage of L'Héritier, Marie Antoinette, the Empress Josephine, Charles X, and the Duchesse de Berry, Thornton set out to do alone...Numerous important artists were engaged...twenty-eight paintings of flowers commissioned from Abraham Pether, known as `Moonlight Pether,' Philip Reinagle, ...Sydenham Edwards, and Peter Henderson...The result...involved Thornton in desperate financial straits...In an attempt to extricate himself he organized the Royal Botanic Lottery, under the patronage of the Prince Regent...It is easy to raise one's eyebrows at Thornton's unworldly and injudicious approach to publishing...But he produced...one of the loveliest books in the world." (Alan Thomas, Great Books and Book Collecting, pp.142-144)

About this image:

"Begonias as we see them in glasshouse and garden today are a modern development unknown in Thornton's time, when a few species had been introduced to Europe. The particular species he chose for this picture, Begonia nitidia [Dryander], had not long been brought in from Jamaica by Sir Joseph Banks. Regarded as a fine plant then, there was as yet no hint of the important part it was to play one hundred years later in the breeding of the modern small-flowered bedding begonias, Begonis semperflorens. Historically, this picture is of interest as showing a basic species almost at the time it was originally introduced. It is itself an attractive plant with a smooth shiny stem and large glossy green leaves. The way its parts shine, reflecting what light there is, is such an outstanding characteristic of the plant that it provided part of its botanical name: the epithet nitidia means `shining'. That characteristic was superbly captured by the painter Philip Reinagle... and skilfully reproduced by the engraver Caldwell... It is one of Thornton's most attractive and beautiful plates." (Ronald King. The Temple of Flora by Robert Thornton. 1981, p.76).

Dimensions: ~ 16 1/2" by 22"

Artist or Maker: Robert John Thornton

Medium: Large Folio Mezzotint and Aquatint Engravings Printed in Color and Colored by Hand (at time of printing)

Date: 1799-1807

Condition Report: Overall Excellent. There is some faint soiling in the margins. There is a small chip at the upper left corner well outside the plate mark. There may be a few minor imperfections to be expected with age. Please review the image carefully for condition and contact us with any questions.

Literature: Temple of Flora

Payment & Shipping

Accepted forms of payment: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Paypal, Visa, Wire Transfer

Shipping: Shipping is handled within 1-3 business days of completed payment. Shipping is billed after the sale based on customers choice of service. We ship via USPS and FedEx and calculate based on the total package weight and destination. All shipments are insured, though to provide this some services may be required when shipping outside of the United States. We're glad to provide quotes and options of services.<br /> The buyer is responsible for paying the customs fees, duties, import taxes, and any related charges. Customs can cause delays in arrival of your shipment, which the seller has no control over. Please consider these charges and delays when making your purchase.<br />

Auction Details

Fine Art - Antique Engravings & Lithographs - Works on Paper

By Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books

August 17, 2019, 11:00 AM EST

Franklin, TN, US

Terms

Buyer's Premium

10.0%
From:To:Increment:
$0$99$5
$100$299$10
$300$699$25
$700$1,249$50
$1,250+$100

Shipping Terms: Shipping is handled within 1-3 business days of completed payment. Shipping is billed after the sale based on customers choice of service. We ship via USPS and FedEx and calculate based on the total package weight and destination. All shipments are insured, though to provide this some services may be required when shipping outside of the United States. We're glad to provide quotes and options of services.<br /> The buyer is responsible for paying the customs fees, duties, import taxes, and any related charges. Customs can cause delays in arrival of your shipment, which the seller has no control over. Please consider these charges and delays when making your purchase.<br />

Taxes: Tax is applied to TN state purchases at a rate of 9.25%.