Oct 2, 2007



c. 1680–95

Jean-Baptiste I Monnoyer

(French, c. 1636–1699)

Etching and engraving, hand colored

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland in honor of Mrs. William G. Mather 1955.467

Catalogue raisonné: Robert-Dumesnil Vol. III.231-232



Seventeenth-century botanical illustrators were stimulated by a surge of interest in their subject. While in the mid-16th century only 500 plants were known, less than a century later that number had grown to 6,000. A passion for cultivating beautiful rather than useful plants took hold, and formal gardens with carefully arranged flower beds based on embroidery designs supplemented varieties of local plants with foreign samples. Exotic flowers became available in Europe as the Dutch founded colonies in the East and West Indies, South America, and India. While fabulous royal gardens were planted in France at Fontainebleau and the Louvre, for instance, in England “a whole nation went mad about flowers.”

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