The Maggot-bearing Stapelia.
London Published July 1, 1801, by Dr. Thornton, Hinde Street.
Aquatint with some stipple & line, printed in colours, hand-finished. 530 x 400mm, 20¾ x 16". Smith watermark Tears repaired.
Stapelia hirsuta L. or Carrion Flower, from Dr Robert John Thornton's 'Temple of Flora' 1799-1807, considered by many to be the greatest English colour-plate flower book, and the first series of flower prints to show the plant within a habitat. Here this South African plant is shown in an almost alpine environment. Hiding underneath is a snake. Thornton (1768-1837) was an English physician and botanical writer. At Trinity College, Cambridge he turned away from the church towards medicine, having been inspired by the works of Linnaeus and Thomas Martyn's lectures. He went on to work at Guy's Hospital, London, where he later lectured in medical botany. Ht took some time off to travel abroad, which is when he began his ambitious work, the 'Temple of Flora', for which he produced a total of 33 coloured plates. His original plan was to publish seventy folio-size plates, however the lack of public interest spelled disaster and Thornton died in poverty.
Dunthorne: p. 250, state ii of ii.
[Ref: 19482] £450.00