Botanical Art

Ranging from antique florilegiums to modern plant illustrations, our collection of botanical art spans the 17th – 21st centuries and documents plants from around the globe. The representation of plants throughout time has served a multitude of purposes including both functional and decorative uses. The advent of botany begins with the visual cataloging of plants and herbs for pharmacological purposes to aid users in identifying specimens for their medicinal value. Likewise, in Early Modern Europe, as empires expanded, this collecting and cataloging impulse continued but with the intention of importing, naming, and placing foreign plants within a European taxonomy. Additionally, during the Victorian era, botanicals served as a modest and respectable subject matter for female artists to pursue. Today, some botanical artists use their works to visualize endangered plant ecosystems. The botanical artists carried in our collection include Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Maria Sibylla Merian, Basilius Besler, Margaret Mee and many others.