Abbe Laurent Berlese

Abbé Laurent Berlèse was the greatest 19th-century scholar on the subject of camellias, which reached peak popularity in the mid-19th century as new variants were cultivated. Born in northern Italy, Berlèse pursued his vocation as a chaplain and moved to Paris where he cultivated camellias. As his gardens grew with new and hybrid camellias, Berlèse recognized the need to document and record the camellia varietals. In response to this need for a camellia index, Berlèse published Iconographie du genre Camellia (1839) containing 300 hand-colored stipple engravings of the flower varietals.