Berlese Pl. 96, Camellia Belle Sophie
Original Antique Print
13 1/2" x 10 3/8" (approximate)
Hand-colored stipple engraving
Iconographie du Genre Camellia
Produced from 1839—1843 by Lorenzo Berlèse (1784—1863), the greatest 19th-century scholar on the subject of camellias, Iconographie du Genre Camellia comprises 300 partly hand-colored plates. Engraved by Dumenil, Gabriel and Oudet and printed in Paris by N. Rémond, the subtlety and coloring of these plates is comparable in many ways to Redouté’s Les Roses. Beautiful in groupings of four, six, or eight images, the camellias vary in color from ruby red to pink, white, and variegated.
Camellias reached their peak in popularity in Europe between 1825 and 1870, during which time an enormous number of the seedlings obtained by crossing variants of Camellia japonica were raised and named, primarily by the Abbé Berlèse and two Belgian nurserymen. The most important and definitive work on camellias, Iconographie du Genre Camellia ou Description et Figures des Camellia Les Plus Beaux et Les Plus Rares depicts 300 varieties of camellias grown in the Berlèse's gardens and hothouses. Born in Campo Molino, for most of his career the wealthy Italian abbot worked in France where he studied, cultivated, and wrote about camellias. Drawings for these extremely rare, fine stipple engravings were made by the German artist Johann Jakob Jung (1819—1844).
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