Hyacinths

Sydenham Teast Edwards (1769 - 1819)
Thomas Warner

Colour aquatint and engraving

1 June 1801
  • About the work
    Location
    Country: Canada
    City: Ottawa
    Place: British High Commission

    This illustration is from botanical author Dr Robert John Thornton’s great work: ‘New Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus’ (1799-1807). Thornton spared no expense in the production of his lavish publication, better known by its 1804 title ‘The Temple of Flora’. Although based on a dissertation about the sexes of plants by Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Thornton added his own notes before publishing the work in parts. ‘Temple of Flora’ was the most sumptuous botanical publication ever produced. Thornton, who had trained as a dentist, practised botanical painting himself but only included one of his own designs, ‘Roses’, within the work. He commissioned several artists, including Philip Reinagle, Peter Henderson and Abraham Pether, to produce illustrations set against landscapes or allegoric backgrounds. In some instances the backgrounds do not relate to the flowers depicted. For example, Reinagle’s illustration of the JamaicanNight-Blooming Cereus’ is set against a moonlit view of an English church tower. The high production costs of the publication led to financial disaster for Thornton and he died in poverty.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Warner was a line and mixed-method engraver of plates for Dr. Thornton’s ‘Temple of Flora’. He also produced small bookplates.
  • Explore
    Places
    Subjects
    hyacinth
    Materials & Techniques
    engraving, aquatint, colour aquatint
  • Details
    Title
    Hyacinths
    Date
    1 June 1801
    Medium
    Colour aquatint and engraving
    Dimensions
    height: 53.00 cm, width: 41.00 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Frank T Sabin, November 1959
    GAC number
    5032