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Pierre-Joseph Redouté: ‘The Book of Flowers’ displays the finest treasures of the French artist

H Walter Lack’s new book showcases the Raphael of flowers’ most beautiful blooms, transporting the reader to the magnificent greenhouses and gardens of a bygone Paris

Friday 02 March 2018 12:17 GMT
The colour purple: ‘Lilas’ and ‘Bouquet due Pensees’ from the selection of floral masterpieces
The colour purple: ‘Lilas’ and ‘Bouquet due Pensees’ from the selection of floral masterpieces (Taschen)

French flower painter Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) devoted himself exclusively to capturing the diversity of flowering plants in watercolour paintings which were then published as copper engravings, with careful botanical descriptions.

The darling of wealthy Parisian patrons including Napoleon’s wife Josephine, he was dubbed “the Raphael of flowers”, and is regarded to this day as a master of botanical illustration.

The Book of Flowers brings together all engravings from Redouté’s illustrations of roses and his book Choix des plus belles fleurs (selection of the most beautiful flowers), and the most astounding images from The Lilies.

Offering a vibrant overview of Redouté’s admixture of accuracy and beauty, it is also a glimpse into the magnificent gardens and greenhouses of a bygone Paris.


The author, H Walter Lack, is a professor at the Free University of Berlin and former director of the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens and Botanical Museum.

A leading expert in the history of botany, his research focuses on the global transfer of useful and ornamental plants from a cultural-historical perspective. He’s also the author of Taschen’s Garden of Eden and The Book of Palms.

‘The Book of Flowers’ by H Walter Lack. Published by Taschen (£50)

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