Various ornamental garden flowers illustrated as botanical studies. Notable are the auriculas, showy flowers in the genus Primula that typically have large bulls-eye centers ringed with colorful petals. The first varieties of auriculas appeared in European gardens in the mid sixteenth century. It became a hugely popular garden flower during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, grown and perfected for displays and competitions. The set also includes beautiful carnations, tulips, and other flowers. The Florist's Guide and Cultivator's Directory was initially published as a periodical, which was a common practice for botanical collections in the 19th century.
Robert Sweet was trained as a gardener to wealthy landowners and was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1812. He worked in a series of plant nurseries between 1810 and 1826, and began publishing botanical books on British plants, and edited periodicals on geraniums and the cistus (rock-rose) family. During the years between 1826 and 1831 he concentrated on producing botanical works, while continuing to cultivate plants in his own garden for sale. The botanical genus Sweetia was named in his honor by De Candolle in 1825.
Edwin Dalton Smith, of Chelsea, was a British botanical artist who worked for Robert Sweet's Flower Garden, Geraniaceae, Flora Australisca and other publications, and for Maund's Botanic Garden. The botanical historian Wilfred Blunt calls Smith, a "considerable artist of small-scale work" who produced finely executed paintings with jewel-like color.
J. Watts was a 19th-century British etcher and engraver who produced a number of botanical works.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Original colors vibrant.
"A Short History of Florists' Auriculas." National Auricula and Primula Society: Midland and West Section. 2 January 2004. http://www.auriculaandprimula.org.uk/auriculas.html (20 January 2004).
Blunt, Wilfred, rev. by Stearn, William T. The Article of Botanical Illustration. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors Club, 1994. p. 248.