Thursday, February 10, 2011

Georg Ehret's sketchbooks - botanical illustration

Aloe Americana (now identified as Bromelia pinguin) by George Dionysius Ehret
Facsimile of pen, pencil and watercolour sketch 1748
These are a couple of images of sketchbooks by Georg Dioysius Ehret (1708 - 1770). who was regarded by many as the best botanical artist of his day - which was during the golden age of botanical art.  He was responsible for recording many of the newly discovered and exotic plants and flowers brought back to the UK from expeditions overseas.

I came across these sketchbooks in the Images of Nature exhibition at the Natural History Museum.   The exhibition opened on the 21st January and continues until 31st July 2012 - so lots of time to get to see it.
Ehret worked early on with Carl Linnaeus and his style of botanical art is referred to as the Linnean style.
Ehret used sketchbooks to record his plants from life before producing larger paintings in his studio.  In many ways, this practice has remain unchanged since the golden age of botanical art when Ehret painted to the present day.

His notebooks show excellent botanical knowledge and are very good examples of scientific plant illustration done in the field

Sophora Tomentosa by Georg Dionysius Ehret
photo of facsimile of ink, pencil and watercolour sketch 1747
This is what the yellow necklace pod looks like today. Plus this is what a bromelia pinguin looks like

You can watch a video about the early development of botanical art at the Natural History Museum and what started to happen in the seveneteeth century.

I'll be doing more posts about images of nature that you can see in this exhibition.

I also published a new resource for botanical art lovers today - it's about Ehret and will be developed over time. (See link below)



  1. Thanks verymuch for this very interesting post and the Natural History Museum link
    is so usefull!!!!! I went there and look for so many news that I did'nt realise that time was going on.
    Thank you

  2. Thanks for sharing this. As a student of botanical illustration, I love seeing the process revealed in sketchbooks.


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