A Johann Wilhelm Weinman Engraving of The Aloe Plant --Aloe Africana serrata humilis folio,
Frame: 21 1/2 inches x 16 1/4 inches.
Plate 68 Aloe Africana serrata humilis folio ex albo et viridi variegato
In the Great Flower Books, Satcheverall Sitwell refers to this set as the "pioneering work of botanical prints engraved to be inked in color."
The following is an informative background to the subject from http://www.georgeglazer.com/prints/nathist/botanical/weinmann/wein-main.html.
Weinmann produced one of the most comprehensive and finest sets of botanicals ever. His background as an apothecary is evident in the composition and style of the prints, which are at once scientific (almost herbal/medicinal), and beautifully decorative as well. He used mezzotint to achieve subtle tonal variations of leaves and flower petals. In the Great Flower Books, Satcheverall Sitwell refers to this set as the "pioneering work of botanical prints engraved to be inked in color." Many of the superb plates of this important florilegium are engraved after drawings by the eminent botanical artist Georg Dionysus Ehret, though only a few are signed. A vast number of species are displayed -- over 4,000 plants and flowers depicted on 1,025 plates.
Johann Wilhelm Weinmann was an influential pharmacist and botanist, director of the longest established pharmacy in Regensburg . He employed Ehret, who was then in his twenties, to make the drawings in Regensburg, many of which were engraved with a recently-developed printing process combining etching and mezzotint, allowing fine detail and subtle shading, which was enhanced by the hand-coloring. Seuter, who helped finance the project, and Ridinger, did the first volumes, while Johann Jakob Haid handled the later volumes
The botanical descriptions for the first twenty-five plates was written by Johann Georg Nicolaus Dieterichs (1681-1737), who was succeeded by his son Ludwig Michael (1716-1747), and the work was completed after Weinmann's death by Ambrosius Karl Bieler (1693-1747).
Phytanthoza Iconographia was an important and valuable 18th-century compendium of botanical studies, which inspired other works including the Japanese botanical works Honzo Zufu (1828) by Tsunemasa Iwasaki and Somoku-dzusetsu (1856) by Yokusai Iinuma.
Georg Dionysus (G.D.) Ehret was the dominant influence in botanical art during the 18th century. He was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and trained as a gardener. He became the protégé of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, who hired him to design and draw plans for town and palace gardens at Karlsruhe and make paintings of his flowers. After leaving the Margrave's employ, he made his way to Regensburg, where he met Johann Wilhelm Weinmann. Ehret was engaged to produced drawings for Phythanoza Iconographia, which became hist first published works. Upon producing the first 500 drawings, he had a dispute with Weinmann over the considerably low payment he was given, and obtained a new position copying plates for another patron, while also working independently on new paintings.
About this time, Ehrets talents were recognized by Dr. Jakob Trew of Nuremberg, who became his lifelong patron and friend. With Trew's backing, Ehret was able to leave his copying job. He travelled through Europe, eventually passing through Leiden in 1736, where he met the eminent naturalist Linnaeus, and then went to England, where he remained the rest of his life. In London, he had a busy and successful career as a painter and instructor, obtaining numerous commissions from aristocratic patrons with several duchesses and countesses among his pupils. He produced an important body of botanical paintings, including plates for a number of florilegia and travel books, notably Trew's Plantae Selectae (1750-73) and Hortus Nitidissimis (1750-86) and his own publication, Plantae Paliliones Rariores (1748-59). Ehret was multitalented; he often made the original drawings and engraved his own plates. In 1757, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. His works today are represented in many important museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Natural History Museum.
Full title of work: Phytanthoza Iconographia, sive conspectus aliquot millium, tam indigenarum quam exoticarum, ex quatuor mundi partibus...plantarum, arborum, fruticum, florum, fructuum, fungorum, &c.
German title: Phythanthoza Iconographia, oder eigentliche Vorstellung etlicher Tausend so wohl einheimisch-als ausländischer aus allen vier Welt-Theilen, in Verlauf vieler Jahr mit unermüdetem Fleisz... Pflanzen, Baüme, Stauden, Kraüter, Blumen, Früchte und Schwämme...
English translation (approximate): Phythanthoza Iconographia, or comprehensive survey of thousands of native and foreign plants, from all four corners of the world, the result of many years of tireless study... Plants, Trees, Shrubs, Herbs, Flowers, Fruits and Mushrooms...
Blunt, Wilfred, rev. by Stearn, William T. The Art of Botanical Illustration. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors Club, 1994. pp. 25, 154-55, 159-166, 181.
"Johann Wilhelm Weinmann." Bibliopoly. http://www.polybiblio.com/watbooks/2133.html (22 March 2004).
Sitwell, Satcheverall and Blunt, Wilfred. Great Flower Books: 1700-1900. London: Collins, 1956. pp. 151, 166.
Nissen 2126; Dunthorne 327; cf. Hunt p. 494; Pritzel 10140; Stafleu/Cowan Tl2 17.050; cf. Bridson. Printmaking in the Service of Botany. 29.
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