This charming, hand-colored engraving is from The Compleat Florist for J. Duke in 1747. The engravings were completed by John Carwitham and published by J. Robinson in London. The work is very rarely posted for sale and has only been seen on the market a few times since 1950. Each plate features copper plate writing describing the plant, growing habits, and the season it blooms.
Samuel Johnson, in 1757, defined a florist as a “cultivater [sic.] of flowers” in both a professional and amateur capacity. This work was aimed at both groups of flower growers, and was intended as an indicator of what was available, fashionable, and the “coming-thing,” whilst also providing the necessary growing instructions. The work was first published in two parts in 1740, and re-issued in the present format in 1747.
All of the plates include a note of when the variety flowers, and they all also include integral engraved text that either gives cultivation instructions, or refers back to a previous plate that features another variety of the same plant. The work is not only beautifully engraved and printed, but also offers an important overview of the varieties that were available to gardeners during mid-18th century, an important time in the history of gardening when systematic classification was taking hold.