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Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) & Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778-1841)

Histoire des plantes grasses.

No copyright (public domain)

Pierre Joseph Redouté is probably the most famous floral illustrator. At the end of the 18th century, Charles Louis L’Héritier de Brutelle (1746-1800) proposed to publish the Plantarum historia succulentarum; he asked Redouté to do the plates, and the young Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle was asked by René Louiche Desfontaines (1750-1831) to write the descriptions.

Publication began in 1799. It should have been made of monthly “Livraisons” (fascicles) containing 6 plates each. There were two editions: A standard in-quarto edition (about 260 x 370 mm), and a large in-folio edition of 100 copies (about 500 x 350 mm).

According to Antoine Augustin Renouard (1765-1853), 40 fascicles were envisionned. However, in 1805 after the 28th fascicle (180 plates), a dispute between A. P. de Candolle and the publisher, Garnery, halted the publication although there were several fascicles ready to distribute. The in-quarto edition was resumed in 1829 by Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillemin (1796-1842) who provided 3 new fascicles (19 plates).

According to Stafleu and Cowan, this work is “one of the nightmares of botanical bibliography” because of the various editions and an unknown exact number of plates issued. We propose here a fac-simile of the in-quarto edition containing 169 plates, from various origins (some from the in-quarto edition, others from the in-folio).


Descriptions and plates can also be downloaded as individual jpeg files from the library of Strasbourg University (in French):

1) You will find there for free other old documents concerning plants.
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This project is hosted by cactuspro.com, a web site mainly in French (some pages translated) dedicated to cactus and other succulents.
Cactus and Succulent Plants Digital Library, https://www.cactuspro.com/biblio/