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The publishing of the Flora Graeca was a landmark event in 1830. Only 25 copies were published, due to the book's size of 10 double folio volumes and its numerous illustrations, and it cost over £620, a colossal sum at the time. The Flora Graeca brought together beautiful renderings of the fruits of the travels of British scientist John Sibthorp, who made multiple trips to the eastern Mediterranean in the early nineteenth century to collect a rich array of exotic floral specimens. Now The Magnificent Flora Graeca chronicles Sibthorp's immense undertaking, including brilliant selections from his groundbreaking volume.
The story of the expeditions of Sibthorp and his renowned illustrator Ferdinand Bauer is a tale replete with larger-than-life characters and adventures on land and sea. Harris profiles the lives of Sibthorp, Bauer, and other leading characters, and explores the Flora Graeca's rich cultural and scientific legacy. Sibthorp's pioneering adventures unearthed floral specimens previously unknown to science, as he collected the originals of such popular garden flowers as the Crocus flavus ssp. flavus, the parent of the Golden Yellow; and Cyprus's Cyclamen persicum, the parent of the widely grown garden cyclamens species.
This new volume, drawn from photographs of Sibthorp's remarkably well-preserved specimens and luminous reproductions of the original watercolors and engravings by Bauer, features more images from the Flora Graeca than have ever been published since its first printing.
A fascinating treasure of floral wonders, The Magnificent Flora Graeca is an essential addition to the bookshelf for the plant lover or anyone curious about the natural history behind their beloved garden retreats.
Stephen Harris is Druce Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria, a University Research Lecturer and a Governing Body Fellow of Green Templeton College.
' A phenomenal book ...' Fernando E. Vega, The Quarterly Review of Biology