The Magnificent Flora Graeca
How the Mediterranean Came to the English Garden
Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
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.
1. Never in beauty surpassed: a flower among Florae
2. Gentleman and student: John Sibthorp
3. Order out of chaos: Sibthorp's botanical framework
4. A future Source of Fame: planning the Flora
5. Soon to tread Classick Ground: Sibthorp sets out
6. Thro' Perils and Dangers: Sibthorp in the Ottoman Empire
7. Surpass all that I have seen: Bauer's illustrations for the Flora
8. A prudent Man with a beautiful Mistress: Sibthorp and Bauer
9. Never suffered so much in my Life: Sibthorp's second journey
10. Dreamed not of dying: making the Flora
11. The fame of our deceased friend: the legacy of the Flora Graeca