Buc'hoz (1783)

Pierre Joseph Buc'hoz


One of the library’s most colourful floras was published in Paris in 1783 by Pierre Joseph Buc’hoz with the title Herbier colorie de l’amerique, representant les plantes les plus rares et les plus curieuses qui se trouvant dans cette partie du monde. It is a collection of 100 attractive plates with no accompanying text, bound in wine-red leather. G.Dunthorne, in his Flower and Fruit Prints of the 18th and Early 19th Centuries, describes the book as extremely rare.

Some of its large folio paintings may be rather over coloured, but many are delicately done, including the Passiflora Polignacia (an unresolved name). Sadly, Buc’hoz never enjoyed the good repute he always felt he deserved. His more than three hundred books on botany, medicine, mineralogy, agriculture, ornithology etc, were scorned by the critics and cold-shouldered by the public. He was described as an ignoramus and a plagiarist. Yet though he may have contributed little to knowledge, he did succeed in creating works of great beauty which today are much admired.