Cavanilles (1791)

Antonio Josef Cavanilles


From the last decade of the eighteenth-century comes a flora of Spain. Published in Madrid (1791-1801), with the text in Latin, it is Icones et descriptions plantarumby Antonio Josef Cavanilles (1745-1804). The complete work is in six volumes of which the RBLA has only the first.

Both text and drawings are by Cavanilles. The 100 large illustrations, one plant per page, are artistic as well as true to life, and very good on detail such as hairs on stems or the dissected parts of flowers meticulously drawn at the foot of each page. It may be true, as critics have said, that some of the drawings are stiff, but on the whole this is a lovely book to handle, especially if you place a high value on clarity in botanical illustration. This present illustration is of Mentzelia Aspera.