Oct 2, 2007

The Roses: China or Bengal Rose

The Roses: China or Bengal Rose


Henry Joseph Redouté

(French, 1766–1853)

after Bessin


published by

Pierre-Joseph Redouté

Color stipple with watercolor added by hand

Sheet: 36.5 x 27.3 cm (14 3/8 x 10 3/4 in.); Platemark: 35.3 x 26.1 cm (13 7/8 x 10 1/4 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland, for the Donald Gray Memorial Collection 1943.138

Catalogue raisonné: Dunthorne 229.232



Hailed as the "Raphael of Flowers," Redouté achieved an international reputation for his botanical illustrations in watercolor, which were interpreted in the most refined techniques of stipple engraving and published in lavish portfolios. He was close friends with the empress Joséphine who, after marrying Napoléon Bonaparte in 1795, built an immense hothouse to shelter her magnificent collection of rare and exotic plants and opulent gardens at their country estate, Malmaison. Joséphine also spent vast sums to catalogue her floral collections and so commissioned Redouté to record her 250 different species of roses. Redouté employed a workshop of 18 printmakers to execute the plates, which were inked à la poupée (see glossary) and then retouched with watercolor.

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