Pear prints by George Brookshaw. From Pomona Britannica, or, a Collection of the Most Esteemed Fruits at Present Cultivated in this Country…. London: T. Bensley, [1804-] 1812. Large folio. Aquatint. Partially printed in color and finished by hand. Very good condition. Framed.
These spectacular and celebrated fruit prints are the ambitious work of George Brookshaw. Brookshaw’s self-proclaimed intention was to “excite in gentlemen themselves a predominant turn and ardour for horticultural pursuits; so that…they may in every instance be able to judge for themselves and to direct…their own gardeners and labourers, instead of being, as they too generally are, the sport of their ignorant pretensions.” To this end he illustrated some 256 varieties of fruit, taken from specimens from the Royal Gardens at Hampton Court, as well as the garden of the Princess of Wales at Blackheath, and several others. The result is an unrivaled production of richly textured peaches, pears, grapes, et al., set against often dark and velvety deep brown and black backgrounds. These prints were done in the heyday of printmaking in London, when aquatints in particular were a fine art. What gives them their enduring prestige is the readily apparent talent and concern that went into their making, leaving us some of the most exciting botanical prints ever created.