This Picture is Framed (one only)
Framed Size: H 700mm x W 580mm
Limited Edition: 195
Special Edition Print by V & A Museum
Samuel Holden was a prolific painter of exotic plants, especially orchids, in the 1830s and 1840s. Holden studied most of them in the private collections of plant enthusiasts and collectors in Great Britain, sometimes annotating his drawings with the location of his specimen. Victorian plant collectors were fanatical about orchids, with some enthusiasts amassing more than 18,000 examples. The Coryanthes species here is annotated 'Chatsworth House', home to William Cavendish (1790 - 1858), Duke of Devonshire. Cavendish developed an interest in horticulture because Chatsworth bordered on the grounds of the Horticultural Society. He began to collect exotic species and Chatsworth became the world's largest collection of orchids at the time.
Holden was employed to create botanical illustrations by the Duke of Devonshire’s head gardener, Joseph Paxton. Holden created a plate from the bucket orchid watercolour, which appears in lithographic form in volume five of Paxton’s publication Paxton’s Magazine of Botany (1838). Paxton writes that the Coryanthes macrantha’s first flowered in Chatsworth in 1837, the same year in which Holden completed his study. This haste to picture the plants reveals a desire to be the first to claim ownership of a particular species. The botanical magazines, where prints of the orchids appeared, acted as a stage upon which wealthy plant-owners could exhibit their exotic plants and generate public interest in them, asserting their position in the world of fashionable botany.