Offered together as a pair, these are hand colored stipple engraving botanical prints, one titled "Neottia speciosa", the other "Paonia albaflora", by the highly important Belgian-born botanical artist of the late years of the 18th century and early years of the 19th, PIERRE-JOSEPH REDOUTE (1759-1840). The original drawings from which the images derive were created sometime around 1810. Redoute was renowned in his own time for his skills, patronized by none other than Marie Antoinette and the Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon. Born into an artistic family, he was cataloguing and studying botanical specimens at museums in Paris at a young age. In the course of his career, he executed on the order of 2,100 plates, of over 1,800 different species. Redoute's skills transcended the turbulence of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, with ever-increasing recognition of his work. Today the original drawings of these botanical subjects reside in museums, and the stipple engraving prints, sought after by decorators and collectors, are regarded as among the finest botanical prints ever created. This pair (each 18 3/4" by 12" inside the mats, 24 1/2" by 18 1/2" including them) has traveled without glass, and the condition of both has become degraded. The prints are laid on board and the overmat is affixed permanently. "Paonia" has foxing, soiling, water staining marks and abrasion, while "Neottia" is in somewhat better condition. See photos; I'm allowed only nine images which is insufficient when trying to document condition issues, so please ask for more.
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