The Temple of Flora

August 4–December 10, 2017
European Art Galleries, Level 2, Gallery S202

Fifteen large-scale color prints from the illustrated book The Temple of Flora (1812) reflect the true passion of English doctor John Robert Thornton: botany. The plants pictured are dramatically rendered and set against romantic landscapes—as opposed to the plain backgrounds that were typical of botanical images at the time. In honor of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), Thornton had hired eminent artists to produce the engravings, which later inspired American artist Jim Dine (b. 1935). Dine’s illustrated book from 1984 is featured alongside the prints.

  • Richard Earlom (English, 1743–1822), After Philip Reinagle (English, 1749–1833), Tulips, from the book The Temple of Flora, or Garden of Nature, Being Picturesque Botanical Plates of the New Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus, by Dr. Robert John Thornton, published May 1, 1798. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Pabst Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Starr III in memory of Mrs. Carl Eberbach. Photo by John R. Glembin.