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A Set of Six Johann Wilhelm Weinmann Prints of Aloe Plants in Pots,
by Georg Dionysius Ehret,  from the florilegium Phytanthoza iconographia, Circa 1736


A Set of Twelve Johann Wilhelm Weinmann Mezzotint Prints of Aloe Plants in Pots,

by Ehret,

From the florilegium Phytanthoza iconographia,

Circa 1736

Dimensions: 19 1/4 inches x 14 1/2 inches

The rare and wonderful mezzotint prints of exotic plants in various ceramic and metal pots were drawn by the youthful Georg Dionysius Ehret and were printed in color and finished by hand, now framed within a decoupage & églomisé frame.

The following plate numbers are included in this set:

42, 47, 49, 52, 55, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 73, 75.



Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (13 March 1683 Gardelegen, Germany – 1741) employed Georg Dionysius Ehret (see below) as illustrator, who used a newly-developed printing process involving mezzotint, which allowed greater detail and shading, and was finished by hand-colouring. Seuter and Ridinger turned out the first volumes, while Johann Jakob Haid managed the later volumes. Because Phytanthoza iconographia was to become Ehret's first published work, he set about the project with great enthusiasm. After the first 500 plates, Ehret realised that he was receiving a niggardly payment and soon found new employment copying plates, while being able to produce other paintings independently.

Johann Georg Nicolaus Dieterichs (1681–1737) wrote the botanical text for the first twenty-five plates, and was succeeded by his son Ludwig Michael Dieterichs (1716–1747). The work was completed after Weinmann's death by Ambrosius Karl Bieler (1693–1747).

Phytanthoza iconographia is highly regarded for the quality of its colour plates, and the accuracy of its images compared with previous herbals. Weinmann was greatly respected for his writings on medicinal plants and herbs, and Phytanthoza iconographia is recognised as the first important botanical work to use colour engraved prints. The plates for this work were by the engravers Bartholomew Seuter, Johann Elias Ridinger (1698–1767), and Johann Jakob Haid (1704–1767), and were printed using a process invented by Seuter. The descriptions for plates 1-73 were provided by Johann Georg Nicolaus Dieterichs (1681–1737), for plates 76-525 by Ludwig Michael Dieterichs (1716–1769) and Ambrosius Karl Bieler. In 1730 Georg Dionys Ehret (1708–1770) added some drawings, while Herman Boerhaave and Johann Burmann compiled an index for the work.

Georg Dionys Ehret (1708–1770)


Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Georg Dionys Ehret (1708–1770) dominated the field of botanical illustration in the 18th century and is considered to be one of the finest plant illustrators of all time. His illustrative skill and botanical precision led to his involvement with the world’s leading scientists and influential patrons and to his important contributions to many pictorial publications. Born in Heidelberg in 1708, Ehret received drawing lessons from his market-gardener father and worked as a journeyman-gardener. While gardening at the Margrave Karl III Wilhelm’s estate in Baden, he began to paint the garden’s flowers and received attention for his artistic talent. He met German pharmacist and botanist Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (1683–1741) and made nearly 500 paintings for Weinmann’s florilegium Phytanthoza Iconographia (Regensburg, 1737–1745), which contained 1,025 plates illustrating approximately 4,000 native and exotic flowers, fruits, and vegetables cultivated in Germany. Ehret was commissioned by his life-time friend and benefactor, the Nuremberg physician, Christoph Jacob Trew (1695–1769), who produced two of the most beautiful botanical color-plate works, Plantae Selectae (Nuremburg, 1750–1773) and Hortus Nitidissimis (1768–1786), both of which included several reproductions of Ehret’s paintings. In Holland he met Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) and engraved a “tabella” for his new system of plant classification. Through Linnaeus, Ehret met the Dutch banker George Clifford (1685–1760), who commissioned Ehret to illustrate the plants on his estate, and these were included in Linnaeus’ Hortus Cliffortianus (Amsterdam, 1737). Ehret moved to England in 1736 and enjoyed the patronage of the royal physician Dr. Richard Mead (1673–1754), who commissioned him to make drawings for Transactions of the Royal Society. Through his association with Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), founder of the British Museum, Ehret continued to receive commissions to illustrate botanical treatises and scientific journals. He made over 150 paintings for the private collection of the Duchess of Portland, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (1715–1785), and was also much in demand as a teacher of flower painting. Ehret illustrated several travel books and florilegia and was quite prolific, often working on vellum. In 1757 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. He died in London in 1770 at the age of 62.