Roses and Redouté

by doconversationsblog

Another guest post by Summer Intern Jasmine Casart.  Jasmine worked in the Rare Book Collection to help plan an exhibit that will accompany this fall’s symposium, “The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century.”  Learn more here.

Dumbarton Oaks is home to a beautiful rose garden that contains about 900 roses of over 50 cultivars.  The west wall of the rose garden contains the crypt of Robert and Mildred Bliss, forever overlooking the land and flowers they loved.  Many of the garden’s cultivars—like Cecile Brunner and Lady Hillingdon—have been growing in the garden since the 1920s, while others—like hybrids Buff Beauty and Chrysler Imperial—are more recent additions.  To mark the end of summer, we share here some photographs of indoor roses, the particularly hardy variety that lives in books.

Rosa eglanteria punicea (Redoute. Les Roses. Vol. 1, plate 72)

Rosa eglanteria punicea (Redoute. Les Roses. Vol. 1, plate 72)

Known as “the Raphael of Flowers,” Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) was one of the most talented botanical illustrators of his era, creating illustrations of value to both science and art.  He worked for France’s Jardin du Roi as well as for botanists like Charles Louis L’Héritier and René Desfontaines, drawing botanical specimens for the classification and organization of the growing body of plants known to European naturalists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  His work was so entrancing that he secured the admiration and patronage of both Marie-Antoinette and Joséphine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon I.

Rosa gallica (volume 2, plate 30)

Rosa gallica (volume 2, plate 30)

In 1817, Redouté published Les Roses, a collection of his illustrations of the roses in  Joséphine’s garden at Malmaison.  The folio work created enough interest that, in 1824, an octavo edition was produced.  Although the names and cultivars have changed in the two centuries since, roses and rose gardens continue to capture the imagination and appreciation of artists, royalty, and scholars alike.

Rosa gallica regalis (Volume 2, plate 20)

Rosa gallica regalis (Volume 2, plate 20)

Rosa alba cimboefolia (Volume 2, plate 48)

Rosa alba cimboefolia (Volume 2, plate 48)

Rosa indica cruenta (volume 1, plate 124)

Rosa indica cruenta (volume 1, plate 124)

Sources:

Hunt Botanical Library. A Catalogue of Redoutéana Exhibited at the Hunt Botanical Library 21 April to 1 August 1963. Pittsburgh: Hunt Botanical Library, Carnegie Institute of Technology, 1963.

Redouté, P.J. Les Roses. Paris: de l’Imprimerie de Firmin Didot, 1817-1824.

“The Rose Garden.” Dumbarton Oaks. http://www.doaks.org/gardens/virtual-tour/enclosed-gardens/ggr-virtual-tour-15 Accessed August 2013.