Apr 23rd, 2016

The Prince’s Florilegium

Highgrove Florilegium Comes to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The prince of wales with the Highgrove floregium.
The Prince of Wales is an organic gardener. He practices organic, sustainable methods at his comfortable country home, Highgrove House, Gloucestershire, UK.  Charles made the property his home in 1980 and has created a “centre of excellence for organic farming and gardening, as well as an acknowledged haven for wildlife.”*

botanical illustration of Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria' by Valerie Bradburn, UK.

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ by Valerie Bradburn, UK. Image courtesy of Addison Publications.

 Cyathea australis by Bevely Allen, Australia. Image courtesy of of Addison Publications.

Cyathea australis by Bevely Allen, Australia. Image courtesy of of Addison Publications.

Florilegia, or collections of botanical illustrations, date back hundreds of years to the first herbals in the 15th century.   Interest in florilegia has flourished anew in the 21st century and it was suggested to the Prince of Wales that a florilegium of the plants at Highgrove would be both a celebration of his garden and an archival record of the plant collection.  Charles hosts the School of Traditional Arts  and he thought that the florilegium would be useful in the teaching of botanical art.

A list of plants to be painted was sent to artists all over the world. Artists submitted watercolor paintings for consideration.  The works of 72 artists were selected through a rigorous process, resulting in the first English royal florilegium, Highgrove Florilegium.

175 sets were printed: volume 1 in 2008 with 61 images and volume 2 in 2009 with 63 images. The Prince received the first numbered copy of each volume. All proceeds from book sales benefit The Prince’s Charities Foundation.

So how did Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden come to have an exhibit of this royal florilegium?

Addison Publications published Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands  several years ago and when the Garden hosted the annual meeting of the Council on Botanical and Horticulture Libraries in 2014, they offered us this display. It is our pleasure to host a collection of very fine botanical works to compliment our permanent collection of botanical art and books.  Like the Prince of Wales, we also offer classes in botanical illustration and our students and visitors will enjoy viewing these fine works of art.


Please enjoy the exhibit of 27 facsimiles and a traveling copy of volume 1. The prints are on display in the Lora Robins Library in the Kelly Education Building.  Library hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

For your additional enjoyment, our library collection includes three books about Highgrove: The Garden at Highgrove by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Candida Lycett Green, 2000, Highgrove: An English country garden by Charles and Bunny Guinness, 2015; *The gardens at Highgrove [guidebook], 2008.

Janet Woody, Librarian

The librarian admires the very fine hand-made marbled paper of Volume 1 of the Highgrove Florilegium.

About Janet Woody

I am the librarian at Lewis Ginter and like to talk and read about plants. I also enjoying researching Lewis Ginter and our founder Grace Arents. Visit me in the library and we'll talk about plants, or history, or some other fun topic.

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