Figures of the most Beautiful ..Plants described in the Gardeners Dictionary
London: printed for the Author, and sold by John Rivington, A. Millar, et al., [1755-] 1760., 1760
Copper engravings, many printed in green.
Original hand colouring.
340 x 220 mm.
Opuntia Pl. CXCI
The most distinguished and influential British gardener of the eighteenth century. Originally published in 50 parts of 6 plates each between 1755 and 1760. Although Miller’s plan had originally been to exhibit the Figures of One or more Species of all the known Genera of Plants, he had ultimately been obliged by the expenses of production to contract his Plan, and confine it to those Plants only, which are either curious in themselves, or may be useful in Trades, Medicine, &c.
Preceded by his celebrated "The Gardeners Dictionary" (which ran to eight editions (1732-1768) during Miller’s lifetime his works were commended at the time for being ".drawn from nature in the best state of flowering, and for including illustrations of fruit and seed as they ripened".
In 1722 Miller was appointed by Hans Sloane and the Society of Apothecaries as gardener for their Physic Garden at Chelsea. As a result of Miller’s wide correspondence there was a continuous introduction of new plants, The fourth Duke of Bedford, to whom a volume is dedicated, employed him on a regular basis to visit Woburn and inspect gardens and hothouses, where many American conifers were planted.
The Society of Arts consulted Miller on agricultural matters, from winter feed for domestic animals in
England to grapes suitable for the climate of South Carolina. On the latter Miller often consulted growers in both France and Italy, and he was a member of the Botanic Academy of Florence; from both countries he received seeds.
Plates in the work are engraved by by G D Ehret, R. Lancake, J.S. Miller, W. Houstoun, and J. Bartram.
Like his father before him Ehret trained as a gardener, initially working on estates of German nobility, and painting flowers. Ehret’s "first major sale of flower paintings came through Dr Christoph Joseph Trew, eminent physician and botanist of Nuremberg, who recognized his exceptional talent and became both patron and lifelong friend.