16.5 x 11 inches, early wash coloured copperplate engraving with gold title, light repair to right edge, otherwise in good condition. Plate 12.
Christoph Jacob Trew (1695-1769) was a wealthy physician and noted bibliophile. The artist George Dionysius Ehret (1708-70) enjoyed the lifelong patronage of Trew and they became great friends. It was Trew who encouraged Ehret to study the plants from a scientific perspective as well as an artistic one. Trew supported the publication of the ‘Plantae Selectae’ from 1750 for which he supplied the descriptions, it has been called ‘one of the greatest eighteenth century botanical books published’ (De Belder) and is distinguished by its gold titles. Hunt states that Ehret’s illustrations ‘achieve realism, majesty, ineffable colour, all in one breathtaking look’. The ‘Hortus Nitidissimus’ was called “the most sumptuous of the florilegia” in the De Belder catalogue. Trew intended the book to be a magnificent ‘gallery of the most colourful and ravishing flowers that could be grown in Europe’. Like the ‘Plantae Selectae’ being published at the same time, many of the plates are the work of Ehret. Here however, he concentrates on displaying the flowers at their full beauty. De Belder (1987) 362-3; Dunthorne 309 & 310; ‘Great Flower Books’ (1956) p. 78; Hunt (1958) 539; Nissen BBI (1966) 1995 & 1997.