Brookshaw Pomona Britannica 1817

While our images are electronically watermarked, the antique prints themselves are not.

Smith's Early Newington, Buckinghamshire, Barrington Peach BPB23 $265
Each print measures approximately 10 1/2 inches by 13 inches.

These sumptuous fruits come from one of the finest volumes on pomology, George Brookshaw’s Pomona Britannica. Hand-stippled finishing gives each fruit its natural appearance: the fuzz of the peach, the rough mottled skin of the pear so real to the eye. The various melons, berries, and tree fruits often include intricate depictions of their flowers and leaves. Many of Brookshaw’s models came from the Royal Gardens at Hampton Court and Kensington Gardens.

The life of George Brookshaw (1751-1823) remains an intriguing mystery. He began his artistic career as a teacher of watercolor painting. During the prime of his life, he was a sought-after cabinetmaker, creating finely-painted neoclassical furniture for patrons such as the Prince of Wales (the future King George IV). However, public records about his career disappear in the mid-1790s, about the same time that his prominent marriage collapsed. There is no mention of him until the Pomona Britannica began its release in 1804. Historian Lucy Wood suggests that Brookshaw began a new career in botanical studies under the name G. Brown, author of A New Treatise on Flower Painting, a painting instruction text. Several plates in the 1817 supplement to that work are now attributed to Brookshaw.

Brookshaw intended his masterpiece to be a ‘country gentleman’s’ guide to the new science of pomology, classifying and identifying fruits. His execution of this goal was certainly worthy of its namesake, Pomona the Roman Goddess of Fruit and their trees. The text describes 256 fruit varieties in 90 plates, several of them almost life-sized in this quarto edition.

 Each print measures approximately 10 1/2 inches by 13 inches on a creamy ivory paper. It is one of the 19th century’s finest and rarest British botanical works. The engravings for the folio edition were created mostly by Richard Brookshaw, thought to be the artist’s brother. After Richard’s death in 1804, it is plausible that George created the engravings for this later quarto edition.

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