George Brookshaw

Pomona Britannica; or

A collection of the Most Esteemed Fruits at Present Cultivated in this Country

1812

George Brookshaw, a retired cabinet maker, became a publisher of botanical subjects as well as a teacher of flower painting and an artist himself. He initially published his botanical studies in parts, and then as a complete work in 1812. Brookshaw’s dramatic folio, Pomona Britannica, was ten years in the making and depicted over two hundred and fifty-six varieties of fruit grown in some of London’s most celebrated gardens and in particular, the Royal Gardens at Hampton Court.

Pomona Britannica, is engraved in aquatint and stipple, printed in colour and finished by hand. In most of the plates the fruit, sometimes accompanied by its flower, is represented in a stylized composition against an aquatint background for a striking contrast. At a time when folio flower-books, such as Robert Thornton’s, were having difficulty finding purchasers Brookshaw’s fruits proved a resounding success. Indeed, in 1817 a fine quarto edition was published with little expense spared.

Brookshaw followed up his masterpiece with A New Treatise on Flower Painting: or Every Lady her own drawing master, and two companion volumes on birds and fruit. However, none of his successive works would truly match the grandeur of Pomona Britannica, which may be considered one of the finest colour plate books ever published.