The Flower Painter
January 14, 1825
On this day, King Charles X honored the Belgian botanical illustrator Pierre-Joseph Redouté with the Legion of Honor.
Redouté was born into a Flemish family of painters. His family made a living by creating paintings for the home and for the church.
Today, Redouté is one of the most renowned flower painters of all time - he's a personal favorite of mine. And I love the stories about Redouté.
One time when he was serving as an official royal draftsman, Redouté was summoned to appear before Queen Marie Antoinette. I like to imagine the excitement this caused - especially since the Queen sent her request around midnight. When Redouté appeared, the Queen asked him to paint her a cactus. She was exerting her control; Redouté needed to prove that the reports of his talent were real. He passed the test.
Redouté was also a favorite of Josephine Bonaparte. In fact, Redouté’s paintings of Josephine’s flowers at Malmaison are among his most beautiful works. And Redouté's work earned him a nickname; the Raffaele of flowers.
Today, Redouté is best known for his paintings of lilies and roses (roses were his specialty).
Now, if you'd like to really treat yourself or get a special gift for a gardener in your life, you should check out the book by Werner Dressendorfer called Redouté: Selection of the Most Beautiful Flowers.
This large coffee table book was released in September of 2018. As one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen, Dressendorfer’s book features 144 paintings by Redouté that were published between 1827 and 1833.
And I must confess that this gorgeous book is one of my favorite books in my Botanical Library.
Now when this book first came out, it retailed for $150. Last year, after mulling it over for a long time - mainly because of the price, I got myself an excellent used copy for $65. Today new and used copies of Redouté: Selection of the Most Beautiful Flowers by Werner Dressendorfer are being sold on Amazon for between $350 and $900.