Started With The Mimulus Rose
Today is the anniversary of the death of the exceptionally talented Scottish botanical illustrator Walter Hood Fitch. He was 75 years old.
Fitch was one of the most prolific botanical artists of all time.
His illustrations were stunning, and he used vivid colors for his work.
In 1834, Walter began working for William Hooker. Hooker was the editor of Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Walter's very first published plate was of a Mimulus Rose. He didn’t know it then, but it was one down, and he had over 2,700 more to go.
Hooker loved Walters’s work because his paintings reflected the way the plants appeared in real life; they weren't fanciful or embellished, yet they were beautiful. In short order, Walter became the sole artist for the magazine.
When Hooker became the director of Kew, the promotion meant moving to London. He talked Walter into moving, too. Pretty soon, Walter was not only making illustrations for the magazine but for everything published at Kew.
At the end of his career, around the age of 60, Walter got into a disagreement with William Hooker’s son, Joseph Dalton Hooker, over his pay. Walter left his post at Kew and became a freelancer. During his lifetime, Walter created over 12,000 illustrations that found their way to publication in various works.