Gerrit or Gerard van Spaendonck (1746-1822), was a Dutchman by birth and established himself as a flower-painter in the manner of Jan van Huysem (1682-1749). He moved to Paris to seek his fortune and soon became Professeur de Peinture de Fleurs at the museum of the Jardin des Plantes, as successor to Madame Basseporte.
Van Spaendonck was no less talented than his celebrated pupil Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) and yet his name is not as well known today. He was less industrious than Redouté as he spent most of his time teaching and producing his annual quota of botanical studies for the official collection. He only published one work of 24 stipple engravings: Fleurs dessinées d'aprés Nature. Writing on the folio Wilfred Blunt concludes: 'In their black-and-white state, these prints may well claim to be the finest flower-engravings ever made' (S. Sitwell and W. Blunt, Great Flower Books 1700-1900, London, 1990, p. 35).
These drawings are preliminary studies for two of the engraved plates and depict the Double Peony and the Common Lilac, both depicted on a number of occasions by van Spaendonck and the flowers were especially popular with flower-painters during the first half of the 17th Century.