Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) was the most celebrated botanical artist of the early 19th century and his work profoundly influenced following generations.
Redouté continued the transformation of the illustrated scientific treatise into a work of art and with his watercolours and printed material achieved the highest aesthetic standards.
Redouté placed great importance on the positioning of the specimen on the page and was revolutionary in that he was the first artist to use the margins of the page as an integral part of the composition: in some examples of his work the flower extends beyond the confines of the border.
It is unlikely that the present watercolour was prepared for publication. It is instead an example of Redouté's curiosity for more unusual plants, probably executed for his own record and enjoyment.
The Aeonium caepitosum does not have a common name. It comes from the same family as the Sempervivum tectorum (House Leek), with fleshy, pulpy leaves.