STAPELIA GENUS -- A collection of original watercolour drawings of members of the Stapelia genus, German school, early 19th century [paper watermarked 1805-1806].
15 original watercolours on the recto of 10 folio sheets (each approximately 260 x 245mm.), with each subject identified in a single hand in ink using the Latin binomial. Unbound (traces of old mounting hinges on versos).
RARE EARLY REPRESENTATIONS OF THE STAPELIA GENUS OF SUCCULENT PLANTS, also known as starfish flowers or carrion plants. Originating in South Africa and named by Linnaeus after the 17th-century botanist Johannes van Stapel, there are about 100 species taking their common names both from the flower shape and the smell of dead meat designed to attract flies as pollinators. Interest in the genus at the start of the 19th century is evident from two monographs published within 10 years of one another: Francis Masson's Stapeliae Novae (London: 1796-1797, with 41 plates), and Baron von Jacquin's Stapeliarum in hortus Vindobornensibus (Vienna & London: 1806-1819, with 64 plates). Although unsigned, the style of these particular drawings is very similar to work by the German botanist, Hermann Ludwig Wendland (fl.1800-1850), whose research in exotic plants is well documented and whose interest in this genus would have been strong.
The present collection is titled as follows:
1. 'Stapelia ambigua', on wove paper (watermarked 1805)
2. 'Stapelia fororia [or: sororia]', on wove paper (watermarked 1806)
3. 'Stapelia deflexa' [and, on the same sheet] 'Stapelia reclinata', on wove paper (watermark indistinct)
4. 'Stapelia divaricata' [and, on the same sheet] 'Stapelia hirtella', on wove paper, watermarked 1805)
5. 'Stapelia Fuvencula [or: 'Juvencula']', on wove paper (watermarked 1805)
6. 'Stapelia comata [and, on the same sheet] 'Stapelia replicata', on wove paper (watermarked 1805)
7. 'Stapelia rugosa' [and, on the same sheet] 'Stapelia bufonia', on laid paper
8. 'Stapelia duodecimafida varietas', on laid paper
9. 'Stapelia revoluta' [and, on the same sheet] 'Stapelia maculosa'. on laid paper
10. 'Stapelia venusta', on laid paper. (10)