The Highgrove Florilegium, one of the most expensive books of modern times, is on display at the Harlow Carr Royal Horticultural Society garden in Yorkshire until September 6.
The two-volume set was commissioned by the Prince of Wales to celebrate the achievements of his own organic garden, and took seven years to put together. It is the first royal florilegium and contains 124 original prints from botanical watercolour paintings by 72 leading artists from around the world.
RHS recently acquired one of the 175 copies produced by Addision Publications and which went on sale earlier this year, priced at £12,950 per set. Only 38 copies remain available. Copies are also on display at Kew Gardens and the Chicago Botanic Gardens in the US.
At the time of the book’s release in May, Addison’s Henrietta Pearson said: “In this throw-away, digital age, it is increasingly rare to find books which have been given such love and devotion from start to finish by traditional craftsmen. We are proud to be able to use the best of Britain’s traditional book craftsmen to produce our publications at a time when the talk is more of e-books than embossing.”
The Highgrove Florilegium revitalizes the art of botanical drawing and painting which became popular during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. But the craft is still very much alive. In London, the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society is holding a talk on November 1, discussing different approaches and styles and showing off a large selection of its botanical illustrations.
In the video below, the typographer who was responsible for the design of the Highgrove Florilegium, explains how the book was produced.
Top image via rhs.org.uk