Pierre-Joseph Redoute | State Library of New South Wales

Pierre-Joseph Redouté

Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) is one of the best known and most revered botanical artists of all time. He refined a printing technique known as stipple engraving, allowing him to achieve a depth and richness of colour and scientific accuracy previously unachievable in printed images. Stipple engraving was the use of tiny stipples, or dots, instead of lines, to engrave an image on the metal printing plate. This enabled the artist to achieve a subtler and more natural effect of blending colour and tones.

Redouté’s artistic skill won him distinguished attention before and after the French Revolution. He was court artist to Queen Marie-Antoinette, then teacher to Napoleon’s first and second wives, Josephine and Marie-Louise. Under the patronage of Empress Josephine, Redouté produced his most famous and enduring works, Les Roses (Roses) and Les Liliacees (Lilies). The latter included several illustrations of Australian plants grown by Josephine at Malmaison, including the first description and published illustration of the yellow kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos flavidus).

Redouté also produced many of the drawings for the printed plates which accompanied Labillardiere’s work, including the first published illustration of the Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus).

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