Today, we would like to share with you a series of very scarce hand-colored lithographs, from Nathaniel Wallich’s “Plantae Asiaticae Rariores.” Published in London, from 1829-32, “Plantae Asiaticae Rariores” had three volumes and featured a total of 300 lithographic plates. It included descriptions and figures of a select number of unpublished-at-the-time East Indian plants. These prints were lithographed mainly by M. Gauci, after drawings by native artists. Among them are Gorochand, Rungiah, and Vishnupersaud, who is considered the finest Indian botanical artist of his time.
According to De Belder, the Wallich plates are superb, “among the finest botanical illustrations.” Wallich was a surgeon and botanist of Danish origin who worked in India, initially in the Danish settlement near Calcutta and later for the East India Company. He was superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Garden from 1815 to 1846, which is where his fascination and study of botanical and herbal specimens. His work was issued in an extremely limited edition of only 254 copies, making these prints very sought-after.