W.H. Fitch

Abelia Floribunda

Lithograph, 19th Century.
From Curtis Botanical Magazine by W.H. Fitch.
Image: 6 1/4 x 10
Paper: 6 1/4 x 10
Excellent condition.

Inventory Number: 10431
Pink botanical print.

Fitch’s important works are his illustrations for William Hooker’s A Century of Orchidaceous Plants (1849), and for James Bateman’s A Monograph of Odontoglossum (1864–74). He also created around 500 plates for Hooker’s Icones Plantarum (1836–76) and four lithographic plates for the monograph Victoria Regia. The latter work received critical acclaim in the Athenaeum, “they are accurate, and they are beautiful”.

Other works were for George Bentham’s Handbook of the British Flora (1858, later editions edited by Joseph Dalton Hooker). When J. D, Hooker returned from his travels in India, Fitch prepared lithographs from Hooker’s sketches for his Rhododendrons of Sikkim Himalaya (1849–51) and, from the drawings of Indian artists, for his Illustrations of Himalayan Plants (1855). He also produced the illustrations presented in the younger Hooker’s The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage, consisting of three volumes covering the flora of the Antarctic, New Zealand, and Tasmania collected on the Ross expedition of 1839 to 1843.

A dispute over pay with J. D. Hooker ended Fitch’s service to the Botanical Magazine in 1877. He was much sought after and remained active as a botanical artist until 1888. Works during this period included Henry John Elwes’s Monograph of the Genus Lilium (1877–80). His renown as a botanical illustrator was such that his obituary in Nature stated “… his reputation was so high and so world-wide that it is unnecessary to say much on this point.”