Scientist of the Day - George Ehret
George Ehret, a German artist, was born Jan. 30, 1708. Ehret moved to England in 1736, where he established himself as the most talented botanical artist in Great Britain. When Mark Catesby published his Natural History of Carolina (1731-43), he used three paintings by Ehret, most notably the Magnolia grandiflora (see first image above), but also including the Coccoloba (second image), and a Tri-petal Magnolia (third image). We exhibited the Southern magnolia in our 2009 exhibition, The Grandeur of Life.
Although hundreds of Ehret's paintings were bought up by collectors and never printed, one of his patrons, Christoph Trew of Nuremberg, collected and printed 100 of Ehret's drawings in a sumptuous publication known as the Plantae selectae (1750-53). This volume is not in our collection, but you can find the complete work online at the Missouri Botanic Garden website. Two of the flowers above are drawn from Trew’s Plantae, a beautiful Cereus (fourth image), and an even showier Tiger Lily (fifth image)
Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City