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Alfred Riocreux's Original Botanical Watercolors
From the Archives of the Arnold Arboretum

Alfred Riocreux (1820-1912) was born in Sevres, France and has been described as the "most distinguished botanical artist of his day"(1).Under the supervision of his father, who was a curator of the Musee de Ceramique, Riocreux took an interesting in drawing and painting and quickly became skilled in the art. Riocreux became interested in botanical illustration through botanist Adolphe Theodore Brongniart, whose father had been employed in Sevres. It is mostly likely that it was through Brongniart that Riocreux was first introducted to the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, where he met botanist and author Joseph Decaisne, who first described the genus Riocreuxia which was named in honor of Riocreux and employed Riocreux to illustrate for all nine volumes of his Le Jardin Fruitier du Museum (1858-1875). Riocreux was also employed by other botanists to illustrate their works, such as Edouard F.L. Raoul's Choix de Plants de la Nouvelle Zelande (1846), W.B. Hemsley's Handbook of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Plants (1873) and Gustave Thuret's Notes Algologiques (1876-1880) and Etudes Phycologiques (1878), the later of which has been described as having "the finest plates ever published in a botanical work"(2). Riocreux also contributed his illustrations to periodicals such as, La Revue Horticole and Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Some time in the late 1800s, Riocreux was recommend by Edouard Francois Andre to manage the production of the engravings for C.S. Sargent's Silva of North America (3), which was published in twelve volumes from 1890-1899. From Paris, Riocreux managed and supervised the illustration of the six hundred plates of the Silva that were drawn in pencil by C.E. Faxon and engraved by Philibert and Eugene Picart. Not much is known about this collection of 86 drawings by Riocreux, except that it was once in the holdings at the Arnold Arborteum at Harvard University, which C.S. Sargent was the first director of from 1872-1927. In an issue of the Bulletin of Popular Information published by the Arnold Arboretum in 1937, this collection is described as "exceedingly rare and exquisitely illustrated...bound in crushed Levant, beautifully tooled, no date"(4).

References:
(1) Houghton Mifflin and Company. Silva of North America (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1891), 46
(2) T.G. Hill. The Essentials of Illustration: A Practical Guide to the Reproduction of Drawings and Photographs for the Use of Scientists & Others. (London: William Wesley & Son, 1915), 5.
(3) "Correspondence of Edouard Andre 1886-1905: A Finding Aid, " July 2003. Finding aid at the Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Jamaica Plain, MA: Harvard University. http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/deepLink?_collection=oasis&uniqueId=ajp00020
(4)Ethelyn, M. Tucker. The Library Bulletin of Popular Information, Series 4 5, no. 7 (1937), 38.
(5) Wilfrid Blunt and William T. Stearn. The Art of Botanical Illustration. (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club Ltd., 1994), 269-271


Plate 12: Dianthus barbatus


Plate 81: Crinum amabile


Plate 8: Viola (Garden Varieties) of lutea and curtisii


Plate 22: Godetia rubicunda


1.
Name: Clematis cylindrica
Color: Fully colored.

2.
Name: Clematis viticella
Color: Fully colored.
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

3.
Name: Epimedium grandiflorum
Color: Fully colored.

4.
Name: Sollya heterophylla
Color: Fully colored.
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

5.
Name: Mahonia aquifolium
Color: Fully colored.

6.
Name: Argemone grandiflora
Color: Fully colored.

7.
Name: Hunnemannia fumariifolia
Color: Fully colored.

8.
Name: Viola (Garden Varieties ) of lutea and curtisii
Color: Fully colored.
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

9.
Name: Viola "Garden Varieties" of lutea and curtisii
Color: Fully colored

10.
Name: Viola
Color: Fully colored.

11.
Name: Helianthemum roseum
Color: Fully colored.

12.
Name: Dianthus barbatus
Color: Fully colored with an additonal partially colored sketch located on the left.

13.
Name: Malope malacoides
Color: Fully colored.
Notes: Signed by Mme. Deville

14.
Name: Pavia discolor
Color: Fully colored.

15.
Name: PelargoniumGarden var. hybrids of Cucullatum formosifoimum
Color: Partially colored.

16.
Name: Camellia japonica Fruit
Color: Partially colored.

17.
Name: Wistaria frutescens
Color: Fully colored. Notes: Plate is slightly stained

18.
Name: Potentilla atrosanguinea, Potentilla russelliana, and Potentilla hopwoodiana
Color: Fully colored.

19.
Name: Passiflora kermesina
Color: Fully colored.

20.
Name: Murucuja ocellata
Color: Fully colored with an additonal pencil and ink sketch located on the right.
Notes: Damaged. All of the edges of the plate are stained.

21.
Name: Oenothera macrocarpa
Color: Fully colored.

22.
Name: Godetia rubicunda
Color: Fully colored

23.
Name: Fuchsia fulgens
Color: Partially colored with an additonal pencil and ink sketch located on the bottom left.
Notes: Signed by L. Constans

24.
Name: Fuchsia Globosa, Fuchsia lycioides, Fuchsia pumila
Color: Fully colored.
Notes: Signed Mme. Deville

25.
Name: Portuslaca grandiflora
Color: Fully colored.
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

26.
Name: Ribes sanguineum
Color: Fully colored.

27.
Name: Ribes fuchsioides
Color: Fully colored.

28.
Name: Cunonia capensis
Color: Partially colored

29.
Name: Manettia cordifolia
Color: Fully colored

30.
Name: Liatris pumila
Color: Fully colored

31.
Name: Dahlia superflua Garden var.
Color: Fully colored

32.
Name: Dahlia superflua Garden var.
Color: Fully colored

33.
Name: Madia elegans
Color: Fully colored

34.
Name: Aster formosissimus
Color: Fully colored

35.
Name: Senecio lilacinus
Color: Partially colored

36.
Name: Gnaphalium

37.
Name: Lobelia erinus
Color: Fully colored

38.
Name: Lechenaultia formosa
Color: Fully colored

39.
Name: Gesneria elongata
Color: Fully colored

40.
Name: Gesneria bulbosa var.
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Signed by Alfred Niocreux

41.
Name: Gloxinia guttata
Color: Fully colored

42.
Name: Gloxinia punctata
Color: Fully colored

43.
Name: Azalea indica
Color: Fully colored

44.
Name: Jasminum multiflorum
Color: Fully colored

45.
Name: Stephanotis floribunda
Color: Fully colored

46.
Name: Bignonia aquinochialis
Color: Fully colored

47.
Name: Calampelis scabra
Color: partially colored
Notes: Damaged. All of the edges of the original plate are stained.

48.
Name: Gilia tricolor
Color: Fully colored

49.
Name: Leptosiphon androsaceus
Color: Fully colored

50.
Name: Quamoclit pallescens
Color: Partially colored

51.
Name: Nemophila insignis
Color: Fully colored

52.
Name: phacelia tanacetifolia
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Signed by Mme. Deville

53.
Name: Enoteca multiflora
Color: Fully colored

54.
Name: Ramonda pyrenaica
Color: Fully colored

55.
Name: Celsia cretica
Color: Partially colored
Notes: Partially stained on all of the edges of the original plate.

56.
Name: Fabiana imbricata
Color: Fully colored

57.
Name: Calceolaria hybrid
Color: Fully colored

58.
Name: Buddleja madagascariensis
Color: Fully colored

59.
Name: Penstemon ovatum
Color: Fully colored

60.
Name: Mimulus speciosus
Color: Fully colored

61.
Name: Mimulus hudsonii
Color: Fully colored

62.
Name: Rhodochiton volubile
Color: Fully colored

63.
Name: Salvia coccinea
Color: Fully colored

64.
Name: Elsholtzia californica
Color: Fully colored

65.
Name: Phlomis sibirica
Color: Partially colored

66.
Name: Scutellaria macrantha
Color: Fully colored

67.
Name: Verbena melindres, Tweediana venosa
Color: Fully colored

68.
Name: Clerodendrum speciosum
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

69.
Name: Justicia speciosa
Color: Partially colored
Notes: Signed by Mme. Deville

70.
Name: Justicia nervosa
Color: Fully colored

71.
Name: Justicia carnea
Color: Partially colored
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

72.
Name: Thunbergia alata
Color: Fully colored

73(1).
Name: Geissomeria longiflora
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Signed by Alfred Riocreux

73(2).
Name: Bougainvillea spectabilis
Color: Partially colored

74.
Name: Poinsettia pulcherrima
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Additional pencil and ink sketch on the bottom left.
Signed by Alfred Riocreux

75.
Name: Vanilla aromatica fruit
Color: Fully colored

76.
Name: Stanhopea grandiflora
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Additional pencil and ink sketch on the bottom left.
Signed by Alfred Riocreux

77.
Name: Cypripedium insigne
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Damaged. Partially stained on all of the edges of the original plate.

78.
Name: Gladiolus ramosus
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Additional pencil and ink sketch on the bottom right.
Signed by Alfred Riocreux

79.
Name: Gladiolus psittacinus
Color: Partially colored

80.
Name: Rencalmia paniculata
Color: Partially colored

81.
Name: Crinum amabile
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Additional pencil and ink sketch located on the bottom right.

82.
Name: Zephyranthes grandiflora
Color: Fully colored
Notes: Signed by Mme. Deville

83.
Name: Hemerocallis cucullata
Color: Fully colored

84.
Name: Scilla cupaniana
Color: Fully colored

85.
Name: Hyacinthus orientalis Garden var.
Color: Fully colored

86.
Name: Methonica simplex
Color: Fully colored

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