Curtis Botanical Magazine

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Curtis Botanical Magazine . . . the world’s longest-running botanical-themed magazine

Ephemera collectors and nature lovers may find it interesting to know that Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, a publication devoted to gardening and botany, has been in print since 1787, making it one of the oldest and longest-running botanical-themes magazines in the world.

The publication was started by William Curtis, an apothecary and botanist who was particularly interested in exotic and ornamental plants. The Magazine featured the work of various botanical illustrators of the time such as Sydenham Edwards and James Sowerby, along with relevant information about the plant’s history and growth habits. All of the publication’s early illustrations were hand-colored prints derived from copper engravings, a process which required up to thirty people to perform.

Over the years, the publication’s principal artists included Walter Hood Fitch and Matilda Smith, who went on to become the first botanical artist whose work was displayed at Kew Gardens. Although Curtis’s Botanical Magazine has changed names almost as many times as it changed hands, it is still published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in southwest London, England, where it continues to bring pleasure to gardeners, artists, and botanists to this day.

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  • Robert Donahue
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