Printed model to printed image: Cyclamen

Printed model to printed image: Cyclamen

The French botanist and physician Jacques-Philippe Cornut wrote Canadensium plantarum (1635), which covered plants known from French North America (Dickenson, 1998: 78-81). Most of these plants were obtained from Jean (1550-1629) and Vespasian (1579-1662) Robin, gardeners and botanists to French monarchs. However, the cyclamen illustrated in this plate is an eastern Mediterranean species. The record from French North America may be because the species was introduced from Europe.

For this plate in Part 3 of the Historia, Frederick Hendrick van Hove (c.1628-1698) produced a workman-like copy of the work of the French engraver Pierre Valet (1575-1650) though size reduction, simplification, and elimination of detail. One gets the impression that Valet was working from living plants and had an excellent knowledge of plant structure; this is not the case with van Hove’s work. For example, the point at the bottom of the uppermost flower on the Historia images appears to be part of the petal. In contrast, Valet’s image makes it clear that the structure is not part of the petal (in fact, it is part of the female structures of the flower).


Dickenson, V (1998) Drawn from life: science and art in the portrayal of the New World. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.