UMass Amherst
William Curtis

The Botanical magazine, or, Flower-garden displayed
London : Printed for W. Curtis by S. Couchman

Call no: QK1.B574

Published continuously since its founding 1787, William Curtis' The Botanical magazine, or, Flower-garden displayed was designed to provide amateur gardeners and botanists with information on ornamental plants, particularly exotic ones, but it is equally noted for its beautifully rendered, hand-colored illustrations of flora. Founded by Curtis (1746-1799), who had shucked his trade as an apothecary to become a full time botanist, the magazine is today one of the oldest continuously published scientific periodicals.

During its early years, the plants illustrated by Curtis were driven in part by the insatiable taste of British gardeners for foreign plants, and particularly those from the imperial antipodes. In 1803, the Botanical Magazine featured a stunning illustration of Pterospermum acerifolium, a plant collected in the West Indies, and in 1831, the Magazine featured Banksia littoralis, a new species in a genus fittingly named after the austral botanical explorer, Joseph Banks.

Banksia littoralis Banksia littoralis

Pterospermum acerifolium Pterospermum acerifolium, from the original drawing by Sydenham Teast Edwards (1768-1819).