William Kilburn, 'Dandelion

William Kilburn, 'Dandelion

William Kilburn (1745-1818)
'Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale'
Plate from 'Flora Londinensis'
1777-8
Engraving, coloured by hand
Museum no. E.455-1996

In this illustration by William Kilburn we find a dandelion bestowed with the stubborn strength that makes it one of the most ubiquitous and trodden-on of all British plants; something which Geoffrey Grigson remarked upon in his 1958 publication The Englishman's Flora:

'Dandelion is a brave plant. Far away from its European home and its proper fields, you see Dandelions on a scrap of wasteland under the factories of Detroit or Philadelphia, still spreading their leaves and opening their small suns after the frost has killed everything else.'

This print is a plate from William Curtis' s Flora Londinensis, a serialised record of plants growing in and around London published between 1777 and 1798. It was through the journal that Kilburn earned a reputation for producing informative and confident botanical illustrations. He was to capitalise on this experience when later he turned to textile design.

 

This print can be found in Print Room Box DP1.