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Georg Dionysius Ehret, Lilium - Plantae Selectae

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Georg Dionysius Ehret, born in Germany in 1710, acquired a reputation during his life as one of the foremost botanical painters of his - and perhaps any - age.

Upon the death of Ehret's father, the very young Georg was apprenticed to a gardener for three years. Much of his youth was spent as a gardener, although he spent that time practicing his drawings. Soon, acquired patrons and was earning a living by creating superlative drawings of flora all across Europe, working and traveling in Germany, France, Holland and finally in England, where he settled.

Among his most important works are those he painted for the Swedish botanist Linnaeus, who originated the classification of plants used today. Ehret was also employed illustrating various works (including travel books) and painting specimens for private collections. He also painted porcelain commercially.

Ehret's work is all the more impressive when one considers that the range of colors available during his lifetime was miniscule. His watercolors, both on vellum and on paper, are delicate and cannot be constantly displayed in public galleries, but fine collections are kept in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and in the Royal collections at Windsor. Ehret died in 1770.