Robert John Thornton / Philip Reinagle
New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus: And the Temple of Flora, or Garden of Nature (1807)
"Robert John Thornton was an English physician and botanical writer. After hearing Thomas Martyn’s lectures on botany and Linnaeus, he decided to practice medicine rather than his previously-chosen profession in the church.
New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus is a three-part work, the third part (Temple of Flora) of which was intended to have seventy folio-sized plates. Work on the plates began in May 1798, and the first plates were engraved by Thomas Medland after paintings by Philip Reinagle. The plates were engraved in aquatint, stipple and line.
The work, unfortunately, proved to be Thornton’s demise. The expense of the project drained his financial assets, and Thornton was unable to generate significant public interest in the work.
Only 33 color plates were completed between 1798-1807, and Thornton died in destitution.”