Plant: Exploring the Botanical World Phaidon Editors

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The ultimate gift for gardeners and art-lovers, featuring 300 of the most beautiful and pioneering botanical images ever

Following in the footsteps of the international bestseller Map: Exploring the World, this fresh and visually stunning survey celebrates the extraordinary beauty and diversity of plants. It combines photographs and cutting-edge micrograph scans with watercolours, drawings, and prints to bring this universally popular and captivating subject vividly to life. Carefully selected by an international panel of experts and arranged in a uniquely structured sequence to highlight thought-provoking contrasts and similarities, this stunning compilation of botanically themed images includes iconic work by celebrated artists, photographers, scientists, and botanical illustrators, as well as rare and previously unpublished images.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
  • Pages: 352 pp
  • Illustrations: 300 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714871486

Conceived and edited by Phaidon editors

As featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Daily Telegraph, Garden & Gun, Gardens Illustrated, The Guardian, Martha Stewart Living, Natural History Magazine, New Scientist, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, Smithsonian, The Sunday Times, Tatler, The Wall Street Journal, and on Atlas Obscura, BBC Focus, Goop, and mental_floss

"I am totally mesmerized by the extraordinary range of artists, scientists and technicians represented. Wonderful and absorbing and loving." —Edwina von Gal, Landscape Designer

"From the winning cover to the beautiful images inside, Plant is a complete pleasure covering centuries of botanical art. Artist information and provenance is dutifully recorded. Inspiration and imagination is there for the taking. This new book is classic Phaidon and bound to be a bestseller." —David Whitman, Pergola

"The timeless pleasure of looking at plants: a new illustrated book examines mankind's fascination with making images of plants through the ages... Compton's fascination with what different people have done within the remit of botanical art jumps out of every one of Plant's pages. The variety is astounding." —The Daily Telegraph

"An inspiring delight and great resource for those who cherish all things botany." —Emily Thompson, Emily Thompson Flowers

"The side by side juxtapositions of images here are brilliant. The clear pencil drawings of Van Gogh and Ellsworth Kelly my favorites, so delicate, just gorgeous." —Perry Guillot, Landscape Architect

"My award for sumptuous volume of 2016 has to go to Plant: Exploring the Botanical World, 300 works of botanical art from ancient times to the present in every imaginable medium... The images are thought-provokingly juxtaposed." —The Sunday Times, Move

"A breathtaking collection of botanical prints, photos, drawings, and even micrograph scans." —Martha Stewart Living

"Botanical art of all kinds, from a Minoan fresco of swallows billing among ocher red Lilium chalecondicum, painted circa 1600 B.C., to a hand-colored image from a scanning electron microscope of the seed of an alpine pincushion flower, its plum-colored skirts floating like a ballerina mid-jeté. These are things of beauty, but they have a purpose beyond decoration. Plant's editors [...] don't confine themselves to the strictly scientific."—Newsweek

"Celebrates the beauty and diversity of plants from around the world across all media - from murals in ancient Greece to a Napoleonic-era rose print and cutting-edge scans." —The Guardian

"The ultimate gift for gardeners and art-lovers."—Goop

"300 of the loveliest botanical images ever collated." —Town and Country

"A glorious visual compendium of plants and flowers that spans thousands of years." —Atlas Obscura

"This beautiful new book is like having a botanical art exhibition on your coffee table." —Waitrose Weekend

"A glorious presentation of how we've represented flora and fauna in art and photography throughout history." —Outdoor Photography

"Gorgeous... Fascinating... [An] unprecedented range of artists... A highly nuanced curation of imagery from across the ages. An indispensable coffee table book for the green-fingered and mere admirers alike." —

"It might be a bit early, but this one's already on our Christmas list." —BBC Focus

"Every once in a while, a book comes along that stops us in our tracks both with the content and the visuals. Plant is such a book with its perfectly-executed compilation and celebration of botanical art in all media and throughout history. Plant may start on your coffee table, but it won't stay there for long."—Flower Magazine

"A non-chronological approach illuminates intriguing contrasts and similarities in the artists' approach to capturing vegetation... Each page will surprise." —

"A lavishly illustrated guide to the fascinating world of plants, this book is a feast for the eyes and will bring joy to anyone with green-fingered tendencies, or simply an appreciation for the diverse beauty of nature." —

"More than 3,000 years of beautiful botanical art... The stories behind the pictures are just as eye-opening... A gorgeously illustrated survey that would make the perfect gift for a plant lover."—Daily Mail, Weekend

"Here's one you'll have trouble deciding whether to keep or wrap, and as you mull over the decision, each flick to a new page will shift you ever closer to finding some other gift for that art-loving or plant-loving friend... The images and stories are a reminder of our complex love affair with plants, and make for an addictive, page-turning treat." —The Sydney Morning Herald

"From ancient stone carvings and watercolour illustrations, to the first photography and cutting-edge scans, this history of botanical art explores our endless fascination with nature." —SA Life

"Plant: Exploring the Botanical World is a seriously beautiful book... The design is beautiful, as expected of a Phaidon publication, and the stories behind each of the artworks are fascinating. What I enjoyed most about it was the range of imagery included - this is not your average botanical illustration book but more a book of art inspired by plants." —The Planthunter

"What better way to spend a dreary winter afternoon than paging through gorgeous, full-color pictures of flowers? Not just flowers, but roots, stems, leaves, seeds and fruits, too, captured in 300 images of sketches, paintings, photographs, carvings, engravings and pressings that date from 1352 B.C. to the present... The greatest joy comes from stumbling upon the unexpected." —Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Breathtaking... [This] hefty coffee table book features 300 remarkable pieces of plant-related art." —mental_floss

"We love this survey of botanical art... Its pages teach you about plants, it reveals much about the time period and culture in which these images were created." —Real Living

"What is rather lovely about this book, which unites 300 botanical images from ancient stone carvings to vivid micrograph scans, is its non-chronological arrangement. Instead, it mixes botanical art from different periods, charting the depiction of plants through interesting pairings." —House & Garden

"Botanical beauty... A rt and science were often close allies when images of flowers were created centuries ago, and that remains true with the latest photographic technology." —Independent

"A dazzling collection of more than 300 images of plants that brings the evolution of botanical art right into the 21st century... Alongside old favourites, such as Redoute and Mary Delany, there is much here that is both unfamiliar and arresting... An extraordinary collection." —Gardens Illustrated

"The rich range of imagery is spectacular." —Lugene Bruno, curator Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

"One of the most visually and intellectually provocative explorations of the subject I have ever seen." —Patricia Jonas, The American Society of Botanical Artists

"An extraordinary and gorgeous book. Beautifully produced and delightfully eclectic." —Bobbi Angell, Botanical Artist

"This beautiful book scans botanical art through the ages... This is a lavish book; heavy, yes but wonderful - each page a fascinating work of art." —NZ House and Garden

"So botanically inspired you need to know more? Check out Plant: Exploring the Botanical world."—Elle

"This offering from innovative Phaidon is a stunning compilation of botanically themed images, selected by an expert panel... A super gift, perhaps the ultimate tome, for both art lovers and gardeners." —The Hobson NZ

"Botanical art of all kinds, from a Minoan fresco of swallows billing among ocher red Lilium chalecondicum, painted circa 1600 B.C., to a hand-colored image from a scanning electron microscope of the seed of an alpine pincushion flower, its plum-colored skirts floating like a ballerina mid-jeté. These are things of beauty, but they have a purpose beyond decoration. Plant's editors [...] don't confine themselves to the strictly scientific." —Newsweek (Europe)

"This bumper volume of botanical art will inspire you to look again... [Plant] challenges traditional expectations of botanical art and takes a fresh look... Whatever plants mean to you, this will make you think about them in a new light." —The Garden Design Journal

"Green-fingered aesthetes will swoon over this luscious collection... It's fascinating, strange and more than extremely beautiful." —Metro (London)

"Gorgeous." —

"Handsomely reproduced... Ranging from the inevitable to the completely unexpected." —Evening Standard

"Phaidon's plethora of printed plant pulchritude... From the first sight of Plant: Exploring the Botanical World's cover - which is in gorgeous, glorious technicolour - you can guess this is a book with a difference... I approached it from the perspective of a botanist observing scientific records of plants but ended up appreciating it from the standpoint of one who simply likes looking at beautiful things... For their proper appreciation, the featured images need some context, which is provided at the front of the book by the insightful introduction of James Compton... And throughout by the text that accompanies each illustration. And which is further enhanced by the really useful 10 paged, 4-columned timeline of botanical art... Whether you want to delve into the stories behind the artists or the images they've created, view this as a scientific text, or simply wish to wallow in the wonderful imagery, Plant is a beautiful book." —AoB Blog

"This magnificent book traces the history of botanical art from cave paintings to tapestries, culminating in the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe. Complementary images are paired together even though they are centuries apart. We are presented with two orchids, for example, in which Darwin's sketch of a new species sits side by side with a modern photo. It is at once ravishing and apellbinding."—Tatler

"Subtitled Exploring the Botanical World, this volume's glossy pages include more than 300 flower illustrations by artists, herbalists, and botanists plucked from across the centuries by the Phaidon editors." —Belle

"A wondrous collection of viscerally gorgeous botanical art throughout history, from stone carvings to cutting-edge scans." —Harper's Bazaar

"Your coffee table will thank you for this gorgeous book... A true celebration of artistry and knowledge, this book is as beautiful as it is educational." —Home Beautiful

"Extravagant... The eye-catching embossed dust jacket makes a statement in itself." —The Irish Garden

"Phaidon is the global publisher of art books par excellence, and this collection of images of the botanical world is no exception." —NZ Gardener

"Glorious." —Gardens Illustrated

"A collection of 300 gorgeous images, from the earliest days of plant illustration to 21st-century digital photographs; from John James Audubon to Georgia O'Keeffe; from the Americas to Asia and beyond." —Seattle Times

"[A] wondrous work about art, biology, and nature... If you purchase one art book that will inspire, educate, delight, and epitomize nature, then this is the volume to get." —Library Journal

"One of those books that I can flick through again and again; each time I'm guaranteed to spot something that I haven't seen before or learn something that I didn't already know. I love how this book combines historic drawings and paintings with a layout that's super modern and slick, it's the perfect combination of aesthetics and interesting information. This one will be a permanent fixture on my coffee table I'm sure." —

"Christie's has been auctioning fine art, furniture, jewellery and other unique and beautiful objects since 1766, and the items featured in the book reflect that variety." —Suffolk & Norfolk

"Featuring 300 glorious images from Neolithic times to the modern day, Plant is a botanic garden in book form... Will appeal to the gardener, scientist, artist and historian in all of us." —The Australian Financial Review

"This book plays up the visual wonder of what grows around us." —The Age

"The lavish hardback showcases more than 300 botanical drawings and paintings from around the world... the text is by plant experts and the colour illustration alone makes this a tome to be treasured." —Better Homes and Gardens

"Handsome... A celebration of diversity, every page a delight, dramatic, erotic, and so much beauty to choose from... You do not have to have green fingers to appreciate beauty."—

"More than 300 botanical artworks from ancient stone carvings to watercolour illustrations, are beautifully reproduced in this celebration of plants and culture throughout history." —Gardening Australia

"Richly illustrated... With minimal text but extensive indexing, this collection invites quiet reflection on human's relationship with plants... The index makes this collection of images valuable as a reference work." —Choice

"Mesmerizing... Represents the best that a large-format art book can offer... Plant's unorthodox approach to the art, science, and visual history of botanical illustration makes for an exhilarating reader experience."—American Gardener

"A ravishing survey of the history of botanical art from prehistorical times to 2016."—Vogue, Hamish Bowles

"A visual excursus on botanical art through over 300 masterpieces..."—Gardenia

"Over 300 remarkable images even for "black fingers"."—

"Plant: Exploring the Botanical World... [a] stunning compilation... includes iconic work by celebrated artists, photographers, scientists and botanical illustrators as well as rare and previously unpublished images."—

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