Books have a way of inspiring us to better ourselves. Wouldn’t you agree? They often help us to expand our knowledge on a particular subject or show us how to develop a skill in some form of handicraft. They even provide decor to our homes, which often stimulates good conversation amongst visitors. Botanical illustration books do all of these things.
These books can teach us the history of this art form, showcase masterpieces from artists in the field, outline how to undertake this craft ourselves, and even provide beauty to our spaces and a moment of peace as we browse through the pages of these beautiful publications.
While there are many botanical illustration books in print, we have gathered 3 of our favorites to share with you below. These botanical illustration books are filled with images and notes about flowers, herbs, and fruits from botanical artists around the world and from a variety of backgrounds.
We hope these books inspire you to make botanical illustration a part of your life in some way, whether it’s through increasing your understanding of the subject, making your own botanical illustrations, or simply filling your home with their beauty!
Botanical Illustration Books to Inspire You
The Art of Botanical Illustration
The Art of Botanical Illustration is a 360-page book filled with 126 full-color and 140 black and white botanical illustrations from the past 3,000 years. It is considered one of the most comprehensive and classical botanical illustration books to date, and it is a well-written piece that merges the art and science of botanical illustration into one volume.
While the Art of Botanical Illustration is a great work for anyone specializing in botany, it’s also for the layman or the botanical-lovers out there as well. When you make your way through this book, whether reading for information or flipping through the pages for pleasure, you will get the feeling of reading a flower biography along with the visual delight of a botanical art study at the same time.
The Art of Botanical Illustration is one of our favorite botanical illustration books because it allows you to get a glimpse into the minds of so many botanical illustrators at different times in history. In this book, you can visualize the changing illustration styles over the years, read the illustrators’ own words from some of their books, and get a history of their lives as botanical illustrators and botanists at the same time.
Pick up your copy of Art of Botanical Illustration right here!
Medieval Herbals: The Illustrative Traditions
Medieval Herbals: The Illustrative Traditions is a 256-page book that combines herbal manuscripts published between the years of 600 – 1450 CE. Many of these herbal manuscripts are from the classical Dioscorides manuscripts written in Greek, Arabic, and Latin and others are from the Latin botanist, Apuleii Platonici. It is one of the few collections of herbal research written in the English language, and it even includes the original dating, location, production, and ownership of the individual manuscripts included in this volume.
If you’re looking for botanical illustration books from the past, Medieval Herbals is it! This book is filled with wonderful information and lovely botanical illustrations from the medieval time period. Flipping through the book from start to finish is like peering back into history and watching how the observation of nature shifted over the years! Medical scholars, herbalists and botanists, book lovers, art historians, and more will love this book. And if you’re a fan of Culpepper’s Complete Herbal, you’ll feel right at home with Medieval Herbals!
Medieval Herbals is one of our favorite botanical illustration books because it’s a piece of antiquity that we can look back on to learn from as well as see how far we’ve come in the fields of medicine, herbalism, and botany.
Pick up your copy of Medieval Herbals: The Illustrative Traditions right here!
Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers
Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers is a 224-page full-color guide to the historical uses and secret meanings behind flowers and herbs from the Victorian period.
If you’ve ever wanted to send a secret message to a lover, friend, or enemy, do it with flowers! This was a common practice in the 19th century in England and the U.S when open displays of emotion were discouraged. Instead, flowers were used to communicate feelings. Flower meanings were often taken from literature, mythology, religion, medieval legends, the shapes of the flower blooms, and sometimes, meanings were simply made up by florists when needed! The practice of sending secret messages through flowers was very common in high society but began to fade out of practice with the start of the first World War.
Floriography is one of our favorite botanical illustration books because it’s so fun and pretty to look at! Whether you’re searching for a coffee table book to spark up conversation with friends over, a code to help you decipher the secret language of plants, or simply pretty pictures to look at, this book is for you!
Pick up your copy of Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers right here!
Take Action on Your Inspiration
We hope that the reviews of these botanical illustration books have inspired you to dive a little deeper into the art and science of botanical illustration.
If so, we’d like to invite you to learn more about our new Botanical Drawing for Herbalists Course.
This new Botanical Drawing mini course includes an introduction to botany and plant parts, more than a dozen drawing exercises, and in-depth explanations of drawing techniques — all the information you need to start creating your own beautiful botanical illustrations today.
For as little as $45, you’ll get access to 5 lessons, in-depth tutorials, instructional videos, example sketches, supply recommendations, and more.
And here’s the best part — no previous artistry skills are required! This course is for herbalists!