From Flora and Sylva (1903 - 05), London, W. Robinson
William Robinson was a horticultural pioneer to whom modern gardening style owes much. He was instrumental in breaking away from the intensely formalized tradition of stylized bedding to a more relaxed and natural use of perennials and the “wild garden.” He is considered the father of modern English gardening.
As publisher of Flora and Sylva (1903-05), he found the perfect illustrator in Henry G Moon, whom he met when Moon responded to an advertisement Robinson had placed. Moon, a well-educated young man from a prosperous family, had been forced to go to work in a solicitor’s office when his father’s premature death left the family in impecunious circumstances. Robinson hired him to illustrate Flora and Sylva, where Moon developed the characteristic elegant style which showed each plant in its full beauty without the overblown rendering and artificial enhancement so typical of the Victorian era botanical illustration.
The Flora and Sylva was a deluxe publication largely illustrated by Moon from plants in the collections of prominent botanical gardens, country houses and nurseries such as Kew Gardens, Sanders’ Nursery, Gravetye and Worley Place. The highly decorative chromolithographed plates were produced by G. Severeyns and their successor J.L. Goffart. They are of the finest quality, in brilliant colour on soft white, thick paper, each sheet measuring approximately 230mm x 300mm.