Engraved by Joseph Constantine Stadler (worked 1780-1812) after a painting by Peter Charles Henderson (worked 1791-1829)
'The Maggot Bearing Stapelia, Stapelia sp.'
Plate from Robert John Thornton's 'Temple of Flora'
Colour aquatint with additional colour by hand
Published between 1799 and 1807
Museum no. Circ.524-1967
The Temple of Flora (1799-1807), from which this plate is drawn, remains a highly unusual publication. The illustrations were undertaken by portrait and landscape artists, resulting in some extraordinary images of botanically inaccurate plants placed against fantastical backdrops: an unorthodox device within the conventions of botanical illustration.
Here the Maggot-bearing Stapelia - a plant that produces a putrid odour to attract flies - assumes enormous proportions and is set against a background more akin to a Scottish rock garden than to its native southern African habitat.