The Old Print Shop

Georg Dionysius Ehret


Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770) is considered the most important botanical artist, of the eighteenth century if not of all time.  He was born in Heidelberg, Germany.  His father a gardener who liked to draw the plants that were grown in the garden.  Georg took after his father and his early career was as a gardener who liked to draw plants.  He worked briefly for Johann Wilhelm Weinmann on “Phytanthoza Iconagraphia.”  In 1733 met the physician, scientist, botanist and scholar Dr. Christopher Jacob Trew who became the artist patron and influenced his career path.  In France in 1734 he learned to paint on vellum, a practice he would continue for the rest of his life.  In 1736 he met the Swedish physician and garden manager, Carl Linnaeus, resulting in a lifelong friendship.  Ehret did Illustrations for Linnaeus “Systema Nature” published in 1736.  Working with Linnaeus Ehret developed a profound knowledge of plant structure which he used in his drawings of plants and flowers.  He moved to England and spent most of his career working in England for various patrons.  He is known to have produced a few images for Mark Catesby and worked with his primary patron Christopher Jacob Trew producing images for “Plantae Selectae” in 1750.