Cacao Caeavate

Elizabeth Blackwell1775

MUCHO-Museo del Chocolate

MUCHO-Museo del Chocolate
Ciudad de México, Mexico

Hand-colored etching included in "Herbarium Blackwellianum Emmendatum et Auctum", Plate 373.
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Editorial: Christopher Jacob Trew
One of the most remarkable artists of early botanical art, Elizabeth Blackwell (London, 1700- 1759), is said to have become an artist in order to obtain funds to free her husband, Dr. Alexander Blackwell, from debtors' prison. Hearing that a work upon plants with medicinal qualities was needed, She made frequent trips to the nearby Chelsea Physic Garden to observe and draw the plants. Elizabeth compiled "A Curious Herbal", with the support of Sir Hans Sloane and the help of Philip Miller and others. She was also amongst the first botanical artists to actually engrave her own designs rather than hiring a professional engraver.
Altogether, the undertaking took her six full years to complete and in the end she was able to free her husband. Unfortunately, he went to Sweden several years later and became involved in a political plot and was eventually executed.
The first edition of Elizabeth Blackwell's art was published in London in 1739 under the title of, 'A Curious Herbal'. "Eryngium" hails from the much expanded second edition, published by Jacob Trew in Nuremberg between 1750 and 1760 under the title of, 'Herbarium Blackwellianum Emmendatum et Auctum'. Each engraving was hand-coloured by botanical artists before publication.
Besides the obvious beauty of these original engravings, examples from the Herbarium have been cited as perhaps the most important images of herbs and other medicinal plants created during the eighteenth century. One can see from these antique engravings why Elizabeth Blackwell has been called one of England's best early botanical artists.
Dr. Christopher Jacob Trew: Dr. Christopher Jacob Trew was a wealthy physician of Nuremberg who loved flowers and books and proceded to combine his two interests in a series of magnificent volumes. 'Herbarium Blackwellianum Emmendatum et Auctum' (between 1750 and 1760) dealt with herbals and medicinal plants. Another series was 'Plantae Selectae' ( 1750 - 1773) which contained many subjects of botanical interest and the species chosen were mainly for their rarity and novelty. The 'Hortus Nitidissimus' (1750 - 1786) was unlike the previous works. It was one of the greates florilegiums of the eighteenth century and was confined to ornamental flowers. Its aim was to present some of the most magnificent flowers.
'Plantae Selectae' and'Hortus Nitidissimus' were continued by other editors long after Trew's death in 1769.


  • Title: Cacao Caeavate
  • Creator: Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Date Created: 1775
  • Location Created: Nuremberg, Germany
  • Type: Illustration
  • Medium: Hand-colored etching

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