Liliaceae: Pancratium declinatum signed 'P. Redouté' (lower right) pencil and watercolor heightened with white on vellum 19 x 14in (48.2 x 35.6cm)
PROVENANCE: Empress Josephine Bonaparte, Malmaison (acquired directly from the artist; last volume delivered after her death in 1814); Prince Eugène de Beauharnais (her son), later created Duke of Leuchtenberg in Bavaria; The Dukes of Leuchtenberg, Bavaria; Sale: Braus-Riggenbach and Ulrich Hoepfli, Zürich, Bibliotheque Eugène de Beauharnais sale, May 23, 1935, lot 82; Erhard Weyhe, New York, before World War II; Private Trust (their sale, Sotheby's, New York, Pierre-Joseph Redouté's 'Les Liliacées,' The Empress Josephine's Copy with the Original Drawings and the Text on Vellum, November 20, 1985, offered as one lot); with W. Graham Arader III, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (acquired at the above sale).
Les Liliacées was an eight-volume set of botanical drawings, produced by Redouté under the patronage of Empress Josephine between 1802-1816. It was printed by Didot Jeune, Paris, with stipple-engraved color plates and finished by hand. Empress Josephine purchased the original set that served as model for the engravings. The present work is number 414 in that set.
Commonly called a spiderlily, the Pancratium declinatum (now known as Hymenocallis caribaea) is a native of the West Indies.