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Art History Lesson Part 2: Cavallini Botanica Calendars

4 Sep

Cavallini & Co., known for their high quality and exquisite craftsmanship, celebrates the work of renowned artists in their beautiful calendars. Two popular calendar designs feature inspired global artwork. These two calendars hail from very different points in history, but both honor a rich artistic tradition. The first I posted about was Cavallini’s most popular calendar prints: Japanese Woodblocks. The second, today’s post, is Cavallini’s Botanica print calendars.

Cavallini Botanica’s Beginning

Cavallini 2013 Wall Calendar - Botanica on EuropeanPaper.comBorn in 1746, William Curtis began his career in England as an apothecary. Soon he branched off into natural history, and he developed a specific interest in botany. In 1779 he established his own botanic garden.

In 1787, Curtis founded The Botanical Magazine. The publication featured hand-colored plates of floral prints and journal articles about gardening and botany. Later, the publication was renamed Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.

Botanical illustrators provided finely detailed plates, and descriptions accompanied each rendering in the publication. This highly regarded publication was one of the first to introduce such illustrations to the general public.

Curtis only lived to see the first 13 volumes. However, Curtis’s Botanical Magazine is still published today by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. According to the publisher, “Now well over two hundred years old, the Magazine is the longest running botanical periodical featuring colour illustrations of plants. Each four-part volume contains 24 plant portraits reproduced from watercolour originals by leading international botanical artists. Detailed but accessible articles combine horticultural and botanical information, history, conservation and economic uses of the plants described.”

The first 164 volumes of the publication are collected and housed at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland. In addition, several of the publication’s earliest issues are available online through The Gutenberg Project.

The beautifully illustrated floral prints in the Cavallini calendar first appeared in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. See them all in Cavallini’s Botanica Wall and Easel Calendars.

Cavallini 2013 Wall Calendar - Botanica on


 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at


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