London: W. Curtis, 1798.
Botanical print. Copper plate engraving with hand coloring. Page measures 18 x 10 3/8".
Lathyrus pratensis or meadow vetchling, yellow pea, meadow pea and meadow pea-vine, is a perennial legume that grows to 1.2 m in height. The hermaphrodite flowers are pollinated by bees.
William Curtis (1746-1799) was an English botanist who began as an apothecary before turning his attention to natural history. He established his own London Botanic Garden in the 1770's and published "Flora Londinensis" (6 volumes, 1777-1798) which was devoted to urban nature. This was not a financial success, but he went on to publish "The Botanical Magazine" in 1787, a work that featured hand colored plates by various artists, and which was very popular. Natural history illustrators such as James Sowerby and Sydenham Edwards found a start with the magazine. This print was the first edition folio series, the largest and rarest of the series.