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Camellias

Drawn by  J. J. Jung

Engraved by Abbe Laurent Berlese (1784-1863)

Abbe Laurent's monograph on Camellias was originally published in three volumes from 1839-1843. The plates are folio sized (14'' x 10 1/8''). This fine book of Camellias originally consisted of 300 finely engraved and stippled plates plates, sections of the plates are colored by hand, and the entire work was completed by the direction of M. Cousin. The set was printed by Remond. These plates are from the most eminent book, or monograph, on the Camellia ever published. Interest in this variety of flowers reached its zenith. At this point a great quantity of seedlings of the Camellia genus were made by crossing types of the camellia Japonica, and they were raised by a family in Ghent in Belgium. Abbe Laurent Berlese also raised these plants in Paris. Born in Campo Molino near Treviso, in Northern Italy, Berlese was originally a chaplain and moved to Paris to serve in the clergy. In Paris, he cultivated camellias. Berlese made an enormous collection of camellias. Because a confusing number of sub-varieties of camellia were extent by the 1830s, Berlese proposed to write a book categorizing them, and he initially found 250 subscribers to fund his efforts. Berlese's work was wildly successful due to its colorful and distinctive plates that were originally drawn by a J.J. Jung, yet we know little about Jung today. Berlese was very thankful to Jung for his colorful and distinctive drawings that resulted in plates that have allowed Berlese's work to stand out from all other compendiums on the genus. It is probable that Pierre-Joseph Redoute influenced Jung's designs for the plates.