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Illustration of a Lilac Flower, Fritilaria Flower and Candolle Rose by Pierre Joseph Redouté

The Raphael Of Flowers Was The Nickname of Pierre-Joseph Redouté



  • Redoute was the premier botanical artist 1790 – 1830.
  • Redoute was an art tutor to Marie Antoinette (the last Queen of France) and she became his patron.
  • Redouté received the title of "Draughtsman and Painter to the Queen's Cabinet".
  • In 1798 The Empress Josephine Bonaparte, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, also became Redoute’s patron and appointed him to paint the flowers of the garden at Malmaison.
  • Redoute’s works were exhibited in The Louvre.
  • Redoute produced over 2,100 paintings for published plates depicting over 1,800 different species, many of which had never been drawn before.
  • ​His two most famous books were:

                          Les Liliacees (1802 - 15) 500 plates of lilies.

                          Les Roses (1817 - 21) He's best known for his roses.



Illustration of an Alstromeria Lily by Pierre Joseph Redouté

Pierre Joseph Redouté was one of the most prolific and respected botanical artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.  He illustrated approximately 50 botanical books during his lifetime. Redouté lived during a highly politically turbulent period yet he managed to survive and thrive. He was impacted by the French Revolution (1789-1799) where over forty thousand French citizens were executed. Later, with the combination of the Napoleonic wars and the successive changes of royalty -leadership on the French throne. Each change impacted Pierre-Joseph Redoute’s life. However, through perseverance and devotion to his art, Redouté became a remarkable artist and mentor to young artists.

Pierre Joseph Redouté 

Pierre Joseph Redouté was born in 1759 , at St Hubert, Belgium. Redouté was one of five children born into a family of artists. His grandfather, Jean-Jacques Redouté  (1687-1752) and father, Charles-Joseph Redouté (1715-1776) had both earned a living from painting portraits, interior decorations and religious works and it was expected that the next generation of sons would follow suit.  Redouté was a very talented artist and botanical illustrator. His work , able to skillfully bring exotic and native plants to life.


 Vue Du Jardin Des Plantes/Jardin Anglais et derriere de la Serre

Planning on a career painting flowers he moved to Paris in 1782. Redouté began making botanical drawings for the Jardin du Roi (the present-day Muséum national d’histoire naturelle), where he befriended Dutch painter. A professor of floral painting at Jardin du Roi, Gerard van Spaendonck (1746–1822) mentored Redouté.    While at the  Jardin du Roi  Redouté developed his artistic style, including engraving and water coloring methods.


Illustration of a Bellflower by Pierre Joseph Redouté

In 1784 Redouté met Charles Louis L’Héritier, 1746–1800, who was a self-taught botanist and a wealthy magistrate.  He mentored Redouté teaching him how to dissect flowers, draw plant anatomy, and highlight botanical details.  L’Héritier hired Redouté to illustrate botanical plates of several books as well as native and exotic plants in Kew Garden, Jardin du Roi, and other European gardens.

Illustration of Anemone Flowers by Pierre Joseph Redouté

Basically, Redoute’s good fortune was that both Spaendonck and L’Héritier helped launched Redouté’s scientific career. Redoute’s talent and specifically his attention to detail made his artworks unique and highly sought after. His elegant illustrations brought Redoute’ to the attention of royalty. Redouté was fortunate to become an artist who was patronized by the kings of France from Louis XVI to Louis-Philippe. ​His profile also has a unique claim to fame. His artworks and reputation was enhanced by his patronage by two of the premier first ladies of European history - Marie Antoinette and Josephine Bonaparte.

 Portrait of Marie-Antoinette with the rose. Oil on canvas, Versailles. Dated 1783 and painted by Vigée-Le Brun

By 1788 Redouté was the illustrator of two of his patron's books, Stirpes Novae and Sertum Angicum; a year later he was nameddraughtsman to the cabinet of Marie-Antoinette.

During the Terror of the French Revolution he was appointed to the staff of the former royal botanical garden, which had become the Jardin des Plantes and the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle.  Redoute was now showing his illustrations of flowers, fruit, and mushrooms in the official Salon and socializing with well-known painters: David, Vien, Gerard, Fragonard, and Carl Vernet.

Illustration of a Bouquet of Pansies by Pierre Joseph Redouté

During this period Redouté prospered and began to gravitate towards the rising star of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Malmaison The Home of Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte

His youngest brother, Henri-Joseph, served under the general in Egypt as a zoological draughtsman. Redoute was  creative and prolific drawing more than a thousand botanical plates. By the time of the 1805 edition of Rousseau’s Botanique Pierre-Joseph Redouté was a celebrity,’ le Raphael desfieurc, and a well-to-do business man with a fashionable clientele, a private apartment in the Louvre, a country residence near Paris at Fleury-sous-Meudon (where Jean-Jacques had once botanized), and a salary of 18,000 francs a year as Josephine’s decorator and flower painter at Malmaison.

Josephine’s Garden Party in the Rose Garden at Malmaison

A subsequent commission came with the new French empire. Napoleon Bonaparte married Joséphine de Beauharnais in 1796. Joséphine enjoyed horticulture and botany and, with the wealth and power of her husband, purchased Malmaison and remodeled its gardens, filling them with both native European plants and specimens from botanical expeditions overseas. Redouté became Joséphine’s court artist and illustrated a stunning and accurate record of her work in Jardin de la Malmaison (1805), by botanist Étienne-Pierre Ventenat. Redouté’s later publications for Joséphine included Les liliacées (1802–1816) and Les roses (1817).

Josephine’s Garden at Malmaison


A contemporary of Redouté, the memoir-writer Joseph-Francois Grille, describes him:

“A dumpy body, limbs like an elephant’s, a head as heavy and flat as a Dutch cheese, thick lips, a hollow voice, crooked fingers, a repulsive look, and beneath the skin an extremely delicate sense of tact, exquisite taste, a deep feeling for art, a fine sensibility, nobility of character, and the perseverance needed for the development of genius: such was Redouté, who had all the pretty women in Paris as his pupils.”

Redouté’s school of botanical drawing in the Salle Buffon of the Jardin des Plantes, 1830,  drawing by artist Julie Ribault, 1830

During these years, Redouté married Marie-Marthe Gobert, and they bought an apartment in Paris. They also purchased and a large country house and garden at Fleury-sous-Meudon on the outskirts of Paris. At the Estate at Fleury-sous-Meudon they renovated the house and “tamed the wilderness” of the garden and incorporated into the garden design many plants Pierre-Joseph wished to grow.

The artist home Maison de Redouté à Fleury-sous-Meudon France

After Empress Joséphine's death (1814), Redouté had some difficult years until he was appointed a master of draughtsmanship for the National Museum of Natural History in 1822. In 1824, he gave some drawing classes at the museum. Many of his pupils were aristocrats or royalty. He became a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1825.

Illustration of a Bearded Iris Flower by Pierre Joseph Redouté

Redoute taught and painted up to the day he died of a stroke on June 19 or 20, 1840. He was survived by his wife, Marie-Marthe Gobert, whom he married in 1786, and their two daughters. He was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Brusseleer Institut Redouté-Peiffer in Belgium circa 1922

A Brussels school bears his name: the Institut Redouté-Peiffer in Anderlecht. The Institut Pierre-Joseph Redouté gets its name from the painter of roses.  Opened in 1913, the school that currently bears the name of Institut Redouté-Peiffer has been hosting students in horticulture and market gardening since 1922, in the vicinity of Parc Astrid (Anderlecht). It has a large alpine-inspired rock garden designed in 1958 by the director of the Institute and former pupil of Jules Buyssens, Paul Dewit.

His work continues to be popular and is widely reproduced to this day.

Illustration of a Bouquet of Roses by Pierre Joseph Redouté


Pierre-Joseph Redouté | Wikipedia


Botanical Art and Artists:


The Royal Horticultural Society:


Redouté. The Book of Flowers by H. Walter Lack   2018


Redoute's Finest Flowers in Embroidery by Trish Burr 2002


Instant Wall Art - Botanical Prints: 45 Ready-to-Frame Vintage Illustrations for Your Home Decor by Adams Media 2015