Rachel’s Redoutéana reunited online
18 December 2019
During her lifetime Rachel Hunt collected works by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, who was her favorite botanical artist. She did not restrict her collecting to his books or his paintings. Instead she collected widely, including his prints and his autograph letters. When the subject of the first formal exhibition at the new Hunt Botanical Library was raised, Rachel knew exactly what she wanted—her Redoutéana. Sadly, she died just months before the exhibition opened to the public on 21 April 1963. The accompanying Catalogue of Redoutéana contained extensive biographical and bibliographical information as well as descriptions of the artwork and manuscripts. Over the years we have exhibited individual Redouté items but never again as a whole collection. In the 1970s when our four programmatic departments were established, Rachel's Redoutéana was dispersed among our Archives, Art Department and Library. Now that we are digitizing the collections, we are pleased to reunite a good portion of Rachel's collection here on our Web site, making it accessible in a way she may not have imagined but hopefully of which she would have approved.
A finding aid with PDFs for the Pierre-Joseph Redouté papers is available from our Archives. Our Art Department has 143 artworks by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, including line and stipple engravings, pencil drawings and watercolor paintings. Thumbnails of the Redouté images have been added to the Catalogue of the Botanical Art Collection at the Hunt Institute database. Our Library holds 22 titles illustrated by Pierre-Joseph Redouté along with some later editions and a few second copies that were in Rachel Hunt's library and additional works acquired following her death in 1963. Although we will not be digitizing our Redouté-illustrated books because most titles are accessible online from other libraries, our librarian gives a full accounting of our holdings and updates the bibliographic information published in Catalogue of Redoutéana.
About the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a research division of Carnegie Mellon University, specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation. To this end, the Institute acquires and maintains authoritative collections of books, plant images, manuscripts, portraits and data files, and provides publications and other modes of information service. The Institute meets the reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, conservationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of the North American flora.
Scarlett T. Townsend