Robert John Thornton was an English physician and botanical writer, noted for “A New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus Von Linnæus” (1797-1807) and “The British Flora” of 1812. The most ambitious part of the “New Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnæus” was Part III, the “Temple of Flora” (1799-1807), from which these illustrations are derived.
The first plates were engraved by Thomas Medland in May 1798, from paintings by Philip Reinagle.and Peter Henderson.
Between 1798 and 1807, they produced a total of thirty-three coloured plates, engraved in aquatint, stipple and line.
When he planned the project, Thornton had decided to publish seventy folio-size plates.