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Riocreux, Alfred, 1820-1912. Alfred Riocreux botanical watercolors, 1860: A Guide.

Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge), Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge), Botany Libraries, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: arn00007
Repository: Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge), Botany Libraries, Harvard University
Creator: Riocreux, Alfred, 1820-1912
Title: Alfred Riocreux botanical watercolors
Date(s): 1860
Quantity: 1 collection (87 watercolors and boards in 2 boxes)
Language of materials: Latin


This collection was acquired by the Arnold Arboretum.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide two forms of valid photo identification. Please contact botref@oeb.harvard.edu for additional information.

Preferred Citation:

Alfred Riocreux botanical watercolors, Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge), Harvard University.


Alfred Riocreux was born in Sevres, France, in 1820, the son of painter Denis-Désiré Riocreux. He became interested in botanical illustration after meeting botanist Adolphe Theodore Brongniart. It is most likely through Brongniart that Riocreux was introduced to the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, where he met botanist and author Joseph Decaisne.
Decaisne was one of several botanists who employed Riocreux to illustrate his work. Riocreux also worked for Édouard Raoul, William Hemsley, and Gustave Thuret, and contributed many illustrations to the periodicals "La Revue Horticole" and "Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Botanique."
In the late 1800's Riocreux was recommended by landscape architect Édouard André to manage the production of the engravings for Charles Sprague Sargent's "Silva of North America." From Paris, Riocreux supervised the illustration and engraving of six hundred plates by Charles Edward Faxon and Philibert and Eugene Picart.
Riocreux died in Paris in 1912. The genus Riocreuxia was named by Decaisne in his honor.
Blunt W, Stearn WT. 1994. The Art of Botanical Illustration. Woodbridge (GB): Antique Collector's Club Ltd.
De Candolle A. 1844. Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis…, v.8. Paris: Treuttel & Würtz.
Édouard André Letters to C.S. Sargent, 1886 - 1905, Correspondence of Édouard André 1886-1905, Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

Scope and Content

The Riocreux watercolors comprise 87 original watercolor paintings in [matting]. The watercolors have been detached from the binding. The paintings vary in size from 22 x 28 cm up to 29 x 36 cm. There are two plates numbered 73 but they are not duplicates. Sixty-one illustrations were reproduced in Auguste Loiseleur Deslongchamps's Herbier Général de l'Amateur, Deuxiéme série, t.1 (Paris: Didot Jeune, 1839).

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