Campana Brothers Select: Works from the Permanent Collection

Book: page from New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus Linnaeus

  • Written and illustrated by Robert John
    Thornton (ca. 1768–1837)
    London, England, ca. 1807
    Hand-colored engraving
    Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Institution
    Libraries, f QK91 .T49 1807
    Photo: Matt Flynn

  • More than illustrating scientist Carolus Linnaeus’s work on plant systems, Robert John Thornton provided a romantic backdrop for the plants. The cupid in this illustration caught our attention because it seems to summarize many of our inspirations, but most of all served as a symbol of purity, and of the passion and love involved in creative pursuit.

Browse the collection: creating texture, entwining, inspiring arrow, morphing nature, quizzical delicacy, solid dreams, whimsy kaleidoscope
The above tags were provided by the Campana Brothers as an alternative way of organizing the objects in the exhibition.