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Cupid strikes

Think romance is only for mammals? This little cherub would say otherwise. Here he trains his arrow on a Bird of Paradise plant, intent on propagation.

This fanciful scene is one of many gorgeous plates in the third volume of Robert John Thornton’s New illustration for the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus, a steamy name for a book on plant reproduction by a middle-aged doctor.

“The Universal Empire of Love” From Robert John Thornton’s Temple of Flora.

With its grand illustrations, this last volume is commonly known as The Temple of Flora. Published at the height of Romanticism, these unusual plates, moody and ethereal, made the book famous.

We’ve digitized the whole book and made if available through the Internet Archive:

You can also browse the glorious illustrations here.

Why settle for a mere bouquet when you could offer your beloved an entire Temple of Flora? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tulips from Robert John Thornton’s Temple of Flora




  1. Divi

    WOW indeed glorious illustrations…thanks for the links you offered i’ll check them. I love to see beautiful images like this i find this very relaxing and postive. Thanks for your efforts again.

    p.s. Excuse my english, it’s not my native language

  2. Juanita

    Hello, I check your blog on a regular basis. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up!

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