Clara Maria Pope
(1768 - 1838)
Iconographie du Genre Camellia
An English artist and artist's model, the beautiful and talented Clara Pope was
born in 1768. In her early years she derived an income from a modeling career, eventually
marrying her primary employer, the artist Francis Wheatley.
Pope possessed considerable talent as a painter. By the age of twenty-eight she
was exhibiting "miniatures" at the Royal Academy. Widowed at the early age of thirty-three,
she returned to modeling to support herself and three daughters. She continued to
progress her painting skills throughout this difficult period . She then married
for a second time to Alexander Pope, a noted poet and actor of the day.
Clara Pope was also gifted as a portraitist and climbed the social ladder with her
talent for painting portraits of those in high society . Eventually Pope was discovered
by Samuel Curtis, the famous editor of Curtis' Botanical Magazine. Curtis
commissioned Clara to author the paintings for his planned Monograph on the Family
Camellia. The book was published in 1819
Monumental in scale, the color plates measure 24 x 18 inches. The leather-bound
folio was comprised of only five hand-colored engravings. Very few copies were sold,
probably because of the prohibitive cost. Today the work is recognized as the finest
of all the great camellia books. Fewer than ten copies of the complete book are
known to exist in the world today.
The set which resides at the library at Kew is unusually well preserved and beautifully
colored. The OPPENHEIMER KEW GARDENS EDITION of the Camellias
captures these exceedingly rare prints perfectly. Every nuance of Ms. Pope's genius
as a painter is present to behold.
Images may be viewed in the
Strictly limited to 300 numbered sets.
Price range for individual prints: $600 - $900
Complete set of five plates: $3,000