Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) produced this diagram to illustrate the lectures on botany that he gave at the Government School of Design in London in the mid-1850s. It is one of several surviving examples that show how he taught botanical drawing. In this clear drawing the elements of the flowers are shown in a diagrammatic form, which helped Dresser to explain principles of biology.
Dresser began his career in botany and teaching. He was appointed as a lecturer in botany at the Government School of Design in 1854. In 1856 the designer and architect Owen Jones (1809-1874) invited Dresser to illustrate a plate on plants and flowers for his book, Grammar of Ornament, which looked at different styles of decoration.
Design & Designing
Dresser believed that everyone can appreciate of the underlying geometry of living things and the patterns that derive from them. Dresser’s interest in plants was mainly in the forms and designs they displayed during growth. He felt that by understanding the basic patterns upon which all things were constructed, the designer would know how to bring together seemingly very different and exotic forms into a new style.