Images from naturalist and botanical texts, in addition to being beautiful, have been key sources of information for doctors and scientists for centuries. The 16th century wood engraver Andres Lagunas depicted important flowers and plants with medicinal properties for the medical text Dioscordides anazarbeo Acerca de la Materia Medicinal, which was published by Mathias Gast in 1555. This five volume work was originally written by a Greek physician in the Roman army between 50 and 70 CE, making it one of the oldest continuously used natural history texts.
William Curtis, an American Botanist, recognized an interest in the natural world in his fellow Americans and published the first edition of The Botanical Magazine in 1787. Running for over two centuries, this publication offered hand-colored engravings and an educated yet accessible text that familiarized it's readers with both exotic and common plants. Other selected hand colored engravings in this show of botanicals and naturalist subjects reflect on the interest sparked by Darwin and Linnaeus to determine the origin of species.