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COLLECTION Identifier: arn00007

Alfred Riocreux botanical watercolors

Scope and Content

The Riocreux watercolors comprise 87 original watercolor paintings in [matting]. The watercolors have been detached from the binding. The paintings vary in size from 22 x 28 cm up to 29 x 36 cm. There are two plates numbered 73 but they are not duplicates. Sixty-one illustrations were reproduced in Auguste Loiseleur Deslongchamps’s Herbier Général de l'Amateur, Deuxiéme série, t.1 (Paris: Didot Jeune, 1839).


  • 1860


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification. Please contact for additional information.


0.5 linear feet (87 watercolors and boards in 2 boxes)


Alfred Riocreux was born in Sevres, France, in 1820, the son of painter Denis-Désiré Riocreux. He became interested in botanical illustration after meeting botanist Adolphe Theodore Brongniart. It is most likely through Brongniart that Riocreux was introduced to the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, where he met botanist and author Joseph Decaisne.

Decaisne was one of several botanists who employed Riocreux to illustrate his work. Riocreux also worked for Édouard Raoul, William Hemsley, and Gustave Thuret, and contributed many illustrations to the periodicals La Revue Horticole and Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Botanique.

In the late 1800’s Riocreux was recommended by landscape architect Édouard André to manage the production of the engravings for Charles Sprague Sargent's Silva of North America. From Paris, Riocreux supervised the illustration and engraving of six hundred plates by Charles Edward Faxon and Philibert and Eugene Picart.

Riocreux died in Paris in 1912. The genus Riocreuxia was named by Decaisne in his honor.


Blunt W, Stearn WT. 1994. The Art of Botanical Illustration. Woodbridge (GB): Antique Collector’s Club Ltd.

De Candolle A. 1844. Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis…, v.8. Paris: Treuttel & Würtz.

Édouard André Letters to C.S. Sargent, 1886 - 1905, Correspondence of Édouard André 1886-1905, Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.


This collection was acquired by the Arnold Arboretum.

General note

In 2018, Harvard's Imaging Services department digitized this collection as part of the "Original botanical illustrations of the Botany Libraries" project.

Riocreux, Alfred, 1820-1912. Alfred Riocreux botanical watercolors, 1860: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Arnold Arboretum Library in Cambridge specializes in the identification and classification of Old World plants with emphasis on Asia. The Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge) houses unique resources, primarily field notes related to the plant specimens housed in Cambridge.

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