Augusta Innes Withers

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Oncidium incurvum orchid
Barnet raspberry

Augusta Hanna Elizabeth Innes Withers (née Baker) (1792 Gloucestershire – 1877 London), was an English natural history illustrator, known for her illustrating of John Lindley's Pomological Magazine and her collaboration with Sarah Drake on the monumental Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala by James Bateman. She was appointed "Flower Painter in Ordinary" to Queen Adelaide and later to Queen Victoria. She also produced illustrations for Benjamin Maund's "Botanist", the ”Transactions of the Horticultural” Society, the ”Illustrated Bouquet" (1857-1863) and Curtis's Botanical Magazine. [1]

Augusta was the daughter of a Gloucestershire vicar, chaplain to the Prince Regent. She lived in London all her life and was married to Theodore Withers, an accountant, and 20 years her senior. Besides giving painting classes, she was active as a painter from before 1827 to 1865, exhibiting from 1829-46 at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists and the New Watercolour Society. [2]

John Claudius Loudon commented in the 1831 ”Gardener's Magazine" that her talents were of the highest order, and that "to be able to draw flowers botanically, and fruit horticulturally, that is, with the characteristics by which varieties and subvarieties are distinguished, is one of the most useful accomplishments of your ladies of leisure, living in the country."[3]

In 1815, in an attempt to clarify the nomenclature of cultivated fruit varieties and reduce the number of synonyms in common use, William Jackson Hooker initiated a project of fruit drawings in watercolour stretching over 10 volumes. Suffering a stroke in 1820, Hooker was unable to finish the work. Four other artists, including Augusta Innes Withers and Barbara Cotton were commissioned to complete the work, [4] ironic since Withers had been refused a position as botanical artist by Hooker's son, Joseph Dalton Hooker. [5]

Withers painted the 12 colour plates for Robert Thompson's The Gardener's Assistant (Blackie & Son, 1859), "A guide to the Formation and Management of the Kitchen, Fruit, and Flower Garden, and the cultivation of conservatory, green-house, and stove plants. With a copious calendar of gardening operations." [6]

Paintings by Augusta Innes Withers
Chysis laevis orchid 

External links[edit]


  1. ^ 'Benezit Dictionary of British Graphic Artists and Illustrators', Volume 1 by Oxford University Press
  2. ^ Christopher Wood Gallery Archived November 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Leicester Galleries
  4. ^ Lindley Library Collections Archived May 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Florilegius[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Barbara Farnsworth[permanent dead link]