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Print - Leontodon Taraxacum
  • Leontodon Taraxacum
    Kilburn, William, born 1745 - died 1818
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Leontodon Taraxacum

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (printed and published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1777 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kilburn, William, born 1745 - died 1818 (artist)
    Curtis, William (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving, coloured by hand

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case TOPIC, shelf DP1

William Kilburn worked as a botanical illustrator. He produced most of the plates in the first volume of William Curtis's Flora Londinensis, a field guide to the wild flowers of London. This was a serial publication that came out between 1777 and 1798.

This plate is based on Kilburn's design. The original watercolour survives in the Botany Library of the Natural History Museum in London. One of the subscribers to the Flora Londinensis, Sir Thomas Frankland, wrote regularly to Curtis with criticisms and comments. On 21 December 1778 he wrote to praise Kilburn's contributions, saying: ‘There is an uncommon taste in his drawing & I often regret he has deserted you’.

Kilburn had served an apprenticeship (a period of training for a trade) in a cotton-printing factory in Dublin in Ireland. When he moved to London he continued to sell designs to calico-printers. He gave up his work as a botanical illustrator to go back to the textile industry, where he could earn more money. Eventually he owned his own calico-printing factory, for which he designed exquisitely detailed floral patterns. A volume of his designs for textiles is in the V&A collection.

Physical description

Engraving depicting the dandelion complete with roots, with two yellow flowers, several unopened buds and a white dandelion clock and dissections of the plant parts across the bottom.

Place of Origin

London (printed and published)


ca. 1777 (printed and published)


Kilburn, William, born 1745 - died 1818 (artist)
Curtis, William (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving, coloured by hand

Marks and inscriptions

'Leontodon Taraxacum'.
Lower centre

Kilburn pinxt et facut
Lower right corner

[plant parts numbered 1-11]


Height: 36.5 cm sheet, Width: 27.8 cm sheet

Descriptive line

Botanical illustration by William Kilburn, 'Leontoden Taraxacum' or 'Dandelion', plate from Curtis's 'Flora Londinensis', British, engraving, ca. 1777

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

pl. 107
Kilburn, William. Flora Londinensis. London, 1777-1798.
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints, Drawings and Paintings Accession Register for 1996





Subjects depicted

Botanical illustration; Flowers; Dandelion; Plants


Illustration; Printed pages & sheets; Science; Gardens & Gardening


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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