Ledum latifolium by Miller, 1820
Ledum latifolium by William Miller, engraved by George Cooke, published in The Botanical Cabinet, 1820.
Commonly known as bog Labrador tea, Ledum latifolium is now classified as Rhododendron groenlandicum. The name change reflects the shifting of the genus Ledum into that of Rhododendron as a subsection. Like other members of the heath family Ericaeae, it is a flowering low shrub, usually growing to be around fifty centimeters high. It's leaves are evergreen with a leathery texture and a hairy white to red-brown underside. The flower's are white and grow in hemispherical clusters. They are sticky to the touch and have a very fragrant aroma. Bog Labrador tea grow's naturally in northern latitudes, preferring bogs and wet areas though it has been found on rocky alpine slopes. In Europe the range extends south from the Alps and in North America it reaches as far south as Pennsylvania and Oregon. The plant does produce ledol which can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities.
William Miller (1796-1882) was an engraver and watercolorist from Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1814, he was apprenticed to William Archibald. His first published work was an engraving of an apple tree in volume one of the Caledonian Horticultural Society. He spent four years working under Archibald and then he went into business for himself, joining the workshop of George Cooke in 1819. While working with Cooke, he drew a series of sketches for Loddiges' nursery which were engraved by Cooke and published in volumes five through seven of Loddiges' The Botanical Cabinet. Miller was a principal engraver of works by Turner, producing single plates and those for illustration of other works. His works were published in a variety of different publications and his output was fairly prolific.
George Cooke (1781-1834) was an English engraver. At fourteen he was apprenticed to James Basire. Toward the end of his apprenticeship he created plates for Brewer's Beauties of England and Wales. After the completion of his apprenticeship he engraved several plates for Pinkerton's Collection of Voyages and Travels, as well as two plate's for his brother William's The Thames. In 1814 he began work on Picturesque Views of the Southern Coast of England. He engraved almost a third of the plates contained in the work which was completed in 1826. The remainder of his career was quite active with Cooke producing plates for a number of different publications in addition to individual plates after artists like Turner and Callcott.
- Naomi Bean