Jane Webb Loudon

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JANE WEBB LOUDEN, English (1807-1858)

Artist and author Jane Webb Loudon is known for her work illustrating three publications on English flowers as well as penning the early science fiction work The Mummy.  Loudon was orphaned at age 17 upon her father's death in 1824. Due to his financial strife, she was left to find a way to support herself, and responded to the challenge by writing one of the earliest science-fiction novels, The Mummy. The success of her novel led John Loudon, a well-known landscape gardener and writer to seek a meeting with the author. Despite the 24 year age difference, the pair found a common ground, marrying in 1830 after only seven months of courtship. They worked as a team and she quickly learned all she could about the art of gardening, and acted as her husband's secretary, copyist and researcher, even assisting him with his major work, The Encyclopedia of Gardening, published in 1834.

Jane Loudon's contribution to botanical art is remembered by three wonderfully illustrated works: The Ladies' Flower Garden of Ornamental Bulbous Plants (1841); The Ladies' Flower Garden of Ornamental Perennials (1843-1844); and British Wild Flowers (1846). Underlining the lectures of John Lindley, who declared gardening a "fit occupation" for ladies of the time and whose lectures she often attended, Loudon's books became the standard resources for Victorian gentlewomen interested in its pursuit.  Jane Loudon's work is recognizable for its compositional device of arranging the groups of flowers shown in bouquet like arrangements. Showing both cultivated and wild flora they are considered by many to be among the best of Victorian botanical prints.

Louden died in 1858 at 51 years of age. She was buried next to her husband John.