Robert Furber – Twelve Months of the Year in Flowers

Robert Furber (1674–1756) was a British horticulturist and author, best known for writing the first seed catalogue produced in England.

Furber was a member of the “English Society of Gardners”, a group formed in 1724 to protect the reputations of plant growers by mutually agreeing to names for newly discovered plants. Furber contributed to the group’s work, including collaborating on a book documenting the plants discovered and named by the group.

Furber’s most notable work was Twelve Months of Flowers, published in 1730. The book was written as a catalog of plants and seeds, and featured twelve detailed engravings of seasonal plants in bloom. Henry Fletcher produced each of the twelve hand-colored engravings from paintings by Pieter Casteels. Each plant was numbered, with a list of the corresponding species names provided. More than 400 different species of plant were featured.

In 1732, Furber produced a follow-up work entitled Twelve Months of Fruit. Like his previous collection of flowers, Twelve Months of Fruit featured twelve full-color plates with 364 different fruit. Each plate focused on one month, and showed the varieties of fruit that would ripen during that month.