Library Page Turning

A Real Page Turner

New event highlights rare books held in Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s library special collections.

We will be celebrating special occasions or visits of honored guests with the ceremonial page turning of great books such as Redouté’s Les Roses

Visitors can come into the library to see the current selection of prized rare book holdings. Please inquire at the California Garden Shop next time you visit the Garden to see a sample of special volumes in the RSABG collection and the informative display created by RSABG staff and volunteers.


June and July 2014

Illustrations of cactus and succulent plants.


April and May 2014

A selection of books, articles, and other materials written by or honoring Bart O'Brien, former director of special projects and director of horticulture, who accepted a position at Tilden Regional Park. We will miss him!


April and May 2013

Wildflowers, Wildflowers, Wildflowers! Come see a selection of our archival books, pamphlets and other items on the topic of wildflowers.


January and February

In collaboration with the Family Bird Fest held in February, the library’s current rare book display “Birds in Print—Words and Pictures,” highlights several of RSABG's beautiful bird books and original paintings from the special collections.  



A volume of Les Roses by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, the first book to be showcased in this new tradition, was on display through December 2011.

Visiting distinguished botanist Max Von Balgooy of the National Herbarium, Netherlands, helped launch the new tradition by turning the first page of the handsome tome in October.

Redouté (1759-1840), sometimes referred to as ‘the Raphael of flowers,’ was a Belgian painter, botanist and botanical illustrator.

As official court artist for Queen Marie-Antoinette and later official artist for the Empress Josephine (first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte), he survived the French Revolution and subsequent political upheaval to gain international recognition for his precise renderings of plants. Following Josephine's death, Redouté’s fortunes fell until in 1822 when he was appointed master of design for the French Museum of Natural History (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle) in Paris. Three years later, he was awarded chevalier of the Legion d’honneur.

Over his long career, Redouté collaborated with the greatest botanists of his day. Under the Empress Josephine's generous patronage he produced some of his most spectacular renderings of plants from places as distant as Japan, South Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia. Heir to the tradition of Flemish and Dutch flower painters, Redouté contributed over 2,100 published plates that depicted over 1,800 different plant species—many never rendered before.

The Les Roses volume currently on display is special piece of RSABG’s history. The handsome tome is one of a three-volume set that was given to founder, Susanna Bixby Bryant, by her husband Ernest Bryant. Each illustration in the volume is printed from the original engraved plate and has been hand-stippled in watercolor by the artist.