The Hauck collection includes significant books about botany, horticulture, and landscape architecture. It is not limited to one or even several geographic locations; it is worldwide in scope.
Plant illustration in books evolved over the centuries as interest in plants broadened from a means of identification for useful purposes to interest in their decorative qualities and scientific classification. As plant knowledge advanced, so did the development of the technology necessary to create the illustrations.
The earliest printed books about plants and plant culture are not illustrated. Information about plants was entirely dependent upon the quality of the written descriptions of them.
Plant illustration in books evolved over the centuries.
In the 15th century, books devoted to medicinal and other uses of plants (herbals) began to be printed in Europe with text and crude woodcut illustrations. In the 17th century, as explorers brought "exotic" plants from foreign lands, there was heightened interest in the decorative properties of plants and "picture books" (florilegia) showing these ornamental plants peaked in popularity.
During the 18th century, as curiosity about the structure of plants and their growth increased, botanical art became more sophisticated as an aid to plant identification and classification.
In the 17th century, explorers brought "exotic" plants from foreign lands.
The Hauck Collection documents the use and advancing scientific knowledge of plants as well as the development of botanical illustration and print making techniques and technology from the 15th to the 20th century.