Published: Parisiis : [Apud Fortin Masson et Sociorum],
Benjamin Delessert was born into a prosperous French family and had the
advantages of an excellent early education. He spent most of his life in business
and government affairs, but was also a dedicated amateur naturalist and patron of
the sciences. In 1803, Delessert began the creation of a large and scientifically
valuable herbarium for which he employed a succession of important botanists.
These individuals were encouraged to publish botanical works and Icones selectae
plantarum was one of them. It was published in five volumes with 500 uncolored
plates from several different artists and text by A. P. Candolle. Delessert wanted
the books he sponsored to be available to the general public, so the Icones
bore the relatively low price of 175 francs.