“Roses Variées” from the “Quatre Planches Fleurs Décoratives – Série 253″, colour lithograph designed by Henri Privat-Livemont. Published around 1900 by Clément, Tournier & Co. of Geneva. Size: 54,5 x 25 cm.
About 50 million years ago, the first roses in the Americas were found in modern-day Colorado. It is believed that roses were grown in many early civilisations of temperate latitudes from at least 5000 years ago. They are known to have been grown in ancient Babylon. Paintings of roses have been discovered in Egyptian pyramid tombs from the 14th century BC. Records exist of them being grown in Chinese gardens and Greek gardens from at least 500 BC. The significant breeding of modern times started slowly in Europe, from about the 17th century. This was encouraged by the introduction of new species, and especially by the introduction of the China rose into Europe in the 19th century. A major contributor in the early 19th century was Empress Josephine of France who patronized the development of rose breeding at her gardens at Malmaison.
Henri Privat-Livemont (1861–1936) was an Art Nouveau artist originally from Schaerbeek, Brussels (Belgium). From 1883 to 1889, he worked and studied in the studios of Lemaire, Lavastre & Duvignaud. He, with Lemaire, created the decor of the Theatre Français as well as the Hôtel de Ville, Paris. He later moved back to Brussels, and worked on theaters and casinos there.