design is based on a gouache painting of a cactus (native to Curacao) done in
1762 by Lady Henrietta Somerset. Lady Henrietta’s mother, the fourth Duchess of
Beaufort, hired German-born Georg Dionysius Ehret, the most highly-regarded
botanical illustrator in England at the time, to teach her daughter. Ehret
instructed Lady Henrietta in watercolor painting at her home, Badminton, the
family seat of the Dukes of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, England. Botanical
specimens grown in the gardens at Badminton provided the source for her work.
The duchess’s brother, Lord Botetourt, was the royal governor of Virginia from
1768 to 1770; he lived in the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg.