Walter Hood Fitch (1817 – 1892) was one of the most productive botanical artists of the Victorian era, and one of the most talented.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, February 28th 1817, Fitch was educated locally and apprenticed to a firm of calico designers at the age of 17. The complex process of fabric printing required that the young man become familiar with engraving as well. Large heavy rollers were created for each colour to be applied to the cloth, and the patterns had to match exactly so that the final product would have a single multi-coloured pattern. The skills Fitch learned at the plant would prove invaluable later, as he would engrave and lithograph thousands of his own botanical prints.
Among Fitch’s more important works are his illustrations for William Jackson Hooker’s A Century of Orchidaceous Plants (1851), and for J. Bateman’s A Monograph of Odontoglossum (1864-74), he also created around 500 plates for Hooker’s Icones Plantarum (1836-76).