Double Sweet Violet Snow Drops Prestele Botanical Illustration
William Henry Prestele was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, to Franz Joseph Martin Prestele (also a painter and lithographer of flowers and fruits) and Karoline Russ and raised in the Amana Colonies in Iowa.
In 1867, at the age of 29, he was hired to make a series of nurserymen’s plates by an Illinois nursery owner. When this relationship ended in 1871, he went into business with L. B. Littlefield, publishing fruit and flower plates, and later, in 1875, set up as a lithographer in Iowa City, near where he was raised.
On August 1, 1887, he was appointed as the first artist on the staff of the Pomological Division of the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. He was assigned to make life-size watercolors of native grapes intended as illustrations for a monograph by Thomas Volney Munson of Denison, Texas, a leading authority on native grapes.
He died in Arlington, Virginia on August 16, 1895, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.