Book Tropicale


Tropicale references the classic style of botanical albums, while playing with this convention. The publication uses Japanese binding, to hide a second, parallel story in its inner pages.

The title comes from the original collection of floral prints, which was compiled at the turn of the XXth century by one of Poland’s most famous clerics, Władysław Michał Zaleski, known as the “Father of the Indian clergy”.

There are over thirty thousand prints in the Flore Tropicale collection, only a few are presented in the publication. The album invites us to reflect on the complicated relations between Europe and the Orient, on the interaction of cultures and civilizations. The botanical illustrations are in subtle dialogue with the inner layer of the book, which hides a selection of photographs, collages and illustrations carefully prepared by Zaleski himself. These show us India through the eyes of a European priest.

The viewer is placed in the uncomfortable position where some of the images and their meanings remain inaccessible.


Authors: Łukasz Gniadek i Krystyna Jędrzejewska-Szmek

Editor: University of Warsaw Botanic Garden

Year of edition:2019

Format:22 x 27 cm



Japanese binding, soft cover

Languages: Polish, English

ISBN 978-83-913354-8-2


More about Flore Tropicale:

This book arises thanks to Arctic Papers support – Munken Lynx paper producer.

Illustrations from legacy of rev. Władysław Michał Zaleski shared by Archiwum Archidjecezjalne Warszawskie.