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Belgium, Botanical Albums

A collection of 13 portfolios of dried botanical specimens. [Belgium: circa 1840, ?and later]. Large 2 (590 x 360mm. and smaller). Approximately 980 folded leaves of paper containing mounted botanical specimens, most with pasted on manuscript captions giving at least the Latin binommial, often a detailed botanical description in Latin, and occasionally including related remarks in French on the specimen's origin, etc. (A number of specimens detached, some damaged.) Unbound between contemporary blue paper-covered boards, the boards held together by blue cloth ties, all but one volume with various labels on the upper covers (rubbed and scuffed).

A RARE APPEARANCE AT AUCTION OF AN EXTENSIVE MID-19TH-CENTURY HERBARIUM, OR 'HORTUS SICCUS', COLLECTED DURING BELGIUM'S HAYDAY AS A CENTRE FOR AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE AND BOTANY. The range of plants is impressive: from trees to pond-weed, and including fungi, sea-weed, flowering plants, shrubs and a sample of most things in between. Most plants are European but the collection does include several Spiraea from Japan. The volume numbering shows that there are at least two 'volumes' missing from the collection, which is numbered II, IV-XII, XIV-XV and one volume unumbered. Internal evidence suggests that the unknown compilor of the core collection was a member (and perhaps an officer) of both the Academie Royale de Bruxelles and the Socit Royale d'Agriculture et de Botanique de Gand, a number of specimens seem to have been added subsequently. The labelling is accurate, as are the botanical descriptions, and the additional notes record, amongst other things, that some of the plants were donated: all these factors are indications that the collection was assembled by a professional botanist of some standing, as a working reference tool. (13)

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