18 December 2002
COGNIAUX, Célestin Alfred (1841-1916) & A. GOSSENS. Dictionaire Iconographique des Orchidies, Direction & ridaction par A. Cogniaux Dessins & aquarelles par A. Gossens. Brussels: 1896-1907.
17 volumes, oblong 8o (143 x 185mm). Approximately 800 chromolithographic plates after Goossens printed by J.I. Goffart and others. (Some chipping and general wear.) Unbound as issued in original cloth portfolios (very worn, many broken). Provenance: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Stickney Fund (bookplate dated 1898; stamps).
LIMITED TO 250 COPIES, THIS IS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL THE MAJOR WORKS ON ORCHIDS WITH PLATES BY ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ALL ORCHID PAINTERS. The work is made up from sections on each genus, headed by a title and 2pp. of general description of the genus giving an historical note about the variety and ending with an acknowledgment of the origin of the particular flower depicted in each plate. The larger genera are each alloted their own volume: Cymbidium; Cypripedium; Dendrobium; Epidendrum; Laelia; Laelio-Cattleya; Lycaste; Masdevallia; Miltonia; Odontoglossum; Oncidium; Phalaenopsis; Vanda. The remaining genera appear in a large final volume.
The work was printed at an interesting period for the history of orchid cultivation: a large number of varieties had been discovered in the previous 70 years, and the mechanics of the breeding of orchids had been established to a degree that allowed for the production of a new flush of captive-bred cross-breed varieties. Belgium was at the center of the world-wide trade in orchid varieties and Cogniaux was therefore ideally placed to record this proliferation of varieties. Sold as a collection of plates, not subject to return. Balis & Lawalrie, L'Orchidie en Belgique 40; Nissen ZBI Suppl. 2236n. (17)
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