Henry Frederick Conrad Sander (1847-1920)
Reichenbachia, Orchids illustrated and described. London: J. French for Henry Sotheran & Co and F. Sander & Co. of St. Albans, [1886-]1888-1894[-1895]. 2 series in 4 volumes, imperial 2° (670 x 492mm). Text in English, French and German. Limitation leaf in vol.I, first series, 4 other small format limitation slips bound in to the same volume. 192 fine chromolithographic plates, most finished by hand, all mounted on card, by Joseph Mansell, G. Leutzsch and J.L. Macfarlane after Henry Moon, W.H. Fitch, A.H. Loch and C. Storer, wood-engraved illustrations. (Some spotting to text, mounts and affecting about 40 plates, the spotting heavier to about 10 plates, other minor faults to 6 plates.) Early 20th-century half pigskin, spines in seven compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second and third, t.e.g.(some light scuffing and soiling).
THE VERY RARE IMPERIAL EDITION OF THIS "IMPORTANT AND AUTHORITATIVE WORK FOR ORCHID GROWERS" (Great Flower Books). A rare work, it was limited to 100 copies (this copy unnumbered), with the plates mounted on card, and with large format text. Only two copies are listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty five years. This glorious work on the orchid family is named in honour of Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach (1824-1889), botanist and celebrated orchidologist. After a lifetime largely devoted to Orchids, Reichenbach's death during the publication of the present work caused controversy when it was revealed that he had left his herbarium and library to the natural history museum in Vienna, on the condition that the preserved orchids and orchid drawings were not to be consulted for 25 years after his death. Born in Bremen in 1865, Sander came to Britain in 1865 and worked in nurseries in Forest Hill. He had started his own independant business by 1874 and opened the famous St.Albans establishment in 1881. The firm was later expanded with establishments in both America and Belgium. The present work covers the period when the firm was at its most active: a contemporary work notes that in the spring of 1894 Sander's had twenty orchid collectors working simultaneously in Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Madagascar, New Guinea, Burma and Malaya (see Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Cecil A History of Gardening in England, 1910, pp.281-282). In the introduction Sander explains that "The growing popularity of Orchids, and the ever-increasing demand for information respecting them, is sufficient reason for issuing the present work.. It will be our aim to represent truthfully the natural aspect of the plants, which will be drawn life size... Some of the plant portraits will be coloured by lithography, others will be hand painted when found expedient.. It is our intention to illustrate all classes of the Orchid family". The majority of the plates are from originals by Moon.
Henry George Moon (1857-1905), born in London, spent much of his career working for William Robinson at The Garden and later at Flora and Sylva. "His most celebrated illustrations were made for Frederick Sander's great orchid book Reichenbachia... [His] drawings were intended to help the gardener determine what effect plants would have in cultivation, rather than to help the botanist in identification. His work had a great impact on british plant drawing in the early twentieth century; artists such as E.A. Bowles, Dorothy Martin, and Lilian Snelling in her early days all show his influence." (B. Elliott Treasures of the Royal Horticultural Society 1994,p.114).
"By modern standards the work was of a monstrous size... Where the orchid was concerned, Sander never spared himself, but even so, the care lavished on Reichenbachia still provokes astonishment. Apart from the elegance of Moon's drawings, the technical standards would have been a tribute to any large printing house. The blocks were hand-made, out of wood; and the chromolithographs were produced by the use of as many as twenty inks. The cost to Sander was enormous, and it is said to have been well over £7000... It is no wonder that Sander often remarked in later years that the project almost ruined him" (A. Swinson Frederick Sander: the Orchid King 1970). BM(NH) IV, p.1800; Great Flower Books (1990) p.135; Nissen BBI 1722; Stafleu & Cowan 10.219. (4)