LINDLEY, John (1799-1865). Sertum Orchidaceum: a wreath of the most beautiful Orchidaceous flowers. London: James Ridgway and Sons, 1838.
Large 2o (548 x 375 mm). 50 lithographic plates, including the frontispiece (dated 1840), all with contemporary hand-coloring, by M. Gauci after Miss Drake, Descoutilz, W. Griffith, Miss M.A. Mearns, Schouten, and R.H. Schomburgk. (Some scattered light foxing to some plates, plate 23 with central crease, a few minor marginal tears and minor chipping to blank corner of plate 34.) Later green half morocco (some rubbing to joints and edges). Provenance: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Stickney Fund (bookplate dated 1877; stamps).
FIRST EDITION. John Lindley, botanist and horticulturaist, received an early education in his plants and gardening: his father was a nurseryman, albeit unsuccessful, and as soon as Lindley was fit to leave school he was sent to Belgium as a buyer for a London seed merchant. One of his first important aquaintances was Sir Joseph Hooker at whose house at Halesworth Lindley wrote his first work, Observations on the Structure of Fruits, published in 1819. Hooker introduced Lindley to Sir Joseph Banks, and the latter employed Lindley as an assistant librarian. Through Banks's eminent circle of friends and colleagues Lindley came into contact with most of the major botanists and horticulturalists of his day. He co-illustrated his monograph on the genus Digitalis with one the greatest of all botanical artists, Ferdinand Bauer. His prodigious energy and enthusiasm permeated all his work, and he was admired by contemporaries in both this country and abroad. It is against this background that Lindley produced this large and ambitious work, exploiting developments in printing technology and design and striving for clarity and accuracy in both the text and the illustrations. The work was issued in 10 fascicules between September 1837 and December 1841. Nissen BBI 1205; Great Flower Books p. 65; Stafleu and Cowan TL2 4651.