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A Monograph of Odontoglossum
London: L. Reeve & Co., [1864] - 1874. Folio (20 2/8 x 14 4/8 inches). Half title, dedication leaf. 30 hand-colored lithographed plates by Walter Hood Finch with descriptive text (pale waterstain to upper margin of plate 5). Contemporary half green morocco gilt (extremities a bit rubbed). First edition. The greatest work on the genus Odontoglossum orchids with magnificent illustrations by Finch, one of the great botanical artists of the Victorian Era. These plates are among his very best. Though this genus was renowned for its beauty, it was not introduced into Europe until late in the nineteenth century due to the mistaken belief that it required hot humid conditions to be cultivated successfully. In reality these high altitude plants (not found below 2500 feet) thrive in cool temperatures and dry air. They are native to Central and West-South America. The demand for this species was quite high and dealers rushed to corner the market. Bateman tells in his introduction of three independent expeditions to Grenada that sailed on the same ship for the same purpose. "Extremely variable in their markings, there are over three hundred known species of Odontoglossum in Mexico and South America. The genus grows predominantly at high elevations ... Although their introduction into Europe came relatively late, their need for cool temperatures and dry air made them popular with those who had no greenhouse" (The orchid observed). "Fitch (1817-1892), the most prolific of all botanical artists, was a typical product of the Victorian era, able and industrious... [He] was a young apprentice to a firm of Glasgow calico designers when Hooker... first made his acquaintance... In 1841, when Hooker was appointed Director of the Royal Gardens at Kew, he took [Fitch] south with him... Some idea of Fitch's gigantic industry can be gauged from the [f]act that 9960 published drawings by him are recorded" (Blunt).Great Flower Books, p.49; Nissen BBI 88; The Orchid Observed 20; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 343. For more information about this book, or a warm welcome to see it and other books in our library at 72nd Street, NYC, please contact Kate Hunter, M.A. Oxon, in the Rare Book Department.
      [Bookseller: Arader Galleries]
Last Found On: 2013-09-16           Check availability:      Biblio    

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