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    A Complete Set of Louis Van Houtte's Lavish Flowers of the Greenhouses and Gardens of Europe with Approximately 2,400 Beautiful Chromolithograph Botanical Plates

    [Charles Lemaire, Scheidweiler, and Louis Van Houtte, editors]. Flore des serres et des jardins de l'Europe, ou Descriptions des plantes les plus rares et les plus méritantes, nouvellement introduites sur le continent ou en Angleterre, ouvrage enrichi de notices historiques, scientifiques, étymologiques, synonymiques, horticulturales, etc, et rédigé par M. Ch. Lemaire...M. Scheidweiler...M. L. Van Houtte. Ghent: Chez Louis van Houtte, 1845-1880.

    A complete set of Louis Van Houtte's lavish series, "Flowers of the Greenhouses and Gardens of Europe." Twenty-three large octavo volumes. With approximately 2,400 chromolithographed plates (some double-page, some folding), some finished by hand with color and / or gum arabic, and fifty uncolored lithographed portraits or plates. Numerous wood-engraved text illustrations. Volumes XII, XIII, and XIV (and XI?) are of the "Grande édition." Volumes XI and XVI bound without title pages.

    Contemporary quarter brown morocco over marbled paper boards. Spines in compartments with five raised bands, and lettered and ruled in gilt. Marbled endpapers. Bindings bumped and chipped in a few places. Some foxing and occasional browning to plates, some light offsetting to plates from the adjacent text. In general, the bindings are not too tight, and there does not seem to be a problem with visibility on the double-page and folding plates (many are on guards), as is sometimes the case. Overall, a very good copy of this scarce work.

    Louis Van Houtte (1810-1876) was a well-known Belgian horticulturalist who, between 1845 and 1888, published and illustrated the Flore des Serres et Jardins de L'Europe, an extensive work with over 2,400 colored lithographed plates. Van Houtte plates are distinguished by the circular signature running up the lower side ("Off. lith. et pict. in Horto van Houtteano"). As well as more common plants, it depicts many orchids, palm, and other exotic plants, which would have been found in the "Establishment Louis van Houtte," the largest nursery of its time on the continent. As a nurseryman, Van Houtte was interested in expanding his company, and after 1845 he began sending out plant collectors to bring back orchids from South America. His company propagated many plants for European greenhouses. The work is often divided into three parts due to slight variations in the title: Volumes I-X (1845-1855); Volumes XI-XV (1856-1865) have subtitle: Journal général d'horticulture; and Volumes XVI-XXIII (1865-1880) have subtitle: Annales générales d'horticulture. The numbering of the plates is complicated: although most double-page plates are counted as two plates, sometimes they are counted as only one, and other times they are counted as three or four plates, and the large folding plates are counted as four plates.

    Great Flower Books
    , p. 84. Nissen, BBI, 2254. Plesch, pp. 225-226.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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