The rare imperial edition.
Published during the heyday of the late Victorian orchid mania, Sander was the foremost authority on the Orchidaceae, as well as the largest grower, maintaining nurseries in England, Belgium, and the United States. He had agents gathering plants worldwide, often dangerous work, and he reports in the description of one orchid: ‘Orchidists are familiar with the names of Wallis, Endrès, Klaboch, Falkenberg, Schröder, Arnold, Douglas, and others, who have died in the cause of botanical science.’ He named the work in honor of Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach, a natural historian whose province was orchids (Reichenbach’s library, drawing and specimens are in the Naturhistorisches Museum of Vienna). The illustrations are largely after the work of Henry George Moon, and these are of great elegance.
The colour plates in this Imperial edition are of the same size as those of the regular unlimited edition, but were issued mounted on large sheets of card, and these sets were apparently intended for presentation by Sander. The distinction between these two editions is sometimes overlooked: it is an especially commanding work in this form, and also quite rare thus.
Limited edition, number 51 of 100 copies of the Imperial edition, signed by Sander, four volumes bound as eight (First Series, volumes 1 and 2; Second series, volumes 1 and 2), 65 x 48 cm (25 5/8 x 19 inches); 192 fine chromolithographic plates, most finished by hand with gum arabic or added colour, lithographed by Joseph Mansell, G. Leutzsch and J.L. Macfarlane after Henry Moon, W.H. Fitch, A.H. Loch and C. Storer, occasional wood-engraved illustrations throughout the text, plates mounted to card as issued and bound on tabs, each plate protected with a tissue-guard, uniform 19th century three-quarters green morocco over green cloth, all edges gilt, generally a very clean set internally, though with some minor discolouration from the mounting adhesive noticeable in the second volumes of the first series, occasional trivial adhesion marks of the tissues to the plates, though in general this set has far less adhesion than frequently found, the first part of the first volume of the second series a little bumped with resultant creasing of corners of the mounts.
Great Flower Books (1990), p.135; Nissen (BBI), 1722; Stafleu and Cowan, 10.219.
Stock ID: 97056