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Lindenia - Iconographie des Orchidees  Vol. 1

Fascination with orchids started in Europe around 1818. People became so taken with orchids that they reached a state popularly described as an orchidelirium. The demand for these exotic beauties was so great that orchids became a big business. The wealthy commissioned professional plant explorers (Orchid Hunters) to gather plants from equatorial regions around the world.


Please click on the thumbnail  to see the original prints which appeared in Volume one of the second series in 1895.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Belgium became the center of the world for the cultivation of orchids. Jean Linden (1817-1898) was instrumental in the discovery and introduction of many new species. A native of Luxembourg, he moved to Belgium where he imported more than 1,100 different orchids. His explorations included trips to South America, Cuba, Mexico and the United States. With his son Lucien he founded a nursery known as Horticulture Internationale in Brussels. Together they published "Lindenia - Iconographie des Orchidees" an extensive work issued in monthly parts by subscription over a period of 17 years.

Lindenia Iconographie des Orchidées is one of the most important periodic publications on orchids to be published during the nineteenth century, with coloured plates of the highest quality.


Jean Linden was perhaps the greatest of all the late 19th century commercial orchid growers, and, in conjunction with his son Lucien (1853-1940), he was responsible for importing more than 1100 different species to Europe. Born in Luxemburg in 1817, Jean Linden was one of the first students to attend the Faculty of Sciences in the newly established University of Brussels and at the early age of 19 was entrusted with a scientific mission to South America by the Belgian government. This was the start of what was to be a ten-year period when he travelled throughout South and Central America in search of new orchid species. He returned to Europe in October 1845 and initially established himself as a nurseryman in Ghent before moving to Brussels 'where he founded the establishment known as Horticulture Internationale in conjunction with his son Lucien. In this nursery, which became a model for the profession, Linden's knowledge of plants and the localities in which they grew naturally proved invaluable. Direct competition with Messrs. Sander in England kept him alert in the search for new and desirable species, resulting in the exploration of many far-flung regions where orchids might be found.' (Reinikka 'A History of the Orchid', 1995, p. 206). The present work, as the name suggests, is in essence a celebration of his professional life and work and recognizes the enormous influence he had on both the discovery of new species and the breeding of new hybrids.

Each of the orchid species or hybrids are represented by a very high quality full-colour chromolithograph. The plates are printed by some of the best botanical lithographers of the period including Severeyns and de Pannemaeker from the work of Alfred Goosens and other top botanical artists. The present set is volume one of the second series. The periodical was eventually completed in 17 volumes in 1903 with 813 plates over a period of 17 years.


Nissen BBI 2348; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 4628; Timby The Orchid Observed, Stanford, 1982, number 27.

Please click on the name of the orchids to see the original prints which appeared in Volume one of the second series in 1895.

These web images are electronically watermarked, the prints themselves are not. 


Please click on each the thumbnail  to see the original prints which appeared in Volume one of the second series in 1895.


Linden portrait.jpg
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