The Orchids of Sikkim Himalaya.

Eur 6,000 / USD 6,600
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Calcutta, printed at the Bengal Secretariat Press, 1898. 4 volumes. Folio (348 x 275mm). pp. (14), iii, iv, 342, 11, with 453 lithographed plates of which the first 133 hand-coloured. Contemporary half calf.

First major publication on the orchids of the Himalaya

First major publication on the orchids of the Himalaya. George King (1840-1909) was superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. In 1887 he launched the 'Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta', which became the vehicle for impressive and profusely illustrated monographs. The present rare monograph forms the 8th volume of this periodical. The illustrations (all after drawings by R. Pantling) were never issued fully coloured; the colouring is confined to the essential details of the orchids. The 4 volumes are divided as follows: I. Letterpress; II. Plates of Malaxideae; III. Plates of Epidendreae & Vandeae; IV. Plates of Listereae, Goodyereae, Ophrydea & Cypripedieae. "The plates in the 'Orchids of the Sikkim Himalaya'... were coloured by the sons of Nepalese coolies, who had never, until [the author] Mr Pantling took them in hand, been accustomed to use any implements more delicate than a hoe. Mr Pantling's perseverance and skill in drilling these boys into accurate colourists was considered marvellous by all who had seen them at work" (Desmond, The European discovery of the Indian flora p. 152).

Nissen BBI, 1051; Stafleu & Cowan 3660.