Botanical studies of ladies slipper orchids (genus Cypripedium). This rare set was issued in 1888, about the same time as other popular series of orchid periodicals when Victorian orchidomania spread throughout Europe. Wealthy orchid collectors paid high prices for specimens for their greenhouses and for pictures of them as well, and the publishing industry responded with a steady stream of expensive illustrated books and journals. Like Lindenia (Iconographie des Orchidées), published in Belgium from 1885 to 1903, each flower in Les Cypripediées is represented by a full-color chromolithograph followed by explanatory text. Les Cypripediées was issued by Parisian botanist A. Godefroy-Lebeuf, who also published L'Orchidophile; Journal des Amateurs d'Orchidées, a French periodical produced from 1881 to 1893. The journal contained information about new introductions, culture, people, history with simple descriptions of popular plants and their cultivation and was illustrated with chromolithographs by G. Severeyns and F. Stroobant after paintings by Jeanne Koch.
The preface of Les Cypripediées explained its purpose: "The object of this work, as will be seen from the first part now issued, is to give a plate of each species of Cypripedium, with the principal varieties and some of the hybrids; accompanied with text giving the original description, whether it be in Latin, English or other language, together with the synonymy and references to all the important notices of the plants; followed by a detailed description, habitats, history and notes on cultivation in English and in French."
Les Cypripediées was dedicated to the orchid cultivator J. Veitch and Sons, Chelsea, London: "Dédier à la maison VEITCH de Chelsea un ouvrage sur les CYPRIPEDIÉES, c'est chercher à acquitter une dette de reconnaissance pour toutes les joies que nous ont causes les introductions qu'ils ont faites et les hybrids qu'ils ont obtenus, dans ce beau genre." [Dedicated to the house of Veitch of Chelsea, a work on the Cypripedia, it is to repay a debt of gratitude for all the joys they have brought us, through introducing us to this beautiful species and the hybrids that they have obtained.]
G. Severeyns was a leading Belgian lithographer of his period, who produced chromolithographs after various artists for many botanical books and publications, including Lindenia.
A. Godefroy-Lebeuf was a Parisian botanist and cultivator of orchids. Among his accomplishments was the naming of the genus Miltoniopsis, as well as having other orchid species named after him.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases. Some occasional light foxing, not obtrusive.
Blunt, Wilfred, rev. by Stearn, William T. The Art of Botanical Illustration. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors Club, 1994. p. 329.