ILLUSTRATION: Cypripedium insigne Wall. var. sanderae Hort. Sander and Cypripedium X Maudiae Hort

Orchidpalooza: Rare orchids in print in the Lenhardt Library

Each year’s Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden features something new and dynamic—and each year, the Lenhardt Library’s Orchid Show exhibition showcases something rare and dynamic.

Free Talk on Sunday, February 26, at 2 p.m.

This year’s exhibition, Orchidpalooza: Illustrated Orchid Varieties, features five unsigned, untitled, and unnumbered artist proofs that are attributed to English landscape artist Henry Moon (1857-1905). The proofs were most likely intended for a third series of a collection called Reichenbachia: Orchids Illustrated and Described, commissioned by Frederick Sander (1847-1920).  Moon was Sander’s son-in-law and was responsible for the 192 chromolithographs published in the monumental two-volume work. This work is considered Sander’s homage to Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach (1824-90), the “Orchid King” who succeeded John Lindley (1799-1865), the “Father of Orchidology,” as the leading orchid authority of the late 1800s.

ILLUSTRATION: Cattleya Skinneri var. alba Rchb. f. and Cattleya Skinneri Batem
Cattleya skinneri var. alba Rchb. f. and Cattleya skinneri Batem
ILLUSTRATION: Cattleya mossiae and Cattleya mossiae var. Wagnerii
Cattleya mossiae (white) and Cattleya mossiae var. Wagnerii (purple)
ILLUSTRATION: Angraecum eburneum var. superbum
Angraecum eburneum var. superbum
ILLUSTRATION: Habenaria carnea N.E. Br.
Habenaria carnea N.E. Br.

See Orchidpalooza: Illustrated Orchid Varieties through March 26, 2017

Never before exhibited in the Lenhardt Library, the five botanically accurate orchid chromolithographs include color bars from eight to twelve colors, registration marks, and scientific names penciled in the margins or on the verso.

Want to see more? With grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, these prints have been conserved and digitized and are freely accessible at the Biodiversity Heritage Library:

See the Orchid Show through March 26. Buy tickets here.

©2017 Chicago Botanic Garden and

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Stacy Stoldt

Stacy Stoldt is Public Services Manager at the Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden. She loves to talk about—and show off—the library's rare book collection; researching and creating the exhibitions, and learning as much as she can about the books in the collection. She enjoys traveling (to vineyards and libraries), and is the proud owner of a Deluxe Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure.

3 thoughts on “Orchidpalooza: Rare orchids in print in the Lenhardt Library”

  1. Hi Stacy,
    Exhibition of Henry Moon’s orchids prints looks wonderful.
    I wrote an article about his work: “Moon Scapes,” Country Life (UK): 9 May 1996 is you have a copy in the Lenhardt Library.
    I also have a collection of about 20 of his oil sketches.
    Contact me for more information. Judith

  2. Hi, Judith
    Thanks so much! I’d love to read the article. I’ll check to see if we have it; I know we have all your books in the Lenhardt Library!

    For the rare book talk, Sunday, I will bring out more examples of Moon’s work featured in Flora and Silva and the Garden, besides Reichenbach, Kranzlin and Lindley. I Would love to see your oil sketches.

    All the very best,


  3. I noticed on the website that the drawing or painting labeled Angraecum eburneum var superbum is incorrect. I know for sure that the genus is guessing the species is robusta since that one is more common, but I can’t see it closely enough to tell. I don’t know if this is labeled incorrectly in the library or just on the webpage, but if it s misfiled in the library, that might be a big deal because it could get lost maybe? I’ve been growing angraecoids for fifteen years and that jumped out at me.

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