Ahhhh… the wonders of the Web.
A very beautiful book on orchids published in 1838, "Sertum Orchidaceum: A Wreath of the Most Beautiful Orchidaceous Flowers", can now be viewed online, in its entirety. According to a seller of rare books, Donald A. Heald,
"This beautiful work was published in 10 issues for about 100 wealthy subscribers; it was so often split up for framing that few intact copies survive."
If you’d prefer to read and appreciate the beautiful lithographs from the real thing as opposed to online, Heald’s Web site offers the book for sale for $49,500 USD.
John Lindley (1799-1865),
the author, is called "the father of orchidology". He is remembered by orchid freaks for
developing a simple system to classify, describe, and name over 120
newly discovered orchids. He was assistant librarian to Sir Joseph
Banks, became professor of Botany at the University College London, and
was instrumental in saving Kew Botanical Gardens for posterity. He was
also an editor, journalist and botanical artist.
In my wanderings, I also came across this very interesting online exhibit from the New York Botanical Garden, "Plants and Animals Portrayed".