Woolward’s The Genus Masdevallia – Volume with 87 Hand-colored Orchid Lithographs


Product No. woolward-orchids

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This exceptional volume with 87 hand-colored folio lithographs is Florence Woolward’s The Genus Masdevallia, issued by the Marquess of Lothian, K.T., Chiefly from Plants in his Collection of Orchids at Newbattle Abbey… with additional notes by F.C. Lehmann. This first edition was published in London by Lyne & Sons for R. H. Porter between 1890 and 1896.

The work was one of only 250 to be published. “The original intention was to issue 250 copies, and it has been estimated that approx. 150 were actually issued, with just over 100 being bound” (S. Manning, Florence H. Woolward botanical artist 1854-1936, published in ‘The Orchid Review’ vol. 104)

The work is nine parts bound in one volume in modern full red morocco gilt with the original printed wrappers bound in at the end. The top edge is gilt. The lithographs were completed by M. & N. Hanhart after illustrations by Woolward herself, F. C. Lehmann, and J. Barbosa Rodriguez. There are 87 originally hand-colored lithographs (one is double page), a double page map, and 61 wood-engraved text illustrations.

“Drawings also of numerous species entirely unknown in this country, or known hitherto only as dried specimens, are generously promised by Consul F.C. Lehmann, whose exceptional advantages as a skilled botanist collecting for many years in those regions of Central and South America where alone Masdevallias are found, place him at the head of authorities upon the genus.” (From the Preface)

In her introduction the author remarks upon her involvement in this publication: “It is no doubt advantageous in botanical work … that the person who makes the original drawing from nature should also lithograph the plates and indicate the colours to be used by the colorist, for, by this means, the work passes through fewer hands and is more likely to turn out accurate. I have therefore pursued this method throughout the present work, and have, besides, touched up the colouring of every plate sent out, numbering nearly 9,000” (Introduction)

Florence Helen Woolward (1854-1930) was an English botanical illustrator and author. Woolward was commissioned to complete The Genus Masdevallia… by Schomberg Kerr, the 9th Marquess of Lothian, to paint his extensive orchid collection. She had no formal training but spent ten years visiting Newbattle Abbey drawing orchids there to create this work. She also completed the text for the work having been unable to hire a botanist. Lehmann provided the notes and writing on the habitats in the Andes.

Provenance: Collingwood Lindsay Wood (1830-1906) of Freeland, Perthshire, Scotland (armorial bookplate); George Hamilton Kenrick (1850-1939), English entomologist who specialized in Lepidoptera (presentation inscription to his nephew): Arthur Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940) British Conservative politician, was appointed in 1931 Chancellor of the Exchequer in the National Government, Prime Minister from 1937-1940, (armorial bookplate and pencil presentation inscription “N.C. from G.H.K., January 1931”

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