Flore de Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe (Flowers of the Greenhouses and Gardens of Europe) was founded by Louis van Houtte, owner of the most successful nursery of the time on the European continent, and edited together with the prominent botanist Charles Lemaire.
The journal, with more than 2000 plates, was a showcase for lavish engravings of unique botanicals from around the world. The superbly illustrated plates, hand colored or finished lithographs enhanced with gum Arabic, contain a wonderful selection of plants following the interests of the famous contributors of the era - roses, bulbous plants, orchids, palms, rhododendrons, camellias and exotic plants among the 23 volumes.
Each single print measures approximately 6 1/2 inches by 9 3/4 inches & the double or folio prints 9 1/2 inches by 13 inches. The paper is a fine, thick white stock, with very little foxing or other defects. The coloring is spectacular. In most cases, there is an accompanying text page and a copy of the title page.
Most of the plants depicted in the journal were for sale in van Houtte's nursery, so in one sense these plates acted as his catalogue. It is fascinating to see the species considered the most desirable of the times, with a preponderance of orchids, roses, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons, not to mention carnivorous plants, tropicals and other exotics. It is a true pleasure to take a step back in time to visit this illustrious nursery, the like of which would be hard to find today.