Books and journals
Although Jean Linden could expect to see the bids raise for the acquisition of a plant imported from tropical America and that he would then cultivate in his greenhouses, he could in no way foresee the fact that his publications would undergo the same rise in prices a century on. These books, which systematically illustrate Linden’s new orchids, have today reached considerable amounts on the market of antique books.
The horticulturist was undoubtedly careful to bring these books the utmost quality, which would ensure that these illustrated pages would become essential works of reference. Possibly remembering the care and the meticulousness of Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Jean Linden called upon reputable watercolorists to make the illustrated plates of his collections: François De Tollenaere and Maubert.
Linden envisaged the publication of books and journals under two aspects:
- The marketing / publicity stake. The first publication that specialists attribute Linden is a meticulous botanical
description of the first orchids he imported from Venezuela and Colombia upon his return from his third expedition and
that Linden orders from John Lindley, the renowned botanist. The objective of the description is the “appropriation” of
these young plants by the budding horticulturist. The orchids, having been described a first time, will remain attached
to the name of the person who discovered them.
At a later stage, Linden will publish numerous catalogues that will allow collectors to make their selection in the Linden greenhouses. However, impressive books such as the Pescatorea also serve the advertising cause. With its significant production cost and considerable price tag (72 francs in those days, the equivalent of several months’ pay for a labourer), some of these collections were in fact a luxurious showcase for the richer collectors.
- The horticultural information. The Lindenia, L’Illustration horticole, La Semaine horticole, the Journal des orchidées are as many publications that were progressively published in the form of booklets to bind in thick volumes. The descriptive aspect of plants and flowers is relayed by numerous advices to the attention of professional and amateur gardeners and horticulturists.