Flore des Serres et des Jardins de L’Europe was produced by three Horticulture enthusiasts. Charles Lemaire, M. Scheidweiler and Louis Van Houtte. Together they published 23 annual editions from 1845 to 1888. Their focus of interest were rare and exotic colorful plant species many from South America. The attractive plates are high quality hand-colored vibrant lithographs. These beautiful prints are from the first year of publication.
Louis Van Houtte
Charles Antoine Lemaire
was born in Paris on November 1, 1800, the son of Antoine Charles Lemaire and
Marie Jeanne Davio. His early education was comprehensive, and he was known to
be an excellent student. He attended the University of Paris and, after the
completion of his studies, he achieved the position of Professor of Classical
Literature at the University. At some point in his academic career, he developed
an interest in botany; his close friendship with M. Neumann, the chief
horticulturist at the Museum of Natural History was very important in what
became a radical change in his life work.
Lemaire began his
scientific career by assisting M. Mathieu, a nurseryman in Paris, in creating a
collection of cacti, and it was this family to which most of his subsequent work
was devoted. In 1835, a publisher in Paris, M. Cousin, started a horticultural
journal and asked Lemaire to be its editor. For many years, he edited Jardin
Fleuriste and L’Horticulteur Universel, and wrote most of their contents
himself. In 1845, he was invited to move to Ghent, in Belgium, to be the editor
of a journal, Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l’Europe, newly
established by Louis van Houtte. Nine years later, still at Ghent, he became the
editor of L’Illustration Horticole, founded by Ambroise Verschaffelt,
and held that position for sixteen years. He returned to Paris in 1870 and died
there in June 1871.
In addition to the vast
amount of his own writing, which is to be found in the journals edited by
Lemaire, he published small works on the Cactaceae and on other succulent
plants. Examples of these are Cactearum aliquot novarum (1838); Cactearum
genera nova speciesque novae (1839); Iconographie descriptive des Cactées
(1841-1847); Les plantes grasses (1869). Lemaire’s plans for a major
book on the Cactaceae were never realized even though he had collected much of
the material for it. He lived in poor circumstances for most of his life and
never acquired the reputation that might have brought him a wealthy patron.
Edouard Andre, his successor as editor of L’Illustration Horticole,
wrote of him, “Posterity will esteem M. Lemaire more highly than did his
Edouard Andre. “Charles
Lemaire”. L’Illustration Horticole. vol. 18, pp. 120-121. 1871. Also
in The Gardeners’ Chronicle. p. 870. 1871.
Charles J. E. Morren.
“Charles Lemaire”. La Belgique Horticole. vol. 21, pp. 198-199. 1871.
Karl M. Schumann.
“Lebensbeschreibungen berühmter Kakteenkenner. II. Charles Antoine
Lemaire.” Monatschrift für Kakteenkunde. vol. 8, pp. 49-52. 1898.