Frederick Sander’s series of orchids, “Reichenbachia”was completed between 1888 and 1894. It consists of 192 chromolithographed plates, some finished by hand and is considered by many to be the finest of all the orchid publications of the period. He named the series after Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach (1824-1889), a prominent botanist, ornithologist and orchid fancier.
Sander, was born in Ghent, Belgium and was founder of Messrs Sanders of St Albans, a large nursery firm in England. The success of the firm allowed it to employ a large retinue of staff, both at home and abroad, with the sole purpose of collecting plant specimens. Sander employed as many as 20 orchid collectors in the field, and in many diverse locations such as Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, New Guinea, India, Burma, Mexico, and Madagascar.
In his introduction Sander stated "The growing popularity of Orchids, and the ever-increasing demand for information respecting them, is sufficient reason for issuing the present work . . . It will be our aim to represent truthfully the natural aspect of the plants, which will be drawn life size . . . Some of the plant portraits will be coloured by lithography, others will be hand painted when found expedient . . . It is our intention to illustrate all classes of the Orchid family".
One of the artists employed for the illustration of the work was Henry Moon (1857-1905). Moon studied art early in his life, followed by employment in a solicitor’s office and was subsequently engaged as an illustrator for the magazine “The Garden.” Henry Moon was to later marry Sander’s daughter. Unlike many illustrators of the day, he believed in representing the flower as found in nature, rather than dramatizing the flower in the manner of Nugent Fitch, Walter Hood Fitch or James Andrews.