A long running series (1800-1934)

As is usual with these kinds of serial masterpieces in the 18th century, the publication was pre-subscribed and published in periodical issues. Interested parties could subscribe to the voluminous work in installments. The individual issues were bound into volumes by the subscribers themselves, for which Sepp supplied a title page and a foreword. Four or five plants were included per installment, and an illustration with a description in French and in Dutch was included for each plant.

More than 230 subscribers were listed in the first volume of the Flora Batava. These subscribers could not have imagined that they would not live to see the end of the series. Over 134 years, 461 installments were published for a total of 28 volumes. Over 2600 plant species are described in the Flora Batava.

The Flora Batava was marketed by the publisher in two formats: a quarto format and a smaller, cheaper and slightly simpler coloured octavo format.

When their publishing house closed in 1868, the Sepp family business had spanned four generations and was until then responsible for publishing the Flora Batava. After that, the publishers De Breuk & Smits in Leiden, Vincent Loosjes in Haarlem and Martinus Nijhoff in The Hague successively took over the Flora’s publication.

Jan Kops remained editor of the texts for more than 50 years. J.C van Hall supported him in later editions. The following individuals also successively worked as the  editor of the Flora Batava: J.E. van der Trappen, P.M.E. Gevers Deynoot, F.A. Hartsen, F.W. van Eeden, L. Vuyck, W.J. Lütjeharms, and A. de Wever.

A large group of both amateur and professional botanists and botanical illustrators also contributed to the publication.

The Flora Batava is not only one of the most complete inventories of the country’s native flora. It is also a collective work (Gesamtkunstwerk) that illustrates the major changes in the Dutch landscape, science and the appreciation of the national nature. In addition, it shows the change in printing techniques and the technical evolution of botanical illustrations.

Title page volume 1 of the Flora Batava
Title page volume 22 of the Flora Batava