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The Vegetable Garden

January 18th, 2011 | Posted in Books | 0 Comments |

19th-century garden vegetables

Reading text on a portable, illuminated screen, with fonts that can be enlarged for weary, late night-person eyes like mine has become a recent addiction. The iPad may have changed how I read, but digital publishing is making the innate tactility of the book, to be handled and collected, all the more valued.

When I saw a sampling of the botanical art pictured here, it renewed feelings of how vegetables and fruits are as beautiful to look at as flowers. The art, design and photography book publisher Taschen has reproduced illustrations from the mid-to-late nineteenth century’s most notable botanical artists. Originally commissioned by the French seed company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie: the Album Vilmorin (Les Plantes Potagères). This original album survives in only a few libraries today. In spite of the disappearance of most of the seed company’s works, this magnificently illustrated boxed set of 46 lithographs now represents an invaluable source for all interested in the old varieties of fruit and vegetables—some odd, some disappeared—and the evolution of food cultivation.