RICE, T.W. Nurserymen's Sample Book. Rochester, N.Y., Rochester Litho. Co., [ca 1900-1910].

$ 1,800.00

Oblong 8vo., (9 x 5 4/8 inches). 76 fine chromolithographed or half-tone plates  with additional colour, of varieties of fruit, shrubs, garden flowers and trees. Contemporary green cloth.

A fine album of extraordinarily colourful plates of plants of all varieties available from T.W. Rice of Geneva, N.Y., printed in Rochester, New York.

Each plate is accompanied by a short caption describing the plant: this of the Maiden's Blush apple: "Tender and pleasant, but not high flavored; bears large crops. A valuable old market apple". 

Rice's nursery in Geneva has tipped in the following advice to their salesmen on the front paste-down: "Handle Carefully. Please use the Plate Book carefully, and do not mark the prices on the plates. avoid getting it wet or soiled, and by erasing finger marks occasionally with a piece of rubber, the plates can be kept neat and clean. The books are expensive and should have good care; besides, a clean book is more attractive".

"As Rochester's gardening flourished a local bookseller with an interest in the subject, D.M. Dewey, began to collect and publish coloured plates of fruit, flowers, shrubs, and fruit-bearing or purely ornamental trees. Selections of these plates sold by Dewey and others from the 1850s to the last decade of the century were usually bound into pocket-sized books about ten by six inches with stout leather covers, often stamped with the name of the nursery or the salesman offering the plants portrayed within. Dewey also recognised the wider appeal of the coloured plates described by Charles van Ravenswaay as 'an innovation in American popular art' ("A Nineteenth-Century Garden", 1977, page 20...). Their polychromic attractions were extended to a larger audience in small selections from a larger-sized series presented in decorative bindings, ... the earliest plates were simple watercolours, but later, as the demand grew, the technique of theorem paintings coloured with the help of stencils was used to multiply the number of copies as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Later still engraved or lithographed outlines were coloured by hand, and finally chromolithographs printed in colour began to replace more laborious procedures, though some of these were finished by hand too. Most of these processes involved the labour of teams of artists and colourists, one or two of whom went on to establish themselves as rivals to Dewey, though none achieved the same success" (Oak Spring Pomona 64). Catalogued by Kate Hunter