SEVEN COLORED AMERICAN NURSERYMEN'S PLATES
A small unbound sampling of seven American nurserymen’s color plates, mostly from diverse Rochester, N.Y. printers. These plates, demonstrating both chromolithography and stencil or theorem color production, were produced mostly in Rochester, New York, in the second half of the 19th, and beginning of the 20th centuries, to assist and/or accompany” tree pedlars” or nurserymen and nursery salesmen in promoting the sales of the area’s booming nursery business. As described in Karl Sanford Kabelac’s “Nineteenth-Century Rochester Fruit and Flower Plates” ( Vol. XXXV, 1982 Univ.of Rochester Library Bulletin), salesmen were able to buy these plates in individual assortments or bound, sometimes mixing printers depending upon their needs. Here we have three chromolithographs - a Crawford’s Late Peach, an Early Canada Peach, and a Dickinson apple - by Stecher Lithographic Co. and its earlier incarnation, Mensing & Stecher. These would have been printed after 1878, with the Crawford’s Late produced in the late 1880s by Stecher alone. Kabelac identifies Franck A. Stecher as “a leader in the chromolithographic industry in Rochester.” The other four plates appear to be stencil or theorems, possibly with some color lithographed detail. The only one with an identified printer is the Dutchman’s Pipe “drawn and colored from Nature by C.M. Search” a horticultural painter as well as a fruit plate producer from the 1880s. Many of these plates were bound into portfolios or book albums and their owner/salesmen were encouraged to keep the plates as clean of thumb-soiling as possible after showing them to their fruit and flower buying clients. The plates could also be replaced in some of the portfolios. This grouping provides an interesting little study of the various methods of impressing the public with the color available from the nurserymen’s offerings.
With some light thumb-soiling, a bit heavier on one stencil or theorem; on one stencil, some adhesion blemishes from a protective overslip; descriptive text at bottom margins often trimmed, as usual.
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