Rochester, N.Y. D.M. Dewey, [ca. 1867]. Sixty-two pochoir or chromolithograph plates, plus chromolithograph titlepage, and pp. of advertisements. Quarto. Original half calf and cloth, front cover gilt. Boards moderately stained, rubbed, and edgeworn. Scattered foxing and minor soiling to plates. Good. Item #WRCAM54662
A nice, early example of a Rochester nursery specimen book with sixty- two pochoir or chromolithograph plates, produced by the father of the city's mid- to late-19th-century cottage industry, D.M. Dewey. He was among the first of the Rochester nurserymen to produce elaborate plates depicting fruit and flower types for sale by dealers. Albums were generally made up specially for individual firms, though the present album does not have the name of any firm stamped on the front cover. The plates were produced by colored stencil or pochoir work and are particularly beautiful. As Charles Van Ravenswaay noted, they are "more akin to folk painting than to the commercial art of their time." The plates collected here are devoted to the depiction of various fruits, principally apples, pears, cherries, peaches and grapes. Chief among the flowers are lovely roses, while the trees are highlighted by mountain ash, Irish juniper, spruce, pine, and the lovely Kilmarnock Willow. Albums such as this are quite scarce, especially with as many plates as this example and in such large format. The Oak Spring Garden Library collection has a Dewey album of circa 1866, on a similar format but with only thirty-eight plates. Oak Spring also has another Dewey album of a later date on a smaller format which is comprised mainly of chromolithographs. The present example is comprised of about half pochoir plates and half chromolithographs produced by Kellogg of Hartford and highlighted in gum arabic. As time went on, more and more of the Rochester plates were chromolithographs. A nice, rare piece of American color plate printing. OAK SPRING POMONA 64 (ref).