Feast Your Eyes: On Apples Today

[Girls with apples]. Photo by Harris & Ewing, ca. 1927. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.34560

[Girls with apples]. Photo by Harris & Ewing, ca. 1927. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.34560

If every collection in the Prints and Photographs Division is an apple tree, full of tantalizing visual treats, then all of our holdings combined make for a vast orchard, ripe with possibility.  My extended food metaphor is no accident, as we are launching a new monthly series here at Picture This entitled Feast Your Eyes. The series will highlight food and drink-related images plucked from the collections by our staff.

The series will invite you to enjoy the breadth and depth of our collections through images reflecting a variety of eras, media, and purposes. We venture the posts will get you thinking about visual images in a new way – and perhaps leave you a bit hungry for more!

The leaves changing to vibrant red and yellows and the nip in the air herald the arrival of fall. This brings me back to the classic apple, my choice for kicking off the series.

Let’s see if I can whet your appetite for the future posts of Feast Your Eyes with these tantalizing bites!

I look at these images from the 19th century and wonder:  Why is the anthropomorphic Apple Sauce so mad at the kids in this 1887 print?  What made the unnamed Civil War soldier pose with an apple on his plate?

Bufford's fruit cards, no. 779-4 [apple]. Chromolithograph by J.H. Bufford's Sons, 1887. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pga.05538

Bufford’s fruit cards, no. 779-4 [apple]. Chromolithograph by J.H. Bufford’s Sons, 1887. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pga.05538

[Unidentified soldier in Union uniform with fork, knife, plate, and cup sitting on the floor and preparing to eat a slice of the apple on his lap]. Tintype, between 1861 and 1865. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.32132

[Unidentified soldier in Union uniform with fork, knife, plate, and cup sitting on the floor and preparing to eat a slice of the apple on his lap]. Tintype, between 1861 and 1865. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.32132

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The advice given recovering soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital during National Apple Week in 1925 rings true today: “The King of fruits. Eat plenty of them”!

National Apple Week at Walter Reed. Photograph by National Photo Company, Nov. 5, 1925. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.14925

National Apple Week at Walter Reed. Photograph by National Photo Company, Nov. 5, 1925. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.14925

Missouri invites you to “Help yourself to an apple” from their elaborate horticultural exhibit for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

"Help yourself to an apple", Missouri's Horticultural Exhibit, World's Fair, St. Louis, U.S.A. Stereograph by International View Co., c1905. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c38179

“Help yourself to an apple”, Missouri’s Horticultural Exhibit, World’s Fair, St. Louis, U.S.A. Stereograph by International View Co., c1905. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c38179

And finally, the humble apple – a wax one this time – receives in-depth attention from a model painter at the Department of Agriculture.

Agriculturalist wields brush for posterity. Royal C. Steadman, 20-year veteran of the Agriculture Department, wields his brush on wax models of apples, pears and other fruits so that the department archives will have a permanent record of outstanding characteristics of different varieties. Steadman has developed a technique for this type of art work which results in a very delectable wax apple. Photo by Harris & Ewing, Dec. 4, 1935. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.39677

Agriculturalist wields brush for posterity. Royal C. Steadman, 20-year veteran of the Agriculture Department, wields his brush on wax models of apples, pears and other fruits so that the department archives will have a permanent record of outstanding characteristics of different varieties. Steadman has developed a technique for this type of art work which results in a very delectable wax apple. Photo by Harris & Ewing, Dec. 4, 1935. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.39677

 

Learn More:

This is the storekeeper. He sells the things that are good for you to eat : He must keep the food clean. Silkscreen poster by Federal Art Project, 1936 or 1937. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3f05595

This is the storekeeper. He sells the things that are good for you to eat : He must keep the food clean. Silkscreen poster by Federal Art Project, 1936 or 1937. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3f05595

Explore the featured images through the context of related items:

2 Comments

  1. Roger B
    October 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I love the apple print dress one of the girls is wearing in “Girls with apples” !

    And I appreciate the extra time it took to polish the apples in the basket — and then arrange them as they did.

  2. Terry Seale
    November 5, 2013 at 5:26 am

    So THAT’s where Steve Jobs stole his idea! Who knew?

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