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U.S. Agriculture Department paintings of fruits and nuts are actually stunning

Washington Post: “…Why, then, can’t I stop picking up and poring over “An Illustrated Catalog of American Fruits and Nuts,” a book that seems to have followed me around the house for more than a month now? One reason is that it’s so ridiculously beautiful. Published by Atelier Editions in Los Angeles, it has an orange cover with handsome black typography. It has a fascinating introduction, a good index and glossary; it even smells nice. But the best thing about it, undoubtedly, is the pictures. They’re pictures of fruit. And nuts. Made by hand. In watercolor. Hundreds of them have been selected from more than 7,500 paintings, drawings and lithographs from the Agriculture Department’s Pomological Watercolor Collection. (Pomology is the branch of agriculture focused on fruit.) Made between 1886 and 1942, the illustrations were commissioned from artists, the majority of them women, by the Division of Pomology, which wanted to create a national register of fruits. And oh my goodness! They’re beautiful…”

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