Studies of fruit in a simple format, with a single fruit on a twig with leaves centered on the page. The emphasis is on the realistic depiction of three-dimensional forms including their surface details and lush color, including imperfections on the fruit skin such as irregular spots and blemishes. It was published as a part of periodical on pomology, the branch of botany devoted to the study and cultivation of fruits, which in its entirety included 384 lithographed plates. In the mid 19th century Belgium was a European center for horticulture as well as a major publishing center for illustrated botanical periodicals and books such as this one.
Alexandre Bivort was a Belgian nurseryman and creator of numerous fruits, the successor to Van Mons, a pharmacist, doctor and professor of chemistry at the University of Belgium who promoted the culture of pear trees in that country. Bivort was active in various horticultural societies in Belgium and France. He published two works, Album de Pomologie (1847-1851) followed by Annales de Pomologie Belge et Etrangere (1853-1860), which reprinted some of the plates from the earlier work although most of it was newly created. They remain the classic reference on Belgian fruit of the era, in keeping with Bivort’s stated intentions to document a neglected area of botany and generate interest in the cultivation of fruit, including new varieties.
As was typical with such collections, they were issued in parts by subscription over several years. In them, he depicted mainly apples and pears, as well as some plates of grapes, cherries, berries and other fruits. Bivort took a particular interest in pears, the fruit tree best adapted to the Belgian climate, and he developed his own varieties, some of which he named after family members, such as the Charles Bivort and Arthur Bivort pears. In keeping with Bivort’s commitment to realistic portrayals, he took the unusual step of including damaged and imperfect specimens instead of the idealized perfection more typical of such collections. The Album de Pomologie and Annales de Pomologie are rarely found as complete works.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual minor toning and wear. Some with faint offsetting.
Bunyard p. 441; British Museum (NH) I: 128; cf. Oak Spring Pomona 53
“Alexandre Joseph Desiré Bivort.” Librarie Thomas-Scheler. http://www.polybiblio.com/basane/F3.html (14 April 2004).
“Album de Pomologie.” Arehn: Agence régionale de l’environnement de Haute-Normandie. http://www.arehn.asso.fr/centredoc/livres/bivort/bivort_intro.php (14 April 2004).