Grapes and Grape Vines of California
Grapes and Grape Vines of California
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Grapes and Grape Vines of California


Grapes and Grape Vines of California
Hannah Millard, 1877
MILLARD, Hannah (1827-1800), artist. Grapes and Grape Vines of California. San Francisco: Edward Bosqui & Co., 1877.

First edition of the extremely rare first California ampelography and first color-plate book printed in California. "The California wine industry had its first great flowering in the years after the Civil War. This beautiful and exceedingly rare book, with its chromolithographed plates of California wine grapes, was published by the innovative San Francisco printer Edward Bosqui. It exemplifies the mixture of artisty and technical detail found in the great illustrated natural history books of the nineteenth century" (Pictured to the Life).

Inspired by European works of a similar nature, the publishers hoped to demonstrate "the beauty, variety, and superiority of the fruit of California's burgeoning vineyards... [it] stands as the most beautiful of all California vinicultural books" as well as "one of the most beautiful illustrated books published in California" (Kurutz). The ten large plates are oleographs, a labor-intensive type of chromolithograph designed to imitate oil painting on canvas. Each color requires a separate stone, resulting in up to 28 impressions just to print a single plate—a total of 250,000 impressions for the full run of the book. The plates were executed by William Haring after paintings by the California artist Hannah Millard. Her "watercolor illustrations of ten grape varieties, painted in the vineyards at vintage time, are contributions to the science of viticulure. They are the first thus far in this country to picture in color both sides of the leaves of grapes, with the clusters and the tendrils on the canes. These are indispensable in identifying individual grape varities among the more than ten thousand named throughout the world" (Adams). The text accompanying each plate was likely written by Arpad Haraszthy, commissioner of the association, and is of particular interest as a snap-shot of the pre-phylloxera era of wine growing in California.

After its completion, the stones were destroyed. According to Kurutz, today very few copies exist, with many of the plates having been framed by subscribers even before their first binding. Bosqui's print shop was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, apparently along with his stock of Grapes and Grape Vines of California. It it not recorded at auction. This copy was previously owned by two great wine book collectors: Leon Adams and Gail Unzelman. Pictured to the Life 67; Amerine and Borg, Bibliography on Grapes, Wines, Other Alcoholic Beverages, and Temperance, 766; Kurutz, California Printing 25; Leon Adams, "An Historical Note on Grapes and Grape Vines of California" in Harcourt Brace Jovanavich's 1981 facsimile edition of the book.

Folio (492 x 356mm). 10 chromolithographs (some foxing to plates, occasional offsetting to text leaves, a few small marginal tears). Text printed on rectos only. Contemporary half morocco (a little wear at extremities, hinges reinforced). Provenance: Leon Adams, 1905-1995, American journalist and founder of the Wine Institute (inscription) – Gail Unzelman (bookplate).

[With:] Grapes and Grape Vines of California. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanonich, 1981. Original cloth with printed vinyl jacket. Provenance: Gail Unzelman (bookplate).

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