Certain plants , whether they like it or not, become part of a wave of…
Late nineteenth century increased marketing images.
Today we think nothing of the images for products and services that come before our eyes daily.
Most of the time they appear uninvited as advertising or emails selling something.
To think of a time when illustrations for products and services first began to appear is not an easy thing to imagine, but they had to start some time.
In the late nineteenth century newer technologies in printing appeared along with a decrease in the price of paper.
In that kind of situation the country also witnessed an increase in colored marketing illustrations.
Such images sold everything from needles to buggies.
Thomas Schelereth writes in his book Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life 1876-1915, “In 1884 Charles Congdon, writing in the North American Review, called his age one of ‘over-illustrations,’ so filled was it with visual stimuli.”
By then chromolithographs appeared in advertising. The art form provided a lithograph “printed in colors using two or more lithograph printing stones” as Schelereth describes the process.
At the same time dahlias were experiencing an upsurge of interest among gardeners, as Ms. Lippencourt recognized in her seed company catalog in 1902. She said, “Within the past two years interest has been revived in these beautiful flowers. We offer a small selection of the very best out of a collection of 600 sorts, embracing all sorts in commerce.”
Perhaps the interest in dahlias was revived because of the stunning illustrations of dahlias that appeared on the covers of the catalog that came from seed companies and nurseries of that time.
Here is the cover on the 1894 catalog from the Maule Seed Company in Philadelphia. The pink and white of these dahlias said it all. [below]. Product illustrations in color could sell anything.
Here are two other catalog covers of that same time period, another from Maule and the other from Dreer who also sold dahlias with stunning illustrations. [below]