An art book for food lovers

Mouthwatering illustrations of 19th century French garden vegetables

The French company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie arose in the 18th century from the collaboration between Philippe Victoire de Vilmorin—a grain and plant merchant and connoisseur—and his father-in-law, Pierre Andrieux, Botanist to the King. The Vilmorins, though only producers and merchants on the Paris market, contributed enormously to the botanical and agronomic knowledge of their time. Their first catalog, comprising all kinds of seeds for kitchen-garden vegetables—including legumes, salad plants, flower seeds and bulbs—appeared in 1766. It was followed by a series of Publications périodiques in which the quality of the botanical and horticultural information was equaled only by the illustrations. By the mid-19th century, the firm had become the most important seed company in the world—active in production, trade, and scientific advances, thanks largely to Louis de Vilmorin’s crucial research into selection and heredity in the 1850s.

At the height of its international renown, the company published its splendid Album Vilmorin. Les Plantes potagères (The Vegetable Garden, 1850–1895) featuring 46 magnificent color plates. The Vilmorins employed some 15 painters to create this work of agro-botanic iconography; most had trained as artist-naturalists at the Jardin des Plantes, the former Royal Gardens, including Elisa Champin, who painted a large number of the finest plates. These illustrations—reproduced here with exquisite care and accuracy—transcend mere artistic interest, beautiful as they are; they are also a valuable resource for anyone researching cultivarietal evolution, and old varieties of fruits and vegetables.
The author:
Werner Dressendörfer is a pharmaceutical historian and academic librarian. He taught at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he was an honorary professor. His particular spheres of interest are the history of the Early Modern herbal, the cultural history of useful and medicinal plants, and plant symbolism in art. He has published extensively on pharmaceutical and botanical history.
Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden

Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden


Hardcover, 11.7 x 16.5 in., 136 pages
$ 59.99
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
  • Reviews
"Only the publishing house of TASCHEN could package the 19th-century Vegetable Garden illustrations of seed firm Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie in such a gorgeous boxed set of 46 frameable color prints."
— C Magazine, Los Angeles, United States
  • See also
von Martius. The Book of Palms (XL-Format)
von Martius. The Book of Palms
Hardcover, 12.4 x 17.1 in., 442 pages
$ 150
Seba. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (Jumbo)
Seba. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities
Hardcover, 9.4 x 13.1 in., 416 pages
$ 39.99