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Table of Contents

Pome: apple; pear; quince; medlar. Stone: plum; cherry; peach; nectarine; apricot; mulberry. Berry: currant; gooseberry; blueberry; bilberry; blackberry; dewberry; strawberry; raspberry; myrtle berry; elderberry; cranberry. Exotic: fig; citrus; melon; pineapple; grape; banana; mango; feijoa; breadfruit; durian; custard apple; starfruit; tamarind; kiwano; pitaya; persimmon; papaya; sapodilla; guava; passionfruit; pomegranate; date; mangosteen; langstat; loquat; rambutan; longan; lychee; Chinese lantern; Cape gooseberry; olive; avocado; coconut; pistachio; cashew; walnut; almond.

About the Author

THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY was founded in 1804 by John Wedgewood and Sir Joseph Banks. It led the way in sending collectors around the world in search of new plant species, and fostered domestic cultivation of many varieties we know and love today. In the process it has built an unrivalled collection of artworks and rare books covering five centuries of plant history. Today the Society's Lindley Library is considered one of the world's finest horticultural archives, containing more than 250,000 paintings, illustrations and rare books. PETER BLACKBURN-MAZE is a leading expert in the history and cultivation of fruit. He began his career in commercial fruit growing and for the past twenty-five years has been a horticultural advisor and garden writer. The author of many books he also contributes regularly to Garden News, The Kitchen Garden, The Garden (the journal of the RHS) and Country Life. A Royal Horticultural Society judge and fellow of the Institute of Horticulture, he lives and works in North Yorkshire.


Blackburne-Maze grew fruit commercially before working as a horticultural adviser and garden writer. His lavishly illustrated coffee-table book gives an overview of the history of fruit from apples and peaches to more exotic fruits like breadfruit and loquats. Following a short introduction, relatively brief text in each of the book's four main sections ("Pome," "Stone," "Berry," and "Exotic") describes the origins and expanding ranges of the fruit and their history, cultivation, mythology, uses, and varieties.The heart of the book, however, is the beautiful, full-color, botanically accurate paintings of luscious-looking whole fruits, cut fruits, and their flowers. Obtained from the archives of the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, London, each plate is captioned with information specific to the variety, including variety name, scientific name, and facts about taste, uses, and history. This stunning book is interesting and very browsable, but the subject matter and cost make this oversize volume better suited to horticultural/botanical libraries and academic libraries than to public libraries.-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Fruit: an Illustrated History" is a visual feast of one of the staples of our diet. Handsomely presented with superb reproductions of botanical illustrations through the ages, it is more than a coffee table book. Peter Blackburne-Maze is in love with fruit and this shines through in his commentary on this vast group of plants. Witty, erudite, at times irreverent, he turns what could be a boring botanical dissertation into a highly readable, informative work, expounding the merits of nature's nutritious gift. The prints have been selected from the archives of the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, holder of one of the largest collections of botanical drawings, and their reproduction in this work elevates it above other books on the subject to a class of its own. From apples and pears to the more exotic kumquats and mangoes, Peter Blackburne-Maze explains their origins, history and importance today. A must for all fruit-growers, fruit lovers and botanical art admirers. - Lucy Watson

On its own, this mouth-watering tribute to a delicious topic appeals on many levels. As another in Firefly's Royal Horticultural Society's series, it's a knockout. Like its companions, Flora and Roses, it showcases carefully selected, magnificently presented illustrations from the RHS's Lindley Library. The accompanying text and captions have much to offer readers of many stripes. Gardeners will learn about growing and propagating fruits, and selecting varieties that best suit their needs. The historically inclined will relish tales of fruits from myth, legend and fact ("Johnny Appleseed" was no seed-spreader, but a commercial orchardist-entrepreneur). Food lovers will discover the origins of their preferred produce and how it may have been selected for its essential qualities. Apples, for example, are allocated for cider, cooking or eating according to their acidity, sweetness and aroma. Similarly, grapes are appropriate for eating out of hand or for winemaking, but not always both. Its informative and fascinating text notwithstanding, this is ultimately an art book. The 300 plates are showcased in a large-format, expansive layout that preserves or improves the quality of the originals. Brief biographies of the notable artists further illuminate their work, all of which is carefully credited in a comprehensive index. As with the other volumes in this series, the bold design gives the timeless images a contemporary graphic edge. Here, given the subject, it is also sweetly-almost seductively-sensuous. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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