In the late 19th century, before color printing became commonplace, traveling nursery salesmen would illustrate their offerings with a plate book of chromolithographs. D.M. Dewey of Rochester, New York was one of the pioneers of lithographic illustration. For more about Dewey and his work, check out the following links.
To the modern fruit enthusiast, a Dewey plate book, still intact, is a treasure to behold. But in Dewey’s day, some garden writers were critical of the gaudy pictures in the tree salesman’s literature. Perhaps these writers had seen only the work of other pomological illustrators, because, to my mind, Dewey’s work avoids the slough of gaudiness–employing a kind of abstract realism that is an art form in itself. One of the side benefits of Dewey’s work is that it puts a face on many old fruit cultivars now regarded as rare or extinct. Here are several samples of Dewey’s work: