Treatment FOCUS: Plates from the National Agricultural Library
Started in the 1700s by a grain merchant and the Botanist to the King, the French company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie grew to become the most important seed company in the world by the mid-1800s, known not only for its incredible rate of production but for its scientific research on selection and heredity. Along with the company’s growth came increasingly admired publications: first, in 1766, its seed catalog; next, a series of informative publications périodiques; and finally, in 1850, Album Vilmorin, a collection of large, colorful illustrations of plants and vegetables. The company released one hand-colored lithograph each year until 1895. Originals are now rare, prized for both their beauty and their value to research on plant evolution.