A Typology of British Cherry Blossom

Sam Vale

£50.00

Published May 2019

130 x 185 mm

256 pages
Hardback clothbound, foil debossed front and spine

Printed in a limited edition of 323 copies, on oldmill archival paper
ISBN 978-1-910401-11-8

 

There are 323 indiginous cherry trees to the UK and so we are printing 323 copies of this book. Each will include a cherry blossom petal, dried and pressed. With 323 varieties, each book will be a unique –  signed and numbered by Sam Vale

More about this project

This photographic topography presents all 323 varieties of cherry blossom in the UK in the style of a pomological book. Pomology is the study and science of fruit trees, with the aim of improving and developing attributes such as taste, longevity and yield of popular fruits. Seldom is a comprehensive range of cherry blossom represented in books on the subject as the delicate flowers are considered too uniform for traditional illustration to capture the nuances of difference between varieties. Artist Sam Vale, has utilised the camera which can capture more subtle differences between blossoms, to address this void and record a complete taxonomy of British cherry blossom.

The blossoms recorded in this book are removed from their original context of the orchard and photographed against a neutral backdrop.  Vale was granted access to the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale in Kent which keeps a pair of each variety of cherry available in the United Kingdom. The National Cherry Collection belonged to Kent Farm Institute at Borden near Sittingbourne, but passed into the care of MAFF (now Defra) in 1965. The collection was last re-propagated and established in its present location in spring 1996.  Varieties are either Sweet (Prunus avium), Acid (or Sour) (Prunus cerasus) or Duke cherries, which are hybrids between the two. Varieties are grouped into type, then colour (black, red, white or mixed) segregated into early, mid and late season.

‘Collecting is driven by two opposing ideas, the similarities of the items being acquired which connect under a scheme devised by the collector, for example stamps, clocks or books. Yet, simultaneously, the objects within the collection need to also have differences to distinguish them from each other and hold the interest of the collector. The joy of collecting is driven by noticing what is overlooked and cherishing the connected items for their individual characteristics. In the presentation of this collection it is hoped that the beautiful qualities and patterns of the project can come to the fore and demonstrate the value of looking again at things that might at first seem indistinguishable’.

Each book will include a unique pressed, dried cherry blossom petal.

Sam Vale is an academic and internationally exhibited artist interested in the use of photography and its relationship to other media. Working with collections and archives, Vale aims to uncover narratives which might not be immediately apparent from the gathered objects, offering an alternate perspective to the collected material and the owners or curators that accrue it.  Vale is Programme Director of Photography at Canterbury Christ Church University and has a Doctorate in Philosophy from the London College of Communication.

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