The orange is one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. When the British discovered its usefulness in combating scurvy, the orange trade boomed, the fruit commanding great prices and enabling the British Navy to venture on further, longer excursions. The taste and demand for citrus spanned the globe.
Because citrus had to be shipped at the peak of ripeness and moved rather quickly to avoid spoilage, Italian exporters by the 1850s began wrapping the individual fruits in tissue paper to minimize the contact between them, thereby inhibiting the potential spread of mold.
These tissues were a tiny canvas to distinguish origins and brands. They became more artistic and elaborate by the 1920s and ‘30s when oranges were no longer exclusively available as a winter delicacy. The wrappers were a platform for political propaganda, sex appeal advertising, or depictions of the quotidien. Because of their artfulness and variety, they became collector’s items and reveal much about culture, time, and place.
Papiers d’Orange is a delightful history of the craft and collection of such wrappers, accompanied by color photographs of a variety of examples. Published in 1991 in French, this slim, handsome paperback (5.75” x 8.25”) is a delight. We’re tickled to offer here an unused copy in Fine condition.