Apple Sellers or Costermongers 1631
Mythology about apples is broad & varied. Greek & Roman mythology refer to them as symbols of love & beauty, but Christian history has a different tale. Although the Bible does not specify that it was an apple that Eve offered to Adam in the Garden of Eden, referring to it only as fruit, an apple has often been used to depict the forbidden fruit.
Reynier Hals (Dutch painter, 1627-1671) Women Peeling Apples
Gabriël Metsu (1629–1667) Woman Peeling Apples
Jerome Thompson, (American, 1814-1886) Apple Gatherine 1856
The plague the Black Death devastated both people & apples in 14C England. A series of droughts in the Middle Ages also put orchards under further strain. Henry VII instructed his royal fruiterer, Richard Harris, to re-establish large-scale orchards in Kent. The most common apple in the Tudor period was called The Queene after Elizabeth of York, Henry’s wife.
Karl Witkowski (American painter, 1860-1910) Stealing Apples 1890
When early European settlers sailed to early America, they brought apple seeds & grafted trees from the Old World. In general, the grafted trees did poorly, succumbing to the harsher North American climate. The seedling trees, however, were a different story. With their thousands of years of inadvertent hybridizing, apple seeds contained a wealth of genetic variability which enabled them to thrive in climatic locations as disparate as New England & South Carolina. Thanks to the careful selection & grafting of promising varieties, within a century of English & European settlement, early British Colonial America had its own apple varieties, adapted to the soil & climate of Atlantic North America.
William Glackens (American Ashcan School Painter, 1870-1938) Girl with Apples 1911
During the British American Colonial period, most settlers believed that drinking ground water in the colonies could possibly make one sick. To combat this real or imagined danger, colonists of every rank, age, race, & gender drank alcohol often - usually in the form of fermented, homemade, aged cider. This was a beverage served morning, noon, & night. As early as 1629, Captain John Smith noted that peaches, apples, apricots, and figs "prosper[ed] exceedingly" in the colony. In 1642, the first governor of Virginia, William Berkley, cultivated some 1,500 fruit trees at his Green Spring estate, and 2 years later, he decreed that every planter must, "for every 500 acres granted him ... enclose and fence a quarter-acre of ground near his dwelling house for orchards and gardens." By 1686, Virginian William Fitzhugh of Westmoreland County, describing his plantation in a letter, mentioned "a large orchard of about 2,500 apple trees, most grafted, well fenced with a locust fence." And by the close of the 17C, there were few plantations in Virginia without an orchard— some boasted as many as 10,000 trees. Orchards dotted the colonies up & down the North American Atlantic coast.
Robert Brackman (Ukrainian-born American Painter, 1898-1980) Somewhere In America 1934
Robert Brackman (Ukrainian-born American Painter, 1898-1980) Girl from Village 1960
Lawrence A. Lubduska (American artist, 1894-1966) Fruit Girl