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Original published in the 1860s, this book remains one of most comprehensive references on how to make wax fruits and flowers.
There are no imitations of natural objects more exact and pleasing than those made of wax, more especially the representations of Fruit and Flowers. So exact, indeed, are they, that if well made, the most practised eye cannot sometimes detect the real from the artificial.
In Fruit, the choicest specimens of every clime may be thus assembled in a single vase, in all their apparent lusciousness and perfection; while in their waxen prototypes, lovely Flowers may be viewed in all their gorgeous coloring and transparent delicacy. As ornaments to the drawing-room, when grouped with taste, and blended with harmonic contrast, these waxen objects are not to be surpassed, whether we look at them as records of foreign productions seldom seen, -- of extraordinarily beautiful specimens of home-growth, -- of favorites which it is desirable to preserve, -- or merely as beauties of ordinary production, which the eye delights to rest upon. Indeed, all lovers of flowers (and who are not?) must admire these, -- their lovely images, transparent, vivid, and brilliant as they are.
The very beauty of waxen fruits and flowers, induces the belief that to make them must be difficult. "I can never make any so beautiful as these," is a very oft-repeated expression upon witnessing even a single group. Yet, in truth, no art is of more easy attainment; a little patience, and a little taste, are the whole mental requisites; these, superadded to ordinary care in the manipulation, cannot fail very shortly to render proficient the most inexperienced. Yet it is not to be denied, that a slight knowledge of the harmony of colors and of botany will greatly assist in the perfection of the more difficult of these works of elegance. The chief thing is to know how to select the proper material, and how to set about the work in a proper manner; and, it may be added, to commence with what is most easy. Should it be a fruit, let it be one of a single color, -- as an orange or a lemon; or, if a flower, we might recommend a snowdrop, a violet, or a narcissus, in which there is no complexity, and little penciling...
Beginning with the easiest department, it is necessary to divide the subject into the making of Fruit, and the making of Flowers. These are quite distinct in themselves; the former includes the imitation of all solid objects, with melted wax poured into moulds. The latter includes those more delicate ones, which are made without moulds, of wax previously cut into thin sheets.