Engel Oranges


In the middle of the 19th century, Valencian merchants began to export oranges to the main markets in Europe. Consumption spread to many countries, which triggered an increase in production in the Valencian Autonomous Community. This popularity led to the proliferation of various brands by which farmers and merchants sought to draw attention to their products. Wonderful labels and distinctive posters were the key to penetrating new markets. In many cases, labels and posters were in English, French, or German. Many of the labels of this time feature regional themes, both Valencian and Andalusian, such as laborers, flamenco dancers and Valencian women in traditional dress, bullfighters, and small farmhouses. The idea was to associate the production of oranges with Spanish culture. The artists and the exact date of most of these designs are unknown, but these illustrations made the Valencian orange easily identifiable all over Europe. Most of the labels give the name of the exporter and the place of origin of the produce. The Valencian Library holds a vast collection of visual material that includes prints, photographs, posters, postcards, maps, drawings, and other minor printed ephemera. The collection of ephemera spans from 1900 to the present. It consists of 36,500 documents, which include labels for oranges, ex libris, cigarette paper packs, calendars, transport tickets, greetings cards, handbills, and so forth. It includes 416 painted images dating from 1920‒60 used as labels for crates of oranges for export to various countries in Europe.

Last updated: December 7, 2017