Wax Fruit from Admont Abbey

Selection from The Collection of Wax Fruit from Admont Abbey



Palais Attems

Production specifics
Loan courtesy of Admont Abbey, Museum of Natural History

The famous wax apples of Styria’s Admont Abbey were made between 1815 and 1840 by and under the supervision of Father Constantin Keller, a priest originally from Graz who was active in promoting apple farming and its agricultural innovations throughout Styria. Today 243 of these embossed wax replicas survive. They were made from plaster casts of real fruit, with actual stems and buds as well as damage caused by insects and rotten spots added for detail. The vast variety of cultivars they document has all but vanished from the region—displaced by Gala and Jonagold breeds, which are now marketed as local Styrian produce. Blemishes like the ones on Keller’s apple are also no longer tolerated on the assembly lines of the contemporary apple industry. Now fruit is carefully screened for imperfections and deviations, first by computer and then by hand, so that only uniform fruit reaches Europe’s homes and kitchens.