Sweet things often inspire internal conflict in those confronted by them - delight and guilt. Dessert is, we have been led to believe, indulgent. In children’s books sweet things often come with a price - a dark underbelly - as if to instill in kids a lasting association of sugar with fear. Charlie’s experience at the Chocolate Factory, for example, is rife with distressing developments. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund is taken under the spell of the evil Narnian ice queen after she offers him Turkish delights - a sugar-coated confection. When we are young, we are conditioned to think of sugary things as the ultimate vice - forbidden and delicious. If we’re lucky, some of us enter adulthood with a healthier relationship to sweet things - we can see them as an opportunity for unadulterated pleasure. The SVA Pictures Collection contains not one, not two, but three folders dedicated to the subject of desserts and sweets. That means there are HUNDREDS of images of everything from 1950s-era jello to Twin Peaks-esque cherry pie to diner-style banana splits to pudding to ice cream to lollipops to cake to cupcakes to bonbons to macaroons to everything you could ever want ever. Should you be in the mood for a bit of saccharine eye candy, or inspiration for a sweet-looking painting you’ll have come to the right place.
A glass goblet filled with raspberries, a dollop of strawberry ice cream on top. Red background.
Better Homes & Gardens April 1971
Orange jello on a glass plate with a dollop of cream on top. Peaches hang low from trees around the jello.
June 1959
A slice of lemon meringue sits on a porcelain plate with a fork. Beside the plate sits a lemon freshly plucked from a lemon tree.
April 1970
A slice of pumpkin pie on a plate. There are two dollops of whipped cream on top.
Carnation milk advertisement
A slice if missing from a fresh baked cherry pie in a glass dish.
Three bars of white chocolate piled on top of each other with a bite taken out of them. There is a lipstick stain on the chocolate.
from How to Kill Yourself with Chocolate by Martina Lang & Valentine Ammeux
An illustration of a pair of hands holding a dish full of candies lays them atop a pile of wrapped presents.
Five plastic bowls in colors varying from orange to purple to blue and yellow. The purple bowl contains strawberry ice cream.
October 1962
A large wine glass filled with pink ice cream with chunks of fruit. The background is cherry wallpaper.
Various elaborate jello concoctions sit atop doilies.
Three sundaes made up of ice cream and cut up peaches, a spoon drips honey on to one.
February 1961
Assorted candies in glass jars.
On a yellow gingham tablecloth sits a porcelain plate, on top of which sit elaborately decorated cookies in the shape of animals.
For More Desserts & Sweets, see this previous post.