Printed Illumination

Livre d’heures [Book of hours] (Paris: Engelmann et Graf, 1875). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2009- in process

The nineteenth-century French artist Godefroy Engelmann I (1788-1839) studied painting at the Académie des Beaux-Arts but turned his talent to printmaking when he was introduced to the new medium of lithography in 1813. On a trip to Munich, Engelmann purchased a press, stones, and all the equipment needed to set up a studio, which he did in Mulhouse, France, followed by presses in Paris and in London.

Engelmann excelled at color lithography which reproduced the look of chalk drawings and oil paintings for fine art prints. In his twenty years of production, he was responsible for most of the major technical developments of the medium, publishing two important treatises, Manuel du dessinateur lithographe (1822) and Traité théorique et pratique de lithographie (1835-40).

Engelmann’s son Godefroy II (1814-1897) joined the firm in 1837, and merged the business with the publisher Graf to form ‘Engelmann et Graf’. The firm quickly established itself as the leading company in France for the printing of facsimiles of illuminated manuscripts, such as this chromolithographic book of hours.