Calligraphy in its Entirety

Anton Kuchenreiter, Die Calligraphie in ihrem ganzen Umfange, geschrieben in Stein (Calligraphy in its entirety, written in stone) (Neuburg an der Donau, 1831). 35 x 51 cm.

This is the first and only edition of a German writing album containing thirty-three plates printed lithographically by Anton Kuchenreiter. It is a dedication copy for Princess Therese von Thurn und Taxis (1773-1839) and the bookplate bears the Thurn und Taxis arms. The dedication is signed “Anton Kuchenreiter lithograph.”

Kuchenreiter is not listed in any of the standard indexes to printmakers. However, there was a Swiss firm named Kuchenreiter known for their elaborately engraved firearms, led by Andreas Kuchenreiter I (1716-1795). It seems likely that Anton learned engraving from members of the family and incorporated the detail of the cut line with the ease of lithography.

The book was printed in Neuburg an der Donau (Neuburg on the Danube River), the capital of the Neuburg-Schrobenhausen district in the state of Bavaria, not far from the first quarries of Bavarian limestone, which was the favored stone of the earliest lithographers.

Princess Therese was born Duchess von Mecklenburg-Strelitz before marrying Prince Karl Alexander von Thurn und Taxis. Her younger sisters were Louise, Queen of Prussia; Duchess Charlotte von Saxe-Hilburghausen; and Princess Friedrike of Prussia. In the volume’s final plate, Kuchenreiter has drawn three names as though they were printed on top of each other: Louise, then Charlotte, and finally Therese. If you look closely, you will see additional words inside the letters of Therese’s name.

One more point of interest, the work is an example of lithographic engraving, or engraving on stone. A coating of grease-resistant gum arabic is painted on the stone and the artist scrapes away the text with a steel point. The exposed stone is inked and the rest is treated like lithography. This means that it would be written laterally reversed. For more, see Michael Twyman’s Early Lithographed Music (1996), p. 504. Mendel Music Library Ref SV ML112.T89 1996