August 2011 Archives

A Vision of Order


Newly acquired, a tour-de-force in fine press publishing from Whittington Press,

A Vision of Order. 35 linocuts by Andrew Anderson, with his commentaries on the images (Risbury, Herefordshire: Whittington Press, 2011). Copy xviii of 35, bound in Oasis goatskin and accompanied by the nine-sheet image of Cashel (printed on G.F. Smith Naturalis paper), and a signed print of "The Apple Girl," printed by John Grice at his Evergreen Press.

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The text is keyboarded and cast in 18- and 20- point Caslon (the latter issued as 22-point by William Caslon I in 1732, one of the earliest & prettiest founts of the Caslon's family), and printed by John Randle and Tom Mayo on Zerkall mould-made and Ingres papers.


According to the Whittington website, "The large format of A Vision of Order allows most of the prints to be tipped in unfolded. Like our Posters published in 1996, it will be a monumental volume in its own right, set in a large size of the Caslon type for which the Press has become renowned. Tom Mayo, who will be doing much of the printing of this large and unusual project, will be posting a blog giving an illustrated report of its progress."

See also Andrew Anderson's comments in Matrix 28, pp. 9-14 (Graphic Arts Oversize Z119 .M38q). By the way, it's pronounced Mat trix; not May trix.


Next Saturday, September 3, 2011, will be the Whittington Press's annual open house. As usual it will coincide with the annual Whittington Village Summer Show with all its usual horticultural and other attractions. Whittington Court will be open to the public and the Press will as usual be showing off its latest work. In particular, Neil Winter will be demonstrating the increasingly rare skill of casting type on the Monotype casters.

If you can get there, you might have the treat of seeing a copy of this remarkable book in person. Whittington is 40 miles west of Oxford, 5 miles east of Cheltenham, just off the A40.


The Rock of Cashel, nine sheets joined together to form an image measuring 4 ½ x 3 ft (see Matrix 28, p. 13)

To read an interview with John Randle of Whittington Press, see

Executioner of John the Baptist

One of the most beautiful frontispiece portraits ever published is this mezzotint made by Prince Rupert, Ruprecht of Pfalz (1619-1682) for John Evelyn's history of engraving techniques:


John Evelyn (1620-1706). Sculptura, or, The History, and Art of Chalcography and Engraving in Copper (London: printed by J.C. for G. Beedle, and T. Collins, at the Middle-Temple Gate, and J. Crook in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1662.) "Elmer Adler. Princeton MCM-XLII"--Written in pencil in Elmer Adler's hand on verso of front free endpaper. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) NE1760 .E94


According to David Rodgers, "Sculptura was probably the direct result of Evelyn's introduction by Prince Rupert of the Rhine in 1661 to the technique of mezzotint engraving. The book contains a plate engraved by Rupert of the Head of the Executioner of John the Baptist from a painting (Munich, Alte Pin.) then thought to be by Jusepe de Ribera. This plate is now the only virtue of Sculptura, in which the account both of the history and the practice of printmaking is unreliable and the style discursive and inelegant."

The print in our book is a reduced version of a huge mezzotint, one copy of which is in the British Museum. Here's their wonderful description:

The Public Got Justice!

François le Villain (active 1819-1822), Le public a obtenu justice! Les scélérats n’en feront plus … … des albums! (The public got justice! The villains will do more … … albums!), [1828]. Lithograph. Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet (1792-1845) and Hippolyte Bellange (1800-1866) on a pyre of lithographic albums. Graphic Arts French Prints GC077

François Le Villain is commenting on the trouble caused by the images in the portfolios of lithographs that printsellers were turning out in huge numbers during the early nineteenth century. He points to Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet (1792-1845) and Hippolyte Bellangé (1800-1866) in particular, who were among the most prolific of the illustrators. Both used subject matter of military exploits under the First Empire, which made their work popular with the opposition under the Restoration and influential in the propagation of a mythic view of the Napoleonic era. The two are shown being burned at the stake by a fire of their own work.

Charlet and Bellangé both studied in the studio of Antoine-Jean Gros. They each went on to have careers as commercial illustrators, using the popular new process of lithography for their plates. Between 1823 and 1835, Bellangé alone published fifteen albums of lithographs devoted to the patriotic military subjects. During the same period, Charlet published a number of albums with the firm of Gihaut, who also published this print.

Beckett, Paz, Chigoya


Bread of Days / El pan de los días. Once poetas mexicanos / Eleven Mexican Poets (Covelo, California: Yolla Bolly Press, 1994). Notes on the poets by Octavio Paz. Commentaries by Eliot Weinberger and Octavo Paz. Twelve multicolor etchings by Enrique Chagoya. Poems by Bernardo de Balbuena, Luis de Sandoval y Zapata, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Ignacio Rodríguez Galván, Salvador Díaz Mirón, Amado Nervo, José Juan Tablada, Enrique González Martínez, Ramón López Velarde, and Alfonso Reyes. Translation by Samuel Beckett. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process

While living in Paris in 1949, Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was offered the opportunity to select and publish an anthology of Mexican poetry sponsored by UNESCO. Paz had little enthusiasm for the idea. As translator, Samuel Beckett (1906-1998) was chosen although he had only a limited knowledge of Spanish. Both authors accepted because they needed the money.

In his 1996 essay “Beckett/Paz,” Eliot Weinberger (Paz’s American translator) comments on the project. “Paz, an anti-nationalist, would have preferred to consider Spanish American poetry as a whole. … Beckett called the work an alimentary chore and said the poems were execrable for the most part.” The work was completed in 1950 but not published until 1958.

“Yet Beckett’s Mexican anthology is one of the liveliest English translations of the century,” Weinberger continues. “Its greatest achievement is its recreation of the sense of reading old texts, the distance between us and them. … Beckett accomplishes this through a subtle mimicking…of the English poetry contemporary to whatever period he is translating.”

In 1994, the project was revived for the first livre d’artiste produced by Yolla Bolly Press, under the direction of Carolyn and James Robertson. Twelve multicolor etchings were created especially for the edition by the Mexican American artist Enrique Chagoya and Paz contributed biographical notes on each of the eleven poets. Weinberger wrote an introduction and a transcription of a conversation between Paz and Weinberger discussing the Paz-Beckett collaboration was included as an afterword.

Octavio Paz (1914-1998), Anthology of Mexican Poetry. Translated by Samuel Beckett (Bloomington: Indiana University Press [1958]) Firestone Library (F) 3180.704

Inner Beauty


Our rare books conservator, Mick LeTourneaux, shared this with me. He was handed a book to repair: Enrique Udaonda, Diccionario Biográfico Argentine (Buenos Aires: Casa editora “Coni,” 1938). Firestone Non Circulating (Fnc) F2805 .U36.

And found this:


Theodore Frelinghuysen, Class of 1804

Attributed to James Reid Lambdin (1807-1889), Theodore Frelinghuysen, 1787-1862, ca. 1844. Oil on canvas. Graphic Arts collection, PP 183. Gift of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen.
In his Memoir of Theodore Frelinghuysen, Talbot Chambers wrote, “Our country has produced some greater men, but certainly no better one than Theodore Frelinghuysen.” After graduating from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1804, Frelinghuysen served as Mayor of Newark, Attorney General of New Jersey and then, in 1828, was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the United States Senate. When the presidential ticket of Clay and Frelinghuysen was defeated by Polk and Dallas, he accepted the Chancellorship of New York University, and then, Presidency of Rutgers’s College.

During his six-year term as Senator, Frelinghuysen lobbied hard for the rights of Native Americans and against the Removal Act of 1830, which relocated eastern Indian tribes to land west of the Mississippi. He gave a six hour speech during the congressional debate on the bill, saying “Some matters, by universal consent, are taken as granted, without any explicit recognition. Under the influence of this rule of common fairness, how can we ever dispute the sovereign right of the Cherokees to remain east of the Mississippi, when it was in relation to that very location that we promised our patronage, aid, and good neighborhood?” Unfortunately, the bill was passed anyway.


This portrait has been attributed to the artist James Reid Lambdin (1807-1889), who painted many of our American presidents. According to Donald Egbert in Princeton Portraits, “This is presumably the portrait known to have been presented in 1866 by Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, [1817-1875]. The attribution to Lambdin, who established himself in Philadelphia in 1838, was tentatively made by William Sawitzky on the basis of a photograph … it seems probable that the portrait was painted about [1844].”

Sin and the City: William Hogarth's London

hogarth beer street3.jpg
Detail from Beer Street, 1751. Etching and engraving.

Since our new exhibition:

Sin & the City
William Hogarth’s London

will be opening next week, 26 August 2011, it might be a good time to see just how sinful London was in the eighteenth century. Happily, the trial records for the city of London have been digitized and recently opened to the public at:

Between 1700 and 1800, 1123 trials mention that “gin” was involved in some part of the crime. 2668 trials mention that the party or parties had been drinking and 3713 mention that beer was consumed. Among the many possible punishments, 385 trials ended in execusion, 9 hanging in chains, 551 in public whipping, and 699 in private whipping.

William Hogarth is mentioned in two trials, but as these took place after the death of our artist, we can assume it was a different William Hogarth. The poor Parish of St. Giles, where so many of Hogarth’s scenes took place, is mentioned in 706 proceedings.

The directors of the Old Bailey Online project, and authors of all the historical background pages, are Professor Clive Emsley (Open University), Professor Tim Hitchcock (University of Hertfordshire) and Professor Robert Shoemaker (University of Sheffield). Prof. Hitchcock has spent the last twenty years helping to create a ‘new history from below’ which puts the experiences and agency of the poor and of working people at the heart of our understanding of the history of eighteenth-century Britain. He will be speaking at Princeton University for the Library’s opening celebration on 7 October 2011.

For more information, see



François Rabelais (ca. 1490-1553?), Les Horribles et espovantables faictz et prouesses du très renommé Pantagruel, roy des Dipsodes, fils du grand géant Gargantua (The Horrible and Terrifying Deeds and Words of the Very Renowned Pantagruel King of the Dipsodes, Son of the Great Giant Gargantua). Orné de bois en couleurs dessinés et gravés par André Derain (Paris: Albert Skira, [1943]). Copy 138 of 275. 129 woodcuts designed and cut by André Derain (1880-1954). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0777Q. Purchased with funds from the Friends of the Princeton University Library.


First published in 1532, Rare Books and Special Collections holds over 60 different editions of Rabelais’s satirical stories of Pantagruel and Gargantua. One of the most recent is the livre d’artiste illustrated with white line woodcuts by André Derain.

As the initiator of Fauve painting, which stunned the world at the Salon d’Automne of 1905, Derain stood shoulder to shoulder with Henri Matisse (1869-1954). Derain received commissions for books with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and Paul Guillaume, and helped André Breton produce his first publication Mont de piété (1916). Derain also created designs for opera, theater, and ballet; most notably Diaghilev’s Le Boutique fantasque (1919).

In 1921, Derain decided to mark the quatercentenary of the death of Raphael by spending time in Rome. He traveled and studied Italian Renaissance art, medieval design, and Roman mosaics. When the Swiss publisher Skira offered him a commission to work on Pantagruel he accepted immediately. It was the perfect opportunity to find a way to combine high Renaissance and modern styles in a single volume.


During World War II, when the Germans invaded France, Derain’s home was requisitioned and his preliminary blocks for Pantagruel were locked away for several years. Ultimately, he was allowed back into the house and somehow able to import the enormous amount of paper needed to print nearly 3,000 pages for the edition of 275 copies. 1943 is used for the publication date although no date is on the title page.

First Tree of Languages


Felix Gallet, Arbre généalogique des langues mortes et vivantes, gravé par Geusler de Genève (Paris, ca. 1800). Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process

Purported to be the first tree of languages, Felix Gallet's engraved broadside predates that of August Schleicher, who is generally credited with inventing the form. Winfred Lehmann in Historical Linguistics (1992) states: "The suggestion that the relationship between subgroups of a language is similar to that between branches of a tree was propounded by August Schleicher, who was strongly influenced by views on evolution."

The tree here shows two distinct groups, the first emerging from "La Langue Primitive," from which we see languages such as Greenlandic, Guianan, Turkish, Mexican, Persian, Hebrew and Tahitian. The second group derives from "Le Celte," which in turn generates the bulk of European languages. The interaction between the two groups is fascinating and shows what must be an early attempt to integrate some of the discoveries of the New World into the existing linguistic framework.

A more recent language mapping can be found at:

Books you won't read on Google


John J. Sharkey, Pentacle (Sherborne [Eng.]: South Street Publications, 1969). Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process


A concrete poem is best seen and not heard. The term originated with Max Bill and Öyving Fahlström in the 1950s and while calligrams, ideograms, and poesia visiva have certainly been around for many years, the concrete movement reached its height in the 1960s in a response (in part) to the Pop Art movement in painting.

The use of the typewriter played a large part in the making of the poetic letter forms. Recently, however, Dr. Roberto Simanowski investigated concrete poetry in digital media, writing, “concrete poetry deals with the relation between the visible form and the intellectual substance of words. It is visual…because it adds the optical gesture of the word to its semantic meaning.”

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, edited by Emmett Williams (New York: Something Else Press, 1967). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) 2006-1243N

Roberto Simanowski, Digital Art and Meaning: Reading Kinetic Poetry, Text Machines, Mapping Art, and Interactive Installations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Marquand Library (SA) N7433.8 .S56 2011
Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry

Painting the book page



Laurence Sterne (1713-1768). Voyage Sentimental. Traduction nouvelle par Alfred Hédouin. Paris: Librairie des Bibliophiles, 1875. Extra-illustrated with watercolors in the margins by Louis Emile Benassit (1833-1902) specially commissioned for this volume. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process.


Twenty-first Century WunderCabinet


The WunderCabinet. The Curious Worlds of Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen ([Vancouver]: Heavenly Monkey Editions, 2011). One volume housed in a box decorated with onlaid wood veneers. Each box also contains a unique assortment of approximately two dozen objects, divided between several compartments, with a handwritten catalogue itemizes each object. Designed by Barbara Hodgson. Printed by Rollin Milroy at Heavenly Monkey. Paper made by Reg Lissel. Peter Braune and Lesley Anderson of New Leaf Editions printed the frontispiece copperplate etching. Hand coloring and other embellishments by the authors. Bound by Claudia Cohen. Copy 3 of 30. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process

“The WunderCabinet is Cohen and Hodgson’s interpretation of … 16th-to-18th century cabinets of curiosities. It is a glimpse into the authors’ own collections through essays, images and objects. … In the spirit and mode of the authors’ ongoing series of books exploring color …, the many & diverse images … take a variety of forms, whether engraved, hand drawn, hand coloured, layered or collaged. Objects included with the book follow this tradition and complement the topics covered in the book.”

Tired of Bridge? Play Dickens

dickens cards3.jpg
dickens cards4.jpg
dickens cards1.jpg

dickens cards2.jpg
Characters from Charles Dickens. A Game. [London, Jaques & Son, ca.1858.] 54 cards (94 × 65 mm).

One of many Victorian card games developed by the firm John Jaques & Son to capitalize on the popular novels of the period. We assume the date of these cards is around 1858, since there is no mention of A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1861), or Our Mutual Friend (1865). According to the rules, any number can play up to eight. Each of the thirteen “quartettes” of characters equals a suit and when one player collects the whole suit, he gets the “trick.” The first player to get three “tricks” is the winner.

Early modern German advertising


Das Plakat: Mitteilungen des Vereins der Plakatfreunde [The Poster: Report from the Friends of the Poster] (Berlin: Verlag Max Schildberger, 1910-1921). Graphic Arts has 1913, 1915, 1920. (GAX) in process


In 1905, a German dentist named Hans Josef Sachs (1881-1974) founded the Verein der Plakat Freunde (The Society for the Friends of the Poster). By 1910, Sachs had his own magazine Das Plakat, dedicated not only to posters but all aspects of commercial German graphic art. The bimonthly magazine included letterheads, packaging labels, playing cards, cubist advertisements, and propaganda. Das Plakat’s logo and early covers were designed by Lucian Bernhard (1883-1972), who would later join Elmer Adler (1884-1962) at the Pynson Printers in New York City.


Photographing Venus and Thebes

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A Sunset at Thebes, negative 1874, woodburytype 1876

On June 8, 2012, the last transit of Venus (when the planet passes between the earth and the sun) will occur in our lifetime. This rare event takes place in pairs eight years apart separated by gaps of ~122 years. For our generation, this means 2004 and 2012. Before this, the last pair of transits took place in December 1874 and December 1882.

For the 1874 transit, the British Observatory sent five expeditions to different parts of the world; including Hawaii, the Mauritius Island, the Kerguelen Island, Cape Town, and Egypt. Charles Orde Browne led the party to Cairo, which included photographer William de Wiveleslie Abney (1843-1920).


According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Abney was educated at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and, after a brief service in Bombay, was stationed at Chatham in 1871. As assistant to the instructor in telegraphy at the School of Military Engineering, Abney was given a small laboratory and photographic darkroom.


By the end of that year, he published Instruction in Photography for Use at the School of Military Engineering and became an active member of the Royal Photographic Society of London. Thanks to the generous donation of David H. McAlpin, Class of 1920, we hold this and most of Abney’s other scientific studies.

The young officer’s work led directly to the formation of a new school of chemistry and photography in 1874, with Abney as assistant instructor. Then, at the age of thirty-one, he was asked to organize the photographic observation of the transit of Venus from Egypt.

While in Egypt, Abney and his three assistants also created dozens of photographs not directly related to Venus, forty of which he later published in Thebes and its Five Great Temples (1876). A copy of Abney’s book with outstanding woodburytypes has been acquired by Princeton University.


In a letter sent to the London Photographic Society in 1875, Abney wrote, “…My chief work lay at Thebes, distant nearly 500 miles to the south of Cairo; and it was a matter of no small anxiety to me how I should transport all my instruments and observatory to that spot. The boats, or “dahabeaths” as they are called, would hardly have taken all unless I had engaged one which was out of all proportion to the passenger accommodation which I required.”

“…We started on the 25th October from Cairo, our baggage occupied three large trucks on the railway … On the 7th November we sighted Karnak just at sunset, and a glorious vision it was. The old ruins seemed like rubies set in the dark green of the palms which rose between us and them.”

“…We had taken out some ten dozen dry plates for solar work, which we had prepared at home, and began exposing them … I may mention one fact, viz., that dissolved dried albumen was used instead of white of eggs … On the day of the transit we exposed a plate about every one and a-half minute during the transit, beginning about twenty minutes after sunrise and finishing twelve minutes before internal contact.”

“As each plate was exposed it was passed into the dark room through a different aperture, taken out of the slide by a second sapper in the dark room, placed in its own groove, and the slide passed to be filled from the next box. I personally placed the slide in the photoheliograph, exposed each plate, taking up the time from my chronometer, and registered the number of the plate as shown on the back, together with the exact time of exposure.”


Abney’s photographs of Venus can be seen at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Here is one:

William de Wiveleslie Abney (1843-1820), Thebes and its Five Greater Temples (London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1876). 40 woodburytypes and descriptive text on the Egyptian city and its monuments, including Karnak, Luxor, Medinet Haboo, the Memnonium, and the Goorneh Temple. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process. OCLC lists only eight other copies in the United States.



George Cruikshank (1792 - 1878) after a design by HTDB, Bumpology, 24 February 1826. Etching. Graphic Arts Cruikshank collection.

A mother has brought her son to the phrenologist John De Ville, in the Strand, who published Outlines of Phrenology as an accompaniment to the Phrenological Bust (1824) and A Manual of Phrenology (1826). His assistant makes the note: “Very large Wit N° 32.” Caption reads:
Pores o’er the Cranial Map with learned eyes
Each rising hill and bumpy knoll descries
Here secret fires, and there deep mines of sense
His touch detects beneath each prominence.

In De Ville’s manual, which appeared shortly before this print, Cruikshank probably read: “…For the immense number of facts collected proved that every head, except idiots, has the thirty-five organs; but we do not attempt to say they are all largely developed and active in one individual; but by observations on a few persons, every organ in one or the other will be found fully developed…except in very extraordinary cases.”

Examples of Early Heraldic Seals


Charles Boutell (1812-1877). Examples of Early Heraldic Seals. Unpublished, February 1857. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process.


This unpublished volume with samples of royal and other seals was compiled by Charles Boutell, a writer on heraldry and antiquities, who published A Manual of British Archaeology in 1858 and A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular in 1863. It appears to be an early model for a publication (never completed), with the author pasting together various illustrations and preparing handwritten captions in several colors. The endpaper is inscribed “Ellie HB from CB”, which presumably means that Boutell gave it to his daughter.

In honor of legislation and compromise

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Design attributed to Benjamin West (1738-1820), Talk of an Ostrich! An Ostrich is nothing to him; Johnny Bull will swallow any thing!! 1795. Etching. GA 2011.00702. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

In this caricature, William Pitt (1759-1806) is using a musket to force Convention Bills down the throat of England. Pitt says “What, it sticks in your throat does it? Oh, I’ll ram it down I warrant you. And when it is once past, you’ll easily digest it. You must not be obstinate Johnny, when Laws are made, you have nothing to do but to obey them.”

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