March 2012 Archives

Anti-Abolitionist Caricature


George Cruikshank (1792-1878), The New Union-Club, Being a Representation of What Took Place at a Celebrated Dinner Given by a Celebrated Society - vide Mr. M-r-t’s pamphlet, “More thoughts,” &c.&c. … (London: G. Humphrey, 1819). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize Cruik 1828.28e

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The first joint Parliament of England and Ireland was held in 1801, prompting a caricature by James Gillray (1756-1815) of the English and the Irish meeting in a drunken debauch at the Union Club [left]. Eighteen years later, Cruikshank revived the design but this time it is the English and the African citizens who are seen fraternizing in vulgar and outrageous ways.

Cruikshank’s print satirizes the British abolitionist movement, in particular its leader William Wilberforce (1759-1833) seen standing on the far left. He is also seen naked in the painting on the back wall, entitled Apotheosis of W-W.

The slave trade from Africa to the British colonies was outlawed in 1807 and from other foreign countries in 1811. However, slave ships continued to sail from the West Indies. In July of 1819, the British Parliament passed two acts to addressed this: An Act for the More Speedy Trail of Offences committed in distant Parts upon the Seas, to the Trail of Offences committed in Africa against the Laws abolishing the Slave Trade [12 July 1819] and an Act for establishing a Registry of Colonial Slaves in Great Britain, and for making further Provision with respect to the removal of Slaves from British Colonies [12 July 1819]. Cruikshank finished and published this caricature one week later.

The print satirizes the British abolitionists from the standpoint of the West Indian planters. His title mentions two pamphlets published by the leader of the West India Interest in Parliament Joseph Marryat (1757-1824), which are Thoughts on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and Civilization of Africa (1816) and More Thoughts Still on the State of the West India Colonies (1818) (available full-text online).


Diverse Ways of Ornamenting Chimneypieces


Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), Diverse maniere d’adornare i cammini ed ogni altra parte degli edifizi: desunte dall’architettura Egizia, Etrusca, e Greca con un Ragionamento Apologetico in difesa dell’Architettura Egizia, e Toscana, opera del Cavaliere Giambattista Piranesi Architetto (Diverse Ways of Ornamenting Chimneypieces and All Other Parts of Houses Taken from Egyptian, Etruscan, and Grecian Architecture with an Apologia in Defense of the Egyptian and Tuscan Architecture, the Work of Cavaliere Giambattista Piranesi)(Roma: Nella Stamperia di Generoso Salomoni, 1769). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Rm 2-15-G


Fifty-six of the sixty-nine plates in Piranesi’s Diverse maniere d’adornare… are devoted to fireplace designs. Philip Hofer, former Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts at Harvard University, described the book as “a lamentably poor seller.” Arthur Samuel reviewed the work in his 1910 book Piranesi, writing “Over-decoration, meaningless ornament, lack of self-restraint, unpleasing design, grotesque without being useful or interesting, are all crowded into schemes which it would be nearly impossible to reproduce.” (GA 2009-0974N)


For a more positive reading of the images, see William Rieder, “Piranesi’s Diverse Maniere,” in The Burlington Magazine 115, no. 842 (May 1973): 308-17 (available online).


Plates variously numbered, Princeton’s copy is imperfect with some plates wanting.

The Battle of New Orleans

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Joseph Yeager (ca. 1792-1859) after a design by William Edward West (1788-1857), The Battle of New Orleans and Death of Major General Packenham on the 8th of January 1815. Philadelphia: Published and Sold by J. Yeager, [1816]. Hand colored engraving. Approximately 15 x 19 1/2 inches. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process. Purchased with support of the Barksdale-Dabney-Henry Fund, 2012

Philadelphia engraver, Joseph Yeager (ca.1792-1859), designed and published this bird’s eye view of the Battle of New Orleans in November 1816. Shown from a British perspective, the central group includes the figure of General Sir John Lambert (1772-1847) weeping into a handkerchief next to the fallen Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham (1778-1815), with other officers surrounding them. The Americans are viewed through clouds of smoke, with their flag flying at both the right and left. General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), who led the defense and became a national hero after this battle, has been singled out for the bottom title vignette.

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From December 25, 1814 to January 26, 1815, British casualties totaled 386 men killed, 1,521 wounded and 552 missing for the whole campaign. On the American side, 55 men were killed, 185 wounded, and 93 missing after the siege. (According to William James, A full and correct account of the military occurrences of the late war between Great Britain and the United States of America, Rare Books E359.J29)

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The artist signed: “West. Del.” has been attributed to William Edward West (1788-1857), who was born in Lexington, KY, and studied under Thomas Sully in Philadelphia. West worked there until about 1818 when he went to Natchez and then to Europe, to finish his painting education. Even when he returned to the United Stated, West continued to travel, working at various times in Baltimore, New York, and Nashville.

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For more information, see Library of Congress. An Album of American Battle Art 1755-1918, p. 94 (Marquand Oversize NE505 .U58q); Stauffer, American Engravers on Copper and Steel, 3433 (Graphic Arts NE505 .S79 1994); John Carbonell, “Prints of the Battle of New Orleans,” in Prints of the American West (1983), p.2-12. (Marquand NE505 .P55)

Pre-Columbian Stamp Seals and Roller Seals

Pre-Columbian Stamp Seals and Roller Seals Collection, Pre-Columbian era to approximately 1600 ADE. Graphic Arts Collection GC185. Gift of Gillett G. Griffin.


Thanks to the generosity of our former curator of graphic arts, Gillett G. Griffin, we hold a collection of 147 clay stamp seals, roller seals, and flat seals with handles. Housed in four large boxes, staff members Teresa T. Basler and Charles E. Greene organized the collection into the following series: Series 1: Stamp Seals: Anthropomorphic Designs; Series 2: Stamp Seals: Zoomorphic Designs; Series 3: Stamp Seals: Geometric, Floral, and Other Designs; Series 4: Large Flat Seals (with handles); Series 5: Roller Seals.


Mesoamerican seals (or sellos) were used for printing with colored pigments. The Oxford Companion to Western Art, notes that surviving Pre-Columbian examples are made of clay or terracotta and occasionally of stone, but later seals have been found made of wood. The relief patterns were either for a positive or negative image (by contrast, the designs on Ancient Near Eastern seals are always negative, since they were intended to produce positive images on wet clay).


The use of seals was widespread in Mesoamerica, parts of the Caribbean, and in the intermediate areas between Mesoamerica and the central Andes in South America. Use in Mesoamerica began about 1500 B.C.E. during the Pre-Classic period. A large numbers of seals have also been found at Olmec sites in the Gulf Coast region from the same era.

For more information, see Anthony Ortegon, Pre-Columbian Stamp Seals (Pueblo, Colo.: AOA Associates, 1999). Rare Books: Reference Collection (ExB) E59 .A7 1999

Providing WiFi in 1918

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“Memorandum. Portable Exhibition Outfits for Motion Pictures.

During the Fourth Liberty Loan Campaign in connection with the Outdoor activities of the Speakers Bureau, motion pictures were exhibited at night on the streets as part of the regular Outdoor meetings.

It was necessary to provide a movable platform on which could be mounted a motion picture projection apparatus, the standards to support the motion picture screen and some means of providing an electric current for use in the lamp house.

On careful consideration it was decided that the light wagon type of trailers was best suited to this work, and arrangements were made with The Eastern Trailmobile Sales Co. #110 West 40th St., New York City, to supply the trailers for this work.

Such an arrangement provided a complete unit made up of projection apparatus, storage battery and motion picture screen all mounted upon the trailer, in such manner that it was only necessary to haul this equipment to the point where the meeting was to be held.

A full report on this matter has been made by the Speakers.

[Signed] H. L. Adams [October 1918]”

Remember browsing the shelves?

You can’t do this on google books. A selection of nineteenth-century American imprints in the Sinclair Hamilton Collection, Graphic Arts


See also: American Decorated Publishers’ Bindings, 1872-1929 / collected and described by Richard Minsky (GA Oversize Z269.3.P89 M567 2006q)

The Szyk Haggadah


The Haggadah / [executed by] Arthur Szyk (1894-1951); with translation and commentary by Byron L. Sherwin. Deluxe edition (Burlingame, Calif.: Historicana, 2008). Copy 151 of 300. Text of Haggadah in Hebrew with English translation; commentary in English. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process. Purchased thanks to the support of Joanna and Daniel Rose, P*01.


“So much of Jewish history passes through the Passover Haggadah narrative and through Arthur Szyk’s Haggadah in particular. This is the work of an artist who combined his two passions - art and history - to the highest degree. In his Haggadah, Szyk illustrated the oppression, enslavement, and attempted annihilation of the ancient Israelites in Egypt, events unfolding again in his own time in Nazi-occupied Europe. His visual commentary on the Haggadah narrative weaves together numerous historical strands of the Jewish people and its heroic confrontation with those who ‘in every generation rise up against them.’ How Szyk expresses his passion, convictions, and beauty awaits your exploration.” —Irvin Ungar, publisher of the Szyk Haggadah


This set includes a new English translation by Rabbi Bryon L. Sherwin; a companion volume Freedom Illuminated: Understanding The Szyk Haggadah; a DVD with a documentary film prepared by Jim Ruxin showing how this Haggadah was created; and a custom-made magnifying glass to enhance the viewing of the book’s illuminated plates.

For more information, see their website:

Unrecorded second edition of The Penman's Magazine

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George Shelley (ca. 1666-ca. 1736) and John Seddon (died 1700), The Penman’s Magazine, or, A New Copy-Book, of the English, French, and Italian Hands, after the Best Mode; Adorn’d … after the originals of the late incomparable Mr. John Seddon. Perforn’d by George Shelley … Supervis’d and publish’d by Thomas Read (London: printed by J. Holland …, 1709). 2nd ed. Bound in old quarter calf over marbled boards. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process

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Thanks to the research of Christopher Edwards, we recently acquired this unrecorded second edition of The Penman’s Magazine. The plates were selected by George Shelley but arranged by Thomas Read, one of his students. Read contributes a Preface to the Reader that states, “Seddon on his Death-Bed bequeath’d me his Remains,” desiring him to “Have them Perfected.” Read calls Shelley “a celebrated penman of the Age, who was so generous as to undertake it, and has so order’d the Ornamental Part, that it flows from the Pen by a swift Command of hand with the greatest ease imaginable.”

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Twin sisters Maude Alice and Genevieve Almeda Cowles

cowles3.jpg Maude Alice Cowles (1871-1905), Untitled, no date [ca. 1897?]. Pencil and ink wash on board. Illustration for Scribner’s Magazine. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02625
cowles2.jpg Genevieve Almeda Cowles (born 1871), Untitled, no date [ca. 1897?]. Pencil and ink wash on board. Illustration for Scribner’s Magazine. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02624
cowles4.jpg Genevieve Almeda Cowles (born 1871), Untitled, no date [ca. 1897?]. Pencil and ink wash on board. Illustration for Scribner’s Magazine. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02623

The twin Cowles sisters trained together as visual artists and worked on the same projects, whether magazine illustration, mural painting, or stain glass window design. They were both early members of the Art Workers’ Club for Women, an organization of female artists and female artists’ models. Founded in 1898 by Helen Sargent (later Mrs. Ripley Hitchcock), the Club boasted more than 150 members in the first few years.

The Art Workers’ clubhouse was in a brownstone at 224 West 58th Street, around the corner from The Art Students’ League. Along with meeting rooms, there was a restaurant and boarding house where young women could stay temporarily. Later, the Club established a booking agency for the professional models and offered a collection of costumes that could borrow for work.

As members, the Cowles sisters were allowed to hire models with no booking fee. A small number of male artists paid a fee of $2 per year to be honorary members, so that they could have access to a trained pool of professional models. To read more, see David Slater, “The Fount of Inspiration: Minnie Clark, the Art Workers’ Club for Women, and Performances of American Girlhood,” Winterthur Portfolio 39, No. 4 (Winter 2004), pp. 229-258.

The Cowles sisters were also responsible for the beautiful windows in Grace Church’s Honor Room at 802 Broadway, New York City. Here are a few images:


John White Alexander


Benoni Irwin (1840-1896), John W. Alexander President of the Fellowcraft Club, 1891. Oil on canvas. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02630

Written in brown paint on the verso of this canvas is the identification, “Portrait of John W. Alexander, President of The Fellowcraft Club, painted for and presented to the Club by Benoni Irwin April 1891.” John White Alexander (1856-1915) was an American portrait painter who began his career as an apprentice for Harper’s Weekly, before moving to Europe to paint.

Although his primary residence after 1881 was New York City, he continued to travel and exhibit in London, Paris, and Rome. Portrait painting became a specialty and the Princeton University Art Museum holds seven painting by Alexander, including a portrait of our former President James McCosh (1811-1894).

Alexander was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, President of the National Society of Mural Painters, and as this painting attests, President of The Fellowcraft Club. This last organization, founded in 1888, was a monthly eating club for writers and illustrators, “two hundred or more men, most of the active ones on the daily papers of this city.” The first president was Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century Magazine and Alexander was the second.


Unknown artist, Francesca Alexander and her mother, no date. Oil on board. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02618

The graphic arts collection holds another painting with a pencil inscription on the verso: This painting by John Alexander depicts his daughter Francesca and her mother. Francesca was also a painter — MYH had a few of her paintings in watercolor which went to the Princeton Library.” However, John White Alexander married Elizabeth Alexander (no relation) and they had one child, James Waddell Alexander II, who became a mathematician.

The note refers to Esther Frances Alexander (1837-1917) who was known as Fanny and later Francesca. She was an artist and the graphic arts collection includes four of her sketches including a study for a St. Francis; a sketch of St. Christopher; one of Narcissus; and a cityscape of Rome. Francesca was the daughter of the artist Francis Alexander and the authoress Lucia Gray Swett; no relation to John White Alexander. It is hard to say who the actual artist was or if this image is a lifetime portrait of Francesca.

Description and Praise of the City of Haarlem


Samuel Ampzing (1590-1632), Beschryvinge ende lof der stad Haerlem in Holland. In rijm bearbeyd: ende met veele oude en nieuwe stucken buyten dicht uyt verscheyde kronijken, handvesten, brieven, memorien ofte geheugenissen, ende diergelijke schriften verklaerd, ende bevestigd. With: Petrus Scriverius, Lavre-Kranz voor Laurens Koster van Haerlem, eerste vinder vande boeck-druckery (Haarlem: Adriaan Roman, 1628). Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process



Several month ago we found a collotype depiction of Laurens Jansz. Coster’s fifteenth-century print shop. Happily, we have now acquired the book that first presented this amazing print to the public.

The Dutch poet Samuel Ampzing (1590-1632) wrote this book to promote the city of Haarlem. He began the project in 1617 and published it in 1628 under the title Beschrijvinge ende lof der stad Haerlem in Holland. As an added bonus, the foreword is an essay by Ampzing on the Dutch language and its rules of rhetoric, which was also sold separately in 1628 under the title Taelbericht der Nederlandsche spellinge (Treatise on Dutch Spelling).

The book includes eleven double page prints designed by Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (1597-1665), among the most famous of the seventeenth-century Dutch painters. In addition, he drew a portrait of Coster (ca. 1370-ca. 1440), who was for some years thought to have predated Gutenberg in the use of moveable type. The book includes a short section by the Leiden scholar Petrus Scriverius in praise of Coster and two plates imagining the inside of his shop.


Nausikaa, A French Odyssey


Homer, Nausikaa, translated by Leconte de Lisle (Paris: Édition d’art, H. Piazza, 1899). Copy 306 of 400. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process.

The French writer Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) began translating Homer in 1845; his Iliad appeared in 1867, and the Odyssey and the Hymns in 1868. A few years after his death, the prose for his sixth book of The Odyssey was embedded into twenty-two full page color lithographs by Nabis-inspired Gaston de Latenay (1859-1943), along with twenty-two borders and twenty-four vignettes, initials and culs-de-lampe.


In Book Six, we find Odysseus sleeping on the island of Skheria. The King’s daughter, Nausicaa, goes to the river with her maids to wash clothes and play. They happen on the naked Odysseus and although the others run away, Nausicaa stays and speaks with him.

French: Ainsi dormait là le patient et divin Odysseus, dompté par le sommeil et par la fatigue, tandis qu’Athènè se rendait à la ville et parmi le peuple des hommes Phaiakiens qui habitaient autrefois la grande Hypériè, auprès des kyklôpes insolents qui les opprimaient, étant beaucoup plus forts qu’eux. Et Nausithoos, semblable à un dieu, les emmena de là et les établit dans l’île de Skhériè, loin des autres hommes. Et il bâtit un mur autour de la ville, éleva des demeures, construisit les temples des dieux et partagea les champs.


English: So there he lay asleep, the steadfast goodly Odysseus, fordone with toil and drowsiness. Meanwhile Athena went to the land and the city of the Phaeacians, who of old, upon a time, dwelt in spacious Hypereia; near the Cyclopes they dwelt, men exceeding proud, who harried them continually, being mightier than they. Thence the godlike Nausithous made them depart, and he carried them away, and planted them in Skheria, far off from men that live by bread. And he drew a wall around the town, and built houses and made temples for the gods and meted out the fields.


The Highland Broad Sword

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Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), Highland Broad Sword: As Practiced by the Dismounted Troops of the Light Horse Volunteers of London and Westminster ([London]: Henry Angelo, 1799). 56 x 39 cm. Graphic Arts Rowlandson 1798.11

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This large color etching with aquatint contains 150 figures drawn by Thomas Rowlandson depicting the various positions in the use of the Highland broad sword. Graphic Arts is fortunate to hold two copies, which shows us the coloring differed greatly from copy to copy. Each sheet was folded to fit into a paper slipcase measuring 17 x 14 cm.

The images depict the ten lessons (or “set play” sequences) of fencing as dictated by Henry Angelo (1756-1835) and followed by the Guards of the Light Horse Volunteers of London and Westminster. Angelo ran a fencing academy on Old Bond Street and financed the publication (which is still followed today

Later the same year, Angelo also published a training manual for cavalrymen entitled Hungarian and Highland Broadsword (Rowlandson 1798.12f). That volume includes twenty-four color plates, also designed by Angelo’s good friend Thomas Rowlandson.

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Chagall's Maternité


Marcel Arland (1899-1986) and Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Maternité (Motherhood) (Paris: Sans Pareil, 1926). Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process


Marc Chagall moved to Paris in 1923 and received several commissions for visual narratives, beginning with designs for Nikolai Gogol’s Die toten Seelen (The Dead Souls) in 1923 (printed in 1927 and published in 1950), followed by Maternité 1925-26, Les Sept péchés capitaux (The Seven Deadly Sins) in 1926, and the Fables of La Fontaine 1927-30. Many of the prints are drypoints, for which Chagall drew directly into a copper plate with a sharp needle.

Arland’s short story is a narrative told in reverse, beginning with the death of a young girl’s illegitimate baby and ending with the first night she and her lover spend together. The girl is vilified by her neighbors and Chagall’s first image shows her being taken away by the police as a crowd yells and shames her. Another plate shows the girl giving birth alone in her backyard among the chickens and empty crates.

Unfortunately, the popularity of Chagall’s prints has led many dealers to cut the book apart and sell the plates individually. To read more, see: Patrick Cramer, Marc Chagall: The Illustrated Books (Geneva: Patrick Cramer Publisher, 1995). Marquand (SA) ND689.C3 C725 1995q

Thomas Nast archive

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Albert Bigelow Paine (1861-1937), An archive of reviews and memorabilia relating to the book Th. Nast, His Period and His Pictures, in an album supplied by the book’s publisher Macmillan Company, [1904]. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

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Two years after the death of caricaturist Thomas Nast (1840-1902), his biographer Albert Paine finished the story of Nast’s life and published it with Macmillan Company. The publisher bound another unique book for Paine to look exactly like the biography but with blank pages. In this book, he glued reviews of his book.

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Paine tracked down every article, commentary, newspaper column, and publisher’s announcement regarding Nast’s life and stuffed them into the volume’s nearly 600 pages. The collection includes interesting pieces of ephemera in a variety of formats. There is an ALS (a letter hand-written and signed by the same individual) from William Magear “Boss” Tweed (1823-1878) to a correspondent dated 1869. On the verso is a note written by Paine that reads “two or three years before his exposure by Nast.” There is a 1902 holiday greeting card from Nast to Paine inscribed “Thanks my dear mascot” and a note from Paine offering sympathy to Mrs. Nast at Nast’s death.

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Several complete stories are inserted, small brochures and booklets, and a fund raising booklet entitled Testimonial to Thomas Nast. The last was written in 1873 by N.P. Chipman to update readers on Thomas Nast’s poor health. It ends with an appeal for subscribers to pledge one hundred dollars each “toward a fund which, if sufficiently large, shall be used first, to pay off a mortgage of $10,000 upon his home in Morristown, New jersey; and , second, to defray the expense of himself and family to Europe, or elsewhere, as many seem best to him.”

Copies of wood engravings, line block prints, and a few original pen drawings are dropped in between the pages.

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Aphrodite (or Venus to the Romans) is thought to have been born near Paphos, on the island of Cyprus. According to Greek myth, Uranus and Gaia had a son named Cronus. The parents fought and Gaia created a stone sickle, which she gave to Cronus to attack his father. Cronus castrated Uranus and threw his father’s testicles into the sea. They caused the sea to foam and out of that white foam rose Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.

This is the story George Cruikshank chose to paint in his late sixties or early seventies. Two versions have been identified, one in the Graphic Arts collection at Princeton University and the other at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Neither has a date on the work itself but the Princeton records assign the work to the year 1860. This may once have been on the verso of the board on which it is painted but unfortunately, the painting has been glued to another wooden support, so this information cannot be checked.

cruikshank aphrodite1.jpgGeorge Cruikshank ( 1792-1878), The Birth of Aphrodite, 1860. Oil on panel, with heavy varnishing. Signed: ‘Geo. Cruikshank 1792-1878’. 46 x 61 cm. GC022 Cruikshank collection.
2007BM7724_jpg_l.jpg George Cruikshank (1792-1878), Venus Rising from the Froth of the Sea, pre-1884. Oil on canvas. 30.5 x 25.1 cm. Victoria and Albert Museum, AL9570

Cruikshank owned this stipple engraving by Thomas Hollis, which may have served, in a small part, as inspiration for his own design.


Thomas Hollis (1818-1843) after a painting by Richard Westall (1765-1836), The Boar that Killed Adonis Brought to Venus, 1833-43. Stipple engraving. British Museum


In the inaugural issue of Biblia, A Publication Devoted to the Interests of the Princeton University Library (June 1930), an introduction was penned by PAR (Philip Ashton Rollins, Class of 1889), co-founder and the first Chairman of the Friends of Princeton University Library.

“Dr. Osler originated for Oxford University’s benefit an adjunct which he styled Friends of the Bodleian. Presently Harvard University … duplicated the scheme; and, as a result, her Friends of the Library have, during the past five years, been vigorously furthering her effort to improve … [its] collections of books. Following Harvard’s example … a group of men some two months ago launched in Princeton’s interest an association known as Friends of the Princeton Library.”

“The aim of the association is the obtaining of printed and manuscript material for Princeton, doing this indirectly through creating an intimate acquaintance between Princeton’s library and such Princetonians and other sympathetic folk as may desire the library’s betterment. Lovers of books can, by making or inducing gifts of volumes, do much to strengthen Princeton. If the goal is to be reached, the association’s membership should include all the persons who have fondness both for Princeton and for printed pages.”

On Sunday, March 25, 2012, the Friends of the Princeton University Library will hold the third biennial Book Adoption Party from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Chancellor Green Rotunda. To get your own invitation, click here:

Image: John Young-Hunter (1874-1955), Philip Ashton Rollins, 1934. Oil on canvas. American paintings

McArdell of the Golden Head

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James McArdell (ca. 1728-1765) after a painting by Adriaen Brouwer (1605/06-1638), Untitled [A Blacksmith’s Forge], between 1740 and 1765. Mezzotint. Inscription: “Done from a Capital Picture of Brouwer in the Collection of B: Cleeve Esqr. by Jas. Mc.ARdell. Sold by J. Mc.Ardell at the Golden Head in Covent Garden. [scratched] Price 2s.” Graphic Arts GA 2011.00654.

“James MacArdell [sic] was born in Cow-lane (afterwards altered to Greek-Street) in Dublin about 1729,” writes John Chaloner Smith in his 1883 reference set British Mezzotinto Portraits . “His talents were duly appreciated by the great painters of his time, especially by Reynolds, who considered … that his own fame would be preserved by MacArdell’s engravings, when the pictures had faded away.” —(GARF NE 265.S6 1883 pt. 2)

Developed in Holland and perfected in Britain, the mezzotint is an intaglio process in which the copper plate is covered with holes so that when inked, it prints completely black. Then, the printmaker scrapes and polishes the marks away, uncovering the highlights within the image. “In etching … you make the shades; in metzotinto the lights.” —wrote William Gilpin in his An Essay on Prints (Ex NE850 .G42 1768).

Oldest film based on Charles Dickens found

Congratulations to our British colleague curator Bryony Dixon who discovered the world’s oldest surviving Charles Dickens film. The discovery of The Death of Poor Joe, which dates back to March 1901, was made at the British Film Institute (BFI) in February 2012. Until now the earliest known Dickens film was Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost released in November 1901.

Footage courtesy of BFI.

Catoptric Anamorphosis

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Michael Schützer-Weissmann, In Nomine Domini: Lives of the Composers. Eight etchings by John O’Connor on texts by Michael Schützer-Weissmann (London: John O’Connor, 1974). Copy 1 of 100. The etchings were printed at the Octopus Press at the Islington Studio, London. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize 2012-0006E

Subjects include John Taverner; Thomas Tallis; Dr. John Bull; Orlando Gibbons; William Byrd; William Lawes; John Jenkins; and Henry Purcell. The plate to illustrate Orlando Gibbons is a catoptric anamorphosis, to be viewed with the accompanying cylindrical mirror.

Adventures of Qui Hi (British Rule in India)

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Attributed to William Combe (1742-1823), The Grand Master; or, Adventures of Qui Hi? in Hindostan. A Hudibrastic Poem in Eight Cantos by Quiz. Illustrated with engravings by Rowlandson (London: Printed by T. Tegg, 1816). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Rowlandson 1816. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

Qui hi, or Kooee Hye, is the Bengalee phrase meaning Who’s there. As no bells are used in the houses of the gentry in India, the servants sit at the doors of the dining or drawing room, or study, and are called … by the phrase Qui hi, to which they instantly reply by appearing. Hence all the English in Bengal are called by the Europeans of other parts of India Qui his.” — Joachim Stocqueler, Familiar History of British India (1859)

This stinging satire of British imperial rule in India, punctuated with Rowlandson’s hand colored plates, features Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings (1754-1826), known as The Earl of Moira. Hastings served as Governor-General of India and led the British troops to victory when the Gurkhas declared war. The battles ended in 1816 and the book appeared shortly afterwards.

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Pulled for ART 453 / ECS 453 Caricature and Modernity: 1776-1914

William Roe Howell, photographer

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stereo princeton2.jpgWilliam Roe Howell (1846-1890), [Nassau Street], ca. 1870. Albumen stereograph. Graphic Arts collection GC131.
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Among his many commissions, William Roe Howell (1846-1890) worked as senior class photographer for Princeton College 1869-1870 and 1872-1873. Melissa Johnson wrote, “The following notice in the October 1868 issue of the Nassau Literary Magazine announced the presence of William R. Howell (d. 1890) on campus as class photographer: ‘Photographer — The Seniors have chosen Mr. Howell, of New York City, to be their class photographer. He has erected a sky-light, and gone bravely to work to make 54 as good looking pictures as possible, while imitating nature sufficiently to secure a tolerable resemblance between picture and pictured.’”

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“…Howell appears to have been very popular at Princeton, serving the Classes of 1869, 1870, 1872, and 1873. … Howell, like many photographers who traveled for their trade, used a portable photographer’s shanty in which to take and develop photographs. Photographers had long made use of portable darkrooms and studios.”

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“…By the time Howell had finished erecting his studio on the Princeton campus behind East College (the present site of East Pyne), it was a building complete with skylight over the sitting-area. …The skylight of Howell’s shanty, on the side and roof of the building, allowed sufficient light for exposures made inside the otherwise windowless studio. Its interior is shown in a stereoscopic photograph taken by Howell ca. 1869-1870, revealing his work area. A young assistant sits by the camera, while a man we assume to be Howell sits at a desk working. The light coming in from the skylight is visible at the right side of the gallery.”

— Melissa A. Johnson, “Reflections on Photographing Princeton,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 60, no. 3 (spring 1999): 422-425.

Unpublished Rowlandson Drawings

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“Shelved in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in the Princeton University Library—and totally unexplored so far as I know—are sixty-three … [Thomas] Rowlandson drawings,” writes Joseph Rothrock, professor emeritus, University of New Mexico and former curator of graphic arts.

“Almost all are laid down in a mid-nineteenth-century album acquired from Scribner’s on July 13, 1920 and donated to the Library in 1933. Its leaves, without watermarks or identifiable collectors’ marks, measure 9 1/8 by 12 1/2 inches. The drawings themselves are on both wove and laid papers with various watermarks. A light-table reveals on the reverse of many of the drawings one pen sketch, a variety of inscriptions and money accounts, and that the backs of several were used as watercolor palettes.”


“The album was part of a major gift to the Princeton University Library of Rowlandson’s illustrated books and of around two thousand prints by Rowlandson, Bunbury, Woodward, and Gillray. Well over half the prints are by Rowlandson and include many of his earliest etchings as well as numerous proofs, proofs delicately hand colored, and prints not listed in the estimable Grego.”


“The collector was Dickson Q. Brown, Princeton Class of 1895. Brown donated most of the material in 1928 and continued to augment it until his death in 1939.” The rest of Rothrock’s article and a complete listing of the drawings can be found in Princeton University Library Chronicle 36, no. 2 (winter 1975): 87-110.


Shakespeare and Company


Along with the books and papers that came to Princeton University in 1964 from Sylvia Beach’s Paris bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, was the signboard that hung outside the shop’s front door. With a brightly colored enamel portrait of William Shakespeare on one side and the bookstore’s name on the other, this heavy steel sign became the icon for the shop until it closed in 1941.

Princeton’s is the third of three signs commissioned for the shop, this one painted by Marie Monnier-Bécat (1894-1976), the wife of the artist Paul-Émile Bécat (1885-1960) and sister of Sylvia Beach’s partner Adrienne Monnier (1892-1955).

Beach wrote, “Charles Winzer, a Polish-English friend of Adrienne’s, made the signboard, a portrait of Shakespeare, to be hung outside. Adrienne didn’t approve of the idea, but I wanted it anyway. The signboard hung from a bar above the door. I took it down at night. Once, I forgot it, and it was stolen. Winzer made another, which also disappeared. Adrienne’s sister made a third one, a rather French-looking Shakespeare, which I still have.” - Sylvia Beach (1887-1962), Shakespeare and Company (ExB 0350.854.15)

See Steve Ferguson’s rare book blog for more information:

And here is a video of Beach talking about her life in Princeton and then, in Paris:!v=1129703=

Lovers, sympathetic and otherwise

lovers7.jpgSympathetic Lovers, Feb. 6, 1797
lovers5.jpgAged Lovers, Jan. 2, 1797

Lovers. Eleven plates designed by George Moutard Woodward (ca. 1760-1809) and etched by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) ([London: Hooper & Wigstead, 1797-98]). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize Rowlandson 1797f. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895. Not illustrated: Drunken Lovers, Quarrelsome Lovers, and Dukes Place Lovers.

lovers1.jpgForgiving Lovers, March 15, 1798
lovers4.jpgAvaricious Lovers, no date

lovers8.jpgSpiritual Lovers, Jan. 2, 1797
lovers2.jpgCountry Lovers, March 15, 1798

lovers3.jpgBashful Lovers, March 15, 1798
lovers6.jpgPlatonic Lovers, Jan. 1, 1797

Platonic Lovers
It is not that delicate frame,
Nor the roseate hue of that skin
In my breast that has kindled the flame
Which burns up my vitals within

Those shortly must vanish away.
And leave not an atom behind,
To me richer charms you display,
In the Beauties that dwell in your mind.

London Extra Illustrated

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Henry B. Wheatley (1838-1917), London Past and Present, Its History, Associations, and Traditions, based upon the Handbook of London by the late Peter Cunningham (London: John Murray, 1891). GAX Graphic Arts 2012- in process

This copy of Wheatley’s guide to London has been extra illustrated with 170 plates including engravings, etchings, and lithographs (15 hand colored) from many well-known sources. Here are a few examples.

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