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Dürer's marginalia

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Oratio dominica polyglotta singularm linguarum characteribus expressa et delineationibus Albert Dueri (Munich: Stuntz, [1820]). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2008- in process

In 1515, Albrecht Dürer created a series of designs on the margins of a Prayer Book in the Royal Library at Munich, formerly belonging to the Emperor Maximilian I. The book became known as Dürer’s Christlich-Mythologische Handzeichnungen. In 1808, one of the first lithographed publication to use multi-colored inks was a reproduction of Dürer’s border designs by Johann Nepomuk Strixner (1782-1855) published at Aretin-Senefelder Verlag. When Rudolf Ackermann (1764-1834) started his Lithographic Press in London in 1817, a facsimile of the 1808 German edition was its first important production.

The 1820 Munich edition shown here fills the borders with the Lord’s prayer in 43 different languages lithographed in colors by Strixner, published under the new title of Oratio Dominica Polyglotta.

Also available: Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Albrecht Dürers christlich-mythologische Handzeichnungen ([Munich: A. Senefelder, 1808]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX), Oversize 2007-0749Q

Die Nibelungen, an ancient tale of knightly honor


Die Nibelungen. Interpreted by Franz Keim (1840-1918) and illustrated by Carl Otto Czeschka (1878-1960) (Wien; Leipzig: Verlag Gerlach u. Wiedling, [1909?]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX), PT1580 .K44 1909

This unassuming little book gives the reader no indication of the riches it holds inside. The design of the text and eight double page illustrations are the work of Carl Otto Czeschka, a leading member of the Vienna Secession. Czeschka studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts and worked as a designer for the Wiener Werkstätte from 1905 until 1908 when he left for a teaching post at Hamburgs’ Kunstgewerbeschule. Czeschka went on to design for a variety of media including jewelry, metalwork, textiles, furniture and book design.

This copy of Die Nibelungen will be included in an exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum from March 21 to June 7, 2009. The show, entitled “Myth and Modernity: Ernst Barlach’s Images of The Nibelungen and Faust” will offer the first American showing of the Nibelungen drawing cycle by Barlach.

Divine Books

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Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy; translated by Robert & Jean Hollander; illustrated by Monika Beisner (Verona: Valdonega, 2007). Copy 238 of 500. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2008-0109Q

Midway in the journey of our life
I came to myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
Ah, how hard it is to tell
the nature of that wood, savage, dense and harsh —
the very thought of it renews my fear!

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Dante’s Inferno: translations by twenty contemporary poets; frontispiece by Francesco Clemente ([Hopewell, NJ]: Ecco Press, 1993). Copy 21 of 125. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize PQ4315.2 .H28 1993q


Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno / a verse translation by Tom Phillips with images and commentary ([London]: Talfourd Press, 1983). Copy 33 of 185. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2008-0003E

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Ante-Purgatorio; Cantos I-IX of the Purgatorio, English translations by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Original etchings by Jack Zajac (New York: Racolin Press, 1964). Edition of 215 copies. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0046E

It is so bitter death is hardly more so.
But to set forth the good I found
I will recount the other things I saw.
How I came there I cannot really tell,
I was so full of sleep
when I forsook the one true way.
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri / the prose translation by Charles Eliot Norton ; with illustrations from designs by Botticelli (New York: Bruce Rogers & the Press of A. Colish, 1955). Copy 171 of 300. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2007-0376Q

The Princeton Dante Project:

Documents d'Atelier

Victor Champier (1851-1929), Documents d’atelier: art décoratif moderne (Paris: Libraire de la Revue des arts décoratifs, 1898). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2004-0581Q

Victor Champier founded the Revue des Arts Décoratifs (1887-1902) and established a school of industrial arts in Roubaix. He compiled these plates, printed through the pochoir or hand-stencilling process, to include 60 designs for decorations of textiles, wallpaper, ceramics, furniture, architecture, metalwork, sculpture, and jewelry. The book offers examples of work by Alphonse Mucha, A. Sandier, Francis Jourdain, A. Lalique, L. Bonnier, A. Tourette, C. Boignard, and other artists of the period.

The End of the Stock-Market World

Last December 2007, I posted an entry on Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid or The Great Mirror of Folly. Each edition has a slightly different group of prints: Harvard’s copy has 71, Princeton’s 73, and each includes several not in the other volume.

This page, originally engraved by Monogrammist C L, later altered by an anonymous 18th-century Dutch engraver after Pieter Quast (1606-1647) and entitled De Actiewerld op Haar Ende (The End of the Stock-Market World), is included in Harvard’s copy but not Princeton’s. However, we recently acquired an impression to help complete our collection of the prints for in this anonymous 1720 project.

The central figure in this caricature is the philosopher Diogenes (ca. 412-323 BCE). Considered the founder of Cynicism, he eschewed worldly pleasures, wore coarse clothing, and pursued practical good. He is often shown carrying a lantern, searching for an honest person, but in this print his lantern has been given away (presumably having given up finding an honest man). He has lost everything in the stock-market bubble of 1720 from investing in the South Seas Company. As the text beneath the image concludes,

How easily can such a flier be upset by a South Sea blast or a Quinquempoix* bubble! So whoever gives his name and honor for the money, and adores it like an idol, deserves to be scorned in this fashion.

*Quinquempoix was the name of the street where the Parisian money market was located.

This print was first engraved around 1670 by the Monogrammist C L to satirize the tulip mania in the Netherlands. The plate was then altered to satirize the stock-market speculation of 1720.

Naesevise bemerkninger

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Fabritius reklamebyrå [Norwegian firm], Naesevise bemerkninger (Kristiania [i.e. Oslo]: Fabritius & sønner, [1920?]).Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2008- in process

Norwegian advertising humor.


Posted for Professor Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones, “Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology: Islands and Literature …”

Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, De Americaensche zee-roovers: behelsende een pertinente en waerachtige beschrijving van alle de voornaemste roveryen, en onmenschelijcke wreedheden, die de Engelse en Franse rovers, tegens de Spanjaerden in America, gepleeght hebben… First edition (Amsterdam: Jan ten Hoorn, boeckverkoper, over ‘t Oude Heeren Logement, 1678). Rare Books: Kane Collection (ExKa) Americana 1678 Exquemelin

Translated into Spanish in 1681, into English in 1684, and into French in 1686. The work went through numerous editions in its various versions and formed the foundation for many of the histories and romances of the buccaneers published during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Digital copy:

Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, Piratas de la America, y luz à la defensa de las costas de Indias Occidentales … / traducido de la lengua flamenca en española, por el Dor. Alonso de Buena-Maison, español, medico practico en la amplissima y magnifica ciudad de Amsterdam (Impresso en Colonia Agrippina [Cologne]: en casa de Lorenzo Struickman, 1681). Rare Books: Kane Collection (ExKa), Americana 1681 Exquemelin

Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, Bucaniers of America, or, A true account of the most remarkable assaults committed of late years upon the coasts of the West-Indies, by bucaniers of Jamaica and Tortuga, both English and French. Wherein are contained more especially, the unparrallel’d exploits of Sir Henry Morgan, our English Jamaican hero, who sack’d Puerto Velo, burnt Panama, &c. Written originally in Dutch, by John Esquemeling, one of the bucaniers, who was present at those tragedies; and thence translated into Spanish, by Alonso de Bonne-Maison … Now faithfully rendered into English (London: Printed for W. Crooke, at the Green Dragon without Temple-bar, 1684-1685). “This copy consists of the first English edition & the second vol. of the second English edition, the latter containing matter not in the first.” Rare Books: Kane Collection (ExKa) Americana 1684b Exquemelin

Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, The history of the bucaniers: being an impartial relation of all the battels, sieges, and other most eminent assaults committed for several years upon the coasts of the West-Indies by the pirates of Jamaica and Tortuga… (London: Printed for Tho. Malthus, 1684). Rare Books: Kane Collection (ExKa) Americana 1684 Exquemelin

Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, Piratas de la América, y luz a la defensa de las costas de Indias Occidentales: en que se tratan las cosas notables de los viages, descripcion de las islas Española, Tortuga, Jamayca, de sus frutos y producciones, política de sus habitantes, guerras y encuentros entre Españoles y Franceses, origen de los piratas, y su modo de vivir, la toma é incendio de la ciudad de Panamá, invasion de varias plazas de la América por los robadores franceses, Lolonois y Morgan (Madrid: Ramón Ruiz, 1793). Rare Books: Kane Collection (ExKa) Americana 1793 Exquemelin

Thomas Bewick

At the close of the 18th century, printmaking was revolutionized by the English wood engraver Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), and the German lithographer Aloys Senefelder (1771-1834). The processes developed by these men brought innovation in fine art printing and in commercial book illustration.

Copperplate engraving

copperplate engraving

Wood engraving

Bewick is remembered for his wood engraved masterworks A General History of Quadrupeds (1790), and History of British Birds Vol. I (1797), Vol. II (1804). However, his firm printed work in all media, including engraved wood, glass, silver, and traditional copperplate engraving.

Wood engraving

Wood engraving

Copperplate engraving

When Bewick died in 1828, his son Robert took over the business and published two further editions of the Birds in 1832 and 1847, and a large wood engraved Waiting for Death in 1832. After the death of the rest of the family, Julia Boyd compiled the volume seen here, documenting both copperplate and wood engravings in Bewick Gleanings: Being Impressions from Copperplates and Wood Blocks Engraved in the Bewick Workshop… (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Andrew Reid, 1886). Graphic Arts: Reference Collection (GARF) Oversize NE1212.B5 xB6q

The Largest Book Published in Colonial America

Thieleman Janszoon van Braght (1625-1664), Der Blutige Schau-Platz [The Bloody Theater]: oder Martyrer-Spiegel der Tauffs Gesiñten oder Wehrlosen-Christen, Die um des Zeugnuss Jesu ihres Seligmachers willen gelitten haben, und seynd getödtet worden, von Christi Zeit an bis auf das Jahr 1660 (Ephrata in Pensylvanien: Drucks und Verlags der Brüderschafft, 1748-1749). 2 v. in 1. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 26q

Bound in leather over oak boards with brass corner pieces and clasps, Der Blutige Schau-Platz was three years in the making at the Ephrata Press in the Brotherhood’s monastery located in Northern Lancaster County. The Pennsylvania Mennonites commissioned the German translation and a paper mill was built especially for the single publication. Over 1500 folio pages were printed for each volume in an edition of 1300 copies, originally priced at 20 shillings. It is considered the largest book published in Colonial America.

“Fifteen Brethren were detailed, nine of whom had their work assigned in the printing department, namely, one corrector, who was at the same time the translator, four compositors and four pressmen; the rest had their work in the paper-mill. Three years were spent on this book, though not continuously, for there was often a want of paper.”

The text is a record of Mennonite, Anabaptist, and Pietist martyrs between 1524 and 1660. Written in Dutch by Tieleman Jansz van Braght (1625-1664), a Mennonite pastor, the book chronicles the lives of over 4,000 men and women who endured torture and death for their religious beliefs.

The frontispiece scene presents an army of martyrs marching to Heaven. Sinclair Hamilton noted that the engraving, probably made in Holland, “was removed from most copies because it offended the Mennonites.”

To read the text in English, see The Bloody Theatre, or Martyrs’ Mirror, of the Defenseless Christians (Near Lampeter Square, Lancaster Co., Pa.: David Miller, 1837). Annex A 5412.205. Or read it online at

Japanese Crests

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Takejirō Yoshino, 紋之泉 / Mon no izumi (Kyōto: Rakutō Shoin, 1934). Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

In memory of Hayden Carruth 1921-2008

Anything ends
In its beginning,
The circles turning
Slowly, so slowly,
Quern of the beat
Of the downrunning heart.
The sunlight fell like diamonds
But did not slacken
Remembrance’s forewarning
Of cold and dark to come,
The journey retaken
Without end,
Without end.
—from IV. “Ignis” in Journey to a Known Place (1961) Graphic Arts division GAX Z232.M54C37 1961. Gift of Daniel and Mary Jane Woodward.

Kobayashi Kiyochika

This is a selection of satirical portraits by the Meiji printmaker Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1916). Although the complete text has not yet been translated, the work reflects the political cartooning Kiyochika created for the journal Marumaru Chinbun from 1882 to 1883. There is a Western feel to the work, the influence of the English cartoonist Charles Wirgman (1832-1891), with whom he studied. Kiyochika's dependence on commissions for book and magazine illustration ended in 1894 with a spectacular series of 70 triptychs depicting scenes from the Sino-Japanese War, after which he turned to painting as an artistic medium. Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

For information in English, read Henry Smith, Kiyochika: Artist of Meiji Japan (1988). Marquand Library NE1310.K85 S62.

The Pantograph

Christoph Scheiner (1575-1650), Christophori Scheiner, e Societate Iesu Germano-Sueui, Pantographice, seu, Ars delineandi res quaslibet per parallelogrammum lineare seu cauum, mechanicum, mobile (Romae: Ex typographia Ludouici Grignani, 1631). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-2933N

If you want to enlarge one of these images, you can just click on the thumbnail and a larger image will appear. In the seventeenth century, for the first time, artists had a device, called the pantograph, to help them mechanically copy a design on an enlarged or reduced scale.

Christopher Scheiner, a German Jesuit, was responsible for designing and building the first pantograph in 1603. An illustration of the device can be seen in his 1630 book, Rosa ursina Sive Sol, along with other instruments he invented including a refracting telescope. The following year, Scheiner published a manual on the construction and use of the device, entitled Pantographice, seen here.

There are several types of pantographs, each consisting of parallel and intersecting rods. Scheiner’s frontispiece engraving depicts it being used both horizontal and vertical. To make your own pantograph, see

Mikhail Magaril

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), The Diary of a Madman. Translation of Zapiski sumasshedshego by Constance Garnett (1862-1946); illustrated by Mikhail Magaril (New York: Summer Garden Editions, 1998). Edition of 100 copies. Graphic Arts division, GAX 2008- in process.

This edition of Gogol’s classic was designed, printed, and bound under the direction of the Russian-American artist Mikhail Magaril and published under his own imprint, Summer Garden Editions. The drypoint plates were printed with masterprinter Kathy Caraccio and the letterpress at the Brooklyn studio of Peter Kruty.

“Upon arriving in New York,” wrote Magaril, “I was connected to the Center for Book Arts, where I continued to work as an apprentice for seven years. Though I had a master’s degree from the Moscow Graphic Art School, I realized that I still had a lot to learn, especially in terms of physically making a book, including how to set type, print it, and make a binding. …I believe it is preferable … to make everything by hand. The work of a book artist can be compared to the work of an actor. The actor is constantly haunted by each new role he accepts. The same is true of a book artist.”

Princeton is fortunate to own seven of Magaril’s books, including his first illustrated book: Hindrance by Daniel Kharms. Produced in a limited edition of 20 copies, the printed and collaged pages were hand-sewn by Magaril into a coptic binding with two carved woodblocks for its cover.

Kharms, Daniil (1905-1942), Hindrance. Translated by Julie Magaril; illustrated by Mikhail Magaril (New York: Summer Garden Editions, 1998). Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

A Dancing Jaguar and Mayan Spells

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Ámbar Past with Sara Miranda and Tom Slingsby [text in English]; Maria Tzu, Rominka Vet and Maruch Méndes Péres [text in Tzotzil, a Mayan dialect still spoken], Bolom Chon / The Dancing Jaguar (San Cristóbal de Las Casas, México: Taller Leñateros, 2007). Copy 42 of 99, signed by the artists. Graphic Arts division GAX 2008- in process

The two books in this posting are both published by Taller Leñateros, an indigenous book and paper cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico that has been creating handcrafted books for over 30 years.

Bolom Chon features the music and art of the Tzotzil Indians. The covers are made from cardboard boxes mixed with coffee and printed on an 1895 letterpress. The endpapers of the book are made from agave fiber and decorated like the tiger costumes of Tzotzil ritual dancers. The center fold features a pop-up jaguar. In addition, “The cover was stepped on by the Bolom Chon [dancing jaguar] so its footprints remained as a testimony of its passing through the world.”

To see the pop-up Jaguar in action and hear the song, go to:

Taller Leñateros is the only publishing house in Mexico run by Mayan artists. Founded in 1975 by poet Ambar Past, the Workshop has produced the first books to be written, illustrated and bound (in paper of their own making) by Mayan people in over 400 years.

Ámbar Past, Portable Mayan Altar: Pocket Books of Mayan Spells / Conjuros y ebriedades (San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico: Taller Leñateros, 2007). Graphic Arts GAX 2008- in process

Another item from the Taller Leñateros is a set of miniature books of Mayan spells, including a hex to kill the unfaithful man by Tonik Nibak, Mayan love charms by Petra Hernández, and magic for a long life by Manwela Kokoroch.

These texts, in three hand-sewn volumes, are housed in a hut-shaped cardboard case opens to form an altar with two side panels. Along with the three books the authors provide a pot-shaped incense burner, two animal figure candle holders, and a plastic sleeve with 12 candles.

"Prometheus Bound" Illustrated with Fire

Aeschylus. Prometheus Bound. Translated from the Greek by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), illustrated by Russell Maret (New York: Russell Maret, 2007). Copy number 5 of 50, signed by the artist. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2007-0067F

The Greek drama, Prometheus Bound, is thought to have been written by Aeschylus around 430 B.C.E. It is a tragedy, based on the myth of Prometheus, who was punished by Zeus for giving fire to humankind.

Henry David Thoreau was only 25 years old when he undertook a modern translation of the play for the January 1843 issue of the Dial magazine. In preparing a 21st-century edition of Thoreau’s text, Russell Maret experimented with drawings made from smoke rising directly into white paper. Not only did it produce beautiful images but the drawings were emblematic of Prometheus’ dramatic theme.

The result is a book printed letterpress in three colors from photopolymer plates using Fred Smeijers’ Quadraat type for the text and an original “Promethean” alphabet by Maret on the title page. Each copy has one original smoke drawing as a frontispiece. The edition is bound by Judith Ivry in quarter goatskin and paper over boards with a second smoke drawing on each cover.

For the earliest edition in RBSC, see Aeschylus. Aischylou Tragōdiai hex: Promētheus desmōtēs. Hepta epi Thēbais. Persai. Agamemnōn. Eumenides. Hiketides = Aeschyli Tragoediae sex (Venetiis: In aedibus Aldi et Andreae soceri, 1518 mense Februario) (ExKa) Special 1518 Aeschylus

Li He, the Poet-Ghost

Tyson, Ian. Ghost. Poetry by Li He, translated by John D. Frodsham (San Diego: Brighton Press, 2005). Copy 26 of 30. Graphic Arts (GAX) Oversize 2007-0701Q

The Chinese writer Li He, nicknamed the poet-ghost, lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). He began to write at the age of seven. Each morning Li He would go for a ride on his horse, jotting down thoughts or sentenses as they came to him. These tiny strips of paper would be thrown into a bag and later that night, used as the material for his poetry.

British artist Ian Tyson was inspired by Li He’s method of composition. He created this artist’s book made of unbound printed sheets of poetry, housed in a cloth-covered wrapper. Each volume comes in a tray case with a relief sculpture mounted on top.

Typographic design by Karel Teige

Seifert, Jaroslav, (1901-1986) Na vlnách TSF: poesie (Praha-Bubeneč : Nakl. V. Petra, 1925) Typography and cover design by Karel Teige (1900-1951). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX), NC139.T44 N3 1925

Karel Teige was a graphic designer and architectural theorist. His innovative designs during the years before World War II, revolutionized both commercial and artistic book production in Czechoslovakia. Together with the Czech poet Seifert, Teige founded the 1920s Prague-based avant-garde group Devetsil (taken from the word for a tough weed).

Teige began his career as a painter but when he designed the first cover of a Devetsil publication, he gave up painting for graphic design. Influenced by many of the DaDa artists, such as Man Ray, Teige often used photomontage in his covers.

Na vlnách TSF can be translated On the Waves of T(élégraphie) S(ans) F(il), or On the Air. This was the fourth collection of poetry issued by Seifert and one of many project on which he collaborated with Teige.

In 1984, Jaroslav Seifert was the first Czech to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. “Endowed with freshness, sensuality, and rich inventiveness,” the Nobel Committee stated, Seifert’s poetry “provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man… . He conjures up another world than that of tyranny and desolation — a world that exists both here and now … one that exists in our dreams and our will and our art.”

Listen to one of Seifert’s poems at:

Winslow Homer's Eventful History of Three Little Mice

Author unknown. Eventful History of Three Little Mice and How They Became Blind (Boston: E. O. Libby & Co., [1858]) Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 848(a)

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was twenty-six before he seriously took up painting and nearly forty before he depended on it for a living. How did he pay the rent before this? His early career was as an illustrator, designing more than 160 illustrations for books and literary journals.

Homer apprenticed with the Boston lithographer, John Henry Bufford, until his twenty-first birthday. For the next two years, working independently, he designed at least forty-two small drawings for thirteen different books, all juveniles. One of these was the Eventful History of Three Little Mice. Homer created seventeen illustrations for the book, which was released in April 1858, priced at 12 ½ cents as printed or double that if the illustrations were hand-colored.This project was something of a rip-off of the Remarkable History of Five Little Pigs, engraved by the Dalziel Brothers.

Homer’s frontispiece shows the climax of the story, the cutting of the mice’s tails—talk about giving away the ending. He did not draw the cover, which may explain the difference in the title.

This is how the production was often handled: For each drawing, a blank wood block was sent to Homer’s studio. The block usually consisted of a number of closely fitted pieces of boxwood bolted together. Homer drew directly on the block’s whitened surface and returned it to the publisher (later he was allowed to submit a drawing on paper). The master wood engraver cut the lines that ran across the joints. Then, the blocks were separated and assistants would engrave the different parts of the design. The blocks were then reassembled and electrotyped, to create a metal plate for printing.

If you are interested in Homer’s career as a book illustrator, take a look at: David Tatham, Winslow Homer and the Illustrated Book (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1992) Graphic Arts NC975.5.H65 T38 1992

A Paper Museum

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), Muscarum scarabeorum, uermiumque uarie figure & formae / omnes primo ad uiuum coloribus depictæ & ex collectione Arundelian a Wenceslao Hollar aqua forti æri insculptæ, Antuerpiæ, anno, 1646. [Antwerp, Belgium: s.n., 1646]. Gift of Elmer Adler. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-3713N

Named Václav but called Wenceslaus when living in London, Hollar was a Czech printmaker who published his first book etchings in 1635. He traveled with the renowned art collector Thomas Howard, the Earl of Arundel, who finally settle in London.

Hollar assignment was to etch copies of each individual item in Arundel’s collection, in an attempt to create a visual inventory or a paper museum. He never finished, although Muscarum scarabeorum … includes some of Arundel’s massive collection.

Thomas Sprat (1635-1713), The History of the Royal-Society of London, for the Improving of Natural Knowledge (London: Printed by T. R. for J. Martyn … and J. Allestry … printers to the Royal Society, 1667). Frontispiece etched by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) after design by John Evelyn (1620-1706). Gift of Elmer Adler, signed by Albert Einstein. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-3215N

When Lord Arundel left England in 1642, and Hollar passed into the service of the Duke of York, working alongside other royalist artists, such as Inigo Jones. Over his lifetime, Hollar created nearly 3,000 etchings. He was one of the most skilled printmakers of his time, despite being almost blind in one eye.

The following anecdote is difficult to prove but fun to repeat. Holland struggled all his life to make a living, charging four pence an hour for his work (measuring his time with a sandglass). As he was dying, his last recorded words were a request to the bailiffs that they would not carry away the bed until he was entirely dead.

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), Le triomphe de la Mort / gravé d’apres les desseins de Holbein par W. Hollar ([London: s.n., 1790]) The 32 plates are interleaved with the text Explication des sujets de triomphe de la Mort de Jean Holbein. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2006-2648N

To see more of Hollar’s work, see

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