19th Century Prints, American Views, Chromolithograph, Collage, Contemporary, Landscapes, Lithograph, Past/Present, Prints, Transfer print

Past/Present: Fall

Today is the first day of Fall, the autumnal equinox, “one of the two periods of the year when the sun crosses the equator and the days and nights are in equal length all over the earth” as explained by this article.  To celebrate this shift in seasons, we have a new Past/Present for you- two artists’ representations of autumn landscapes. The first is a 19th century depiction of the Starrucca Valley, located in Pennsylvania near Lanesboro. One of the few prints produced after a painting by Hudson River School artist Jasper Cropsey, this image was printed exclusively for members of the Crosby Opera House Art Association. We’ve paired it with a hand-colored transfer print and collage by contemporary printmaker Takayo Noda. We hope you enjoy these colorful celebrations of Fall!

Image on the top: American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R. Road. By Jasper Cropsey. Published by T. Sinclair’s Chromo Lith., Philadelphia. Lithographed by William Dresser. Chromolithograph, undated, c. 1870s. Image size 15 1/2 x 26 5/8″ (394 x 677 mm). LINK.

Image on the bottom : Autumn Day. By Takayo Noda. Transfer print, hand-colored, 2013. Three dimensional collage in areas. Signed, titled and inscribed “1/1.” Image size 6 7/8 x 9 5/8″ (175 x 243 mm). LINK.

American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R. Road. LINK.

American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R. Road. LINK.

Autumn Day. LINK.

Autumn Day. LINK.


18th Century Prints, Aquatint, Color etching, Contemporary, Copperplate, Engraving, Etching, Past/Present, Prints

Past/Present: Palaces

past present logo copyToday we are sharing two architecture prints. The oldest is from one of the finest architectural works of the German baroque period, Paul Decker’s Fürstliche Baumeister, oder Architectura Civilis. The work was published in Augsburg, Germany by Peter Detleffsen in 1711, and featured plates engraved by several master engravers of the time, including Bodenehr, Englebrecht, Probst and Kraus. They illustrate Decker’s designs for royal palaces and country houses, with details of their interior decoration, gateways, and gardens. In contrast to other architectural texts from the same period which focused heavily on theory and history, none of Decker’s plates were accompanied with text or elaborate descriptions. Rather, his work in Fürstliche Baumeister was created solely with the aristocratic architectural patrons of Central Europe in mind, in hopes to influence and inspire them while they built their palaces and grand estates.

The contemporary print is by Linda Adato, a master of color intaglio. The subject matter of her prints varies from the architecture of New York City, to the chambers and ancient ruins of Europe, to her own backyard. She “enjoy[s] exploring the geometry of the structures in these images and capturing the light at a certain moment or time of day,” always drawing attention to the balance between light and dark, hidden and seen. Adato’s work is distinctive for its delicate synthesis of composition, subtle use of color, and classical elegance. She has been making color etchings for over twenty-five years and is exceptionally skilled at “a la poupee”,  a one plate method of color printing where the colors are inked and wiped on the plate prior to printing.

Image on Top: Erste Seite der Furstle Hoff Capelle, mit dem Herrfchafftle Stuhl. By Paul Decker. Copper engraving, 1711-1716. Published by Peter Detleffsen. Image size 14 3/4 x 14 7/8″. LINK.

Image on Bottom: The Palace. By Linda Adato. Color etching with aquatint and soft ground, 1993. Edition 19/75. Image size 23 3/4 x 15 3/4″. LINK. 

Erste   Seite der Furstle Hoff Capelle, mit dem Herrfchafftle Stuhl. By Paul Decker.

Erste Seite der Furstle Hoff Capelle, mit dem Herrfchafftle Stuhl. By Paul Decker. LINK.

The Palace. By Linda Adato. LINK.

The Palace. By Linda Adato. LINK.

18th Century Prints, Engraving, Past/Present, Portraits, Prints

Past/Present: Benjamin Franklin Portraits

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From 1776 to 1785, Benjamin Franklin served as the first American ambassador to France. The French were very taken with Franklin and his New World “charm”; the enthused populace sustained a healthy market of printed and painted versions of his visage. Today, we share two small portraits of Franklin that circulated throughout France. This earlier print was one of the first available French images of Franklin. Publication of this print was first announced in the “Journal de Paris” of June 16, 1777. In this bust-length portrait, Franklin is depicted facing right, with Canadian fur-trapper hat, a simple cloth suit, and round spectacles.  Written accounts of Franklin’s time in Paris comment on Franklin’s plain manner of dressing, and the favorable impression it made on the French.

The second image, published circa 1780, is also a bust portrait of Benjamin Franklin, set in an oval frame. This is a variation of the Cochin portrait, altered to accord with the subject’s new ambassadorial dignity. Franklin is now depicted without spectacles, in a fur-lined satin dressing gown and a lace frilled shirt. The fur-trapper hat has been replaced with a more dignified and stylish cap, lightly trimmed with fur.

Image on Top:  Benjamin Franklin. Ne a Boston, dans la nouvelle Angleterre le 17 Janvier 1706. By Charles-Nicolas Cochin. Engraving, 1777. Engraved by Augustin de Saint Aubin. Image size 7 1/2 x 5 1/4″. LINK.

Image on Bottom: Benjamin Franklin. Ne a Boston dans la Nouvelle Angleterre, le 17 Janvier 1706. By Claude Louis Desrais. Engraving, c. 1780. Engraved by Pierre Adrien Le Beau. Image size 6 3/8 x 4 1/4″. LINK.



19th Century Prints, Copperplate, Engraving, Past/Present, Portraits, Prints, Stipple

Past/Present: Calligraphic Memorials

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Today we are sharing a Past/Present post of engraved memorials to Washington. After Washington’s death in 1799, many engravers and publishers rushed to create prints of Washington’s likeness for the grieving populace. Washington “had played such a central role in the extraordinary events of a quarter century that his death was an event of great emotional consequence in America, affecting the very identity of the nation… In honoring Washington the nation was honoring its own history” (Wick, 70). The memorial prints served to remember Washington for his accomplishments, great vision, and character, and to urge the populace to emulate the traits of their lost leader. The engravers surrounded their portraits with poems, allegorical elements, and symbols of the man’s greatness as well as the rich imagery found in mourning art- the obelisk, urn, angels, and weeping figures. The prints shown in today’s post are beautifully ornate calligraphic portraits of the lost leader.

The earlier print is a calligraphic copper engraving, designed, written, and published by Benjamin O. Tyler, professor of penmanship, New York, 1817. It was engraved by Peter Maverick, a copper and steel engraver based in Newark. The print has a stipple oval portrait of Washington in center of an elegiac poem, angels, and masonic symbols of a shining sun and book held open by a square and compass. Above the portrait, two ovals encompass the words: ‘Tho’ shrin’d in dust, great WASHINGTON now lies, The Memory of his Deeds shall ever bloom; Twin’d with proud Laurels, shall the Olive rise, And wave unfading o’er his Honor’d Tomb.” and “To him ye Nations yield eternal FAME, First on th’ Heroic list enroll his Name; High on th’ ensculptur’d marble let him stand, The undaunted Hero of his native land.”  Below his portrait reads: “Gen. George Washington departed this life Decr. 14th. 1799 AE 67. And the tears of a NATION watered his grave.

The second print is calligraphic engraving by John I. Donlevy, intaglio-chromographic and electrographic engraver. Originally issued by Donlevy in 1838, this is a second state published c. 1870. Within an elaborate oval penmanship border is a stipple-engraved portrait of Washington. The portrait is based on Stuart’s Athenaeum painting, with the bust done in swirls.  The lettering is executed in the typical variety of styles with cursive flourishes, shadows, italics, and blackletter. Above the portraits is an engraved eagle, with laurel and the American flag in its beak and arrows clutched in its talons. 

Image on the Top: Eulogium Sacred to the Memory of the Illustrious George Washington, Columbia’s Great and Successful Son: Honored Be His Name. By Benjamin O. Tyler. Published by Benjamin O. Tyler, New York. Engraved by Peter Maverick. Line and stipple copper engraving, 1817 . Image size 16 1/4 x 20 1/2″  plus margins. LINK.

Image on the Bottom: Sacred to the Memory of the Illustrious Champion of Liberty, General George Washington; First President of the United States of America. By John I. Donlevy. Published by John I. Donlevy. Calligraphic and stipple engraving, 1838, (c.1870). Platemark 16 1/2 x 13 7/8″. LINK.



19th Century Prints, Botanical, Color Woodcut, Early 20th Century, Lithograph, Past/Present, Prints, Woodcut

Past/Present: Honeysuckle

past present logo copyToday we are happy to share a new Past/Present post, featuring two stunning honeysuckle prints. The older print is a scarce lithograph, with original hand color, from “Flora’s Dictionary,” by Mrs. E.W. Wirt of Virginia.  With a publication date of 1837, Mrs. Wirt’s book is one of the earliest colored botanical works published in America.  Rather than depicting a single flower, each plate shows a carefully selected grouping.  As Bennett notes, “The arrangements of flowers are beautifully balanced and the coloring is brilliant.”  (Bennett, “American Color Plate Books, 115).

The woodcut is by English woodcut artist Mayel Allington Royds (1874-1941). Royds grew up in Liverpool and turned down a scholarship at age of fifteen to the Royal Academy of London, in order to attend the Slade School of Art and study under the formidable Henry Tonks. After an apprenticeship in Paris working in the studio of Walter Sickert, Royds accepted a teaching post at the Havergal College in Toronto. She later returned to the UK to teach at the Edinburgh College of Art where she met three people integral to her artistic development and life: Samuel Peploe, a Scottish post-impressionist painter highly regarded for his mastery of color, Frank Morley Fletcher, under whose influence she took up Japanese color woodcuts, and her future husband, Scottish etcher E. S. Lumsden.

Together Lumsen and Royds traveled to Tibet and India, their experiences serving as inspiration for her later woodcuts, both in design and in the use of saturated, rich color. The scenes she created of India from 1920 to 1930s are some of her more renowned work. From 1930 to 1933, Royds created a series of flower prints, which utilized her bold color work and Japanese woodblock technique. These stunning compositions, including Honeysuckle, are now part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery of Scotland. Royds was a regular contributor to the Society of Scottish Artists, the Society of Artist Printers, and the Graver Printers in Colour, exhibited her work in Scotland, Manchester, and further abroad.

Hope you enjoy these two prints!

Image on the left: Honeysuckle, Coral Honeysuckle, Wild Honeysuckle, Hop. Plate XXIV.  From “Flora’s Dictionary,” by Mrs. E.W. Wirt of Virginia. Embellished by Mrs. Anna Smith. Published by Fielding Lucas, Jr., Baltimore. Lithograph, original hand color, 1837. Image size (vignette) 7 x 5″ (175 x 130 mm).

Image on the rightHoneysuckle. By Mabel A. Royds. Woodcut printed in color, 1935-38. Edition unknown. Image size 8 x 6 /12″ (203 x 165 mm).