May 2012 Archives

An Umbrella Plane


Model for an “Umbrella Plane,” ca. 1910. Wood, wire, and varnished silk. Housed in a specially made fibre-board box. Museum objects.

Millionaire Harold Fowler McCormick (1872-1941) Princeton Class of 1896, was an aeronautics enthusiast and supporter of the work of the New York inventor William S. Romme (born 1867). Romme designed eleven unique airplanes including a circular plane, which became known as the McCormick-Romme cycloplane or “umbrella plane.”

Together with John D. Rockefeller, Jr., McCormick funded the research and construction of the umbrella plane, developed under the supervision of a twenty-year-old engineer named Chance Vought (1890-1930). A model of this aircraft hung in his Aviation room on 675 Rush Street in Chicago for many years, until the estate with donated to Princeton by one of McCormick’s step-sons Alexander Stillman.

“One of the first ultra-low aspect ratio designs was the McCormick Romme ‘Umbrella plane,’ which first flew on March 11, 1910. Designed by 20-year-old Chance Vought, it had a circular wing that was absolutely devoid of camber. Nicknamed the ‘Doughnut,’ the aircraft not only got airborne but also made controlled flights around its home field at Cicero, 111. About that same time in Britain, Lee Richard built a circular-wing monoplane with a conventional two-place fuselage reaching across the gap in the center. (A version of this aircraft flew in the great film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.) Walter J. Boyne, “Aerial Oddities,” Aviation History 16. 4 (Mar 2006): 18, 20.


So you want to meddle with the press!


Honoré Daumier (1808-1879), Ah! tu veux te frotter à la presse!! (Ah! So you want to meddle with the press!), 3 octobre 1833. Lithograph. Published in La Caricature, no. 152. GC003 Honoré Daumier Collection

Daumier’s caricature of Louis-Philippe I (1773-1850) is signed lower left “ Becquet,rue Furstemberg N°6” (the lithographer) and lower right “chez Aubert, galerie véro dodat.” This is Charles Philipon’s brother-in-law Gabriel Aubert, who was responsible for the distribution and sale of the print. Individuals who could not afford either the print or a magazine subscription, would gather in front of Galerie Véro-Dodat where Daumier’s prints were hung in the window as soon as they were dry.

The Daumier Register,, describes the scene as a caricature of King Louis-Philippe, “being pressurized even by the conservative journalists. It seems that also the right-wing paper Le National had to fear intensified censorship. The risk of a similarly vehement reaction like under Charles X in 1830, which was leading towards revolution, increased constantly. He lost his citizen’s umbrella in the process. The entire print is an allusion to the power of the press.”

“The man handling the press is not necessarily a printer, but most likely one of the ‘news-boys’ who were the real masters of the street at this time. They yelled out the titles of their papers, which were usually appeals of revolt. The police arrested them, but while loudly protesting against the oppression of which they were a victim, these ‘heralds of upheaval’ allowed themselves to be taken without any resistance, knowing quite well that the courts would acquit them. The continuing campaign of abuse against the King, the scarcely veiled incitements to murder, the poverty of a large proportion of the people and the hard apprenticeship of democracy created a strange volatile state of mind.”

Magic Colored Pictures

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mother g4.jpgFlap open (above)

and flap closed (left)

Mother Goose, The Old Fashioned Mother Goose’ Melodies, Complete: with Magic Colored Pictures ([New York]: G.W. Carleton & Co.; Donaldson Brothers, designers & printers, MDCCCLXXIX [1879]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2005-0660N

Before the Cotsen children’s literature collection came to Princeton, Elmer Adler collected a few specifically graphic books of juvenilia. This metamorphic (or transformation) picture book contains chromolithographed illustrations with foldout flaps. The plates are signed “W.L.S.” which refers to the Virginia-born illustrator and writer William Ludwell Sheppard (1833-1912) who worked for several of the large publishing houses such as Donaldson Brothers.

As a young man, Sheppard served in the Richmond Howitzers artillery and during the American civil war, he was a member of the Topographical Engineers Department of the Army of Northern Virginia. If you go to Richmond today, you can see three monuments he designed to honor the Confederate soldiers.

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The Grammar of Color

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Unbalanced Color (left) and Balanced Color (right)

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Thomas Maitland Cleland (1880-1964), A Grammar of Color: Arrangements of Strathmore Papers in a Variety of Printed Color Combinations According to the Munsell Color System, with an introduction by Professor A.H. Munsell (Mittineague, Mass.: Strathmore Paper Co., 1921). Two plates engraved by Rudolph Ruzicka and 19 folding color-printed specimens demonstrating color combinations. Gift of Elmer Adler (1884-1962). Graphic Arts GAX Oversize QC495 .C545 1921q.

Following World War I, Thomas Cleland wrote a practical manual of color, funded and published by the Strathmore Paper Company. He outlines the almost endless options, good and bad, of printing various colored inks onto colored papers. Readers are encouraged to experiment with using various samples included at the back of the volume. Cleland went on to practice his own lessons, as art director of Fortune Magazine.

In his introduction, color theorist A.H. Munsell writes, “With white at the North pole and black at the South pole; and its axis between these points a measured scale of grays, we have a decimal neutral scale which painters call Value. The middle point of this axis must be a middle gray, and a plane passing through to the equator must contain colors of middle value. If, therefore, the equator be spread with a color circle … we have the equator as a decimal scale of hues merging gradually from one to the next and returning upon itself….”

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“Each of these hues is supposed to grow lighter until it merges into the North pole at white, and darker similarly to black, and these are called the values (light) of color. They may also be imagined as passing inward until they disappear in the gray axis. Should there be still stronger colors, they will continue upon the same radii outside the sphere. These we call the chromas (strength) of color.”

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Fishing on a Holiday Weekend


Attributed to John L. Petrie, Untitled [Trout on Rock, Beside Fishing Pole], 1890s. Oil on canvas. GC164 Kienbusch Angling Collection. Gift of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, Class of 1906.

We believe this painting was a study for William C. Harris’s The Fishes of North America that are Caught on Hook and Line, which was announced with much anticipation by The New York Times on October 8, 1893.


“This work, published in quarters, contains plates of fish, colored as in life and of handsome size, with appropriate text. The excellence of these plates is at once discernible. Mr. Harris seems to have been determined to select of the finest specimens of fish he could find, and, being an angler of distinction, he has caught all the fish and used them as models for his illustrations.”

” …Instantly, before the evanescent hues of the fish had faded, Mr. Harris, with his artist, recorded all the colors. Lovers of angling who study natural history will find in this publication not only amusement but instruction.”

“It can be readily understood that a work of this character, where so much depends on illustrations, is one that presents particular difficulties. As there are to be eighty colored plates it can be seen how ambitious is the work and how costly must be its manufacture. In some respects Mr. Harris’s work may take rank with Audubon’s on birds. He has been fortunate in interesting many representative anglers all over the country, and it is believed that to-day the success of the venture is assured.”

Harris’s book was published in parts from 1895 to 1898 with chromolithographic plates by John L. Petrie, who accompanied him throughout the United States. The author writes in his preface, “Mr. John L. Petrie, the artist, has been my steadfast companion during this protracted but pleasant task. He has painted the portraits of each fish represented … from living specimens caught on my own rod, with the exception of the Pacific Salmons, which were taken alive in traps.”

Get Rid of the Words


Do words get in the way of your enjoyment of images?

Swiss Miss (a design blog and studio run by Tina Roth Eisenberg) just announced the Wordless Web: “a simple browser plug-in that makes the words on any site invisible, so the only thing left to see are the pictures. No text means no context. You’re free to enjoy the images in their purest form, without names, labels, definitions, or purpose. File this under playful and not necessarily all that useful. Project by Ji Lee / Coding by Cory Forsyth.”

CRI_67714.jpg(c) MoMA
This is not unlike the 1969 piece in which Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) removed the words to Un Coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard ( A Cast of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance) by Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898).

Tennyson's motto "Y Gwir yn erbyn y byd"

tennyson bust.jpgPostridge,Tennyson, 1900. Carved marble. Museum Objects Sculpture Collection

The poet laureate Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809-1892), was sixty years old before his friend, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) started photographing him. In all, Tennyson sat for 19 portraits including the one on the right.

The portrait bust we hold in Firestone Library [above] appears to date from this period. Tennyson is even wearing the monk’s robe Cameron used when she dressed up her sitters.

More likely the sculptor (signed in stone “Postridge”) simply used a Cameron photograph as the basis for his portrait bust, which was completed in 1900.

tennysonkeep.jpgJulia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), Alfred Tennyson, albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1869. Graphic Arts GAX 2011-00455

According to Tennyson’s son, Hallam Tennyson, around the same time Cameron was immortalizing his father, a letter arrived from the Tennyson Society of Philadelphia. The Society was asking permission to use the poet’s name and to give their organization a motto.

Tennyson replied, “You have done me honour in associating my name with your institution, and you have my hearty good wishes for its success. Will the following Welsh motto be of any service to you? I have it in encaustic tiles on the pavement of my entrance hall: “Y Gwir yn erbyn y byd” (The truth against the world). A very old British apophthegm, and I think a noble one, and which may serve your purpose either in Welsh or English.” —Alfred Lord Tennyson: a Memoir By His Son (1897)

Timothy C. Ely

Timothy C. Ely, Alpha Deep ([New York?: T. Ely, 1991]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize N7433.4.E49 A47 1991q

Graphic Arts is fortunate to own one of Tim Ely’s unique manuscript books, written in his own language and beautifully hand bound in covers of his own design and construction.

The letterforms that Ely uses are as much a part of the visual imagery as the pictures. He calls the font “cribriform.” When I searched this on Google, a medical dictionary popped up with the definition “Perforated like a sieve.” The artist writes, “I liked the idea that there were these vessels that could hold meaning, and that they had holes.

Collectors stand in line, waiting for Ely to finish these one-of-a-kind artists’ books, which he began making in 1971. Ely trained as a designer and printmaker. He has an MFA from the University of Washington and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study book binding in Japan, Italy, and England.

Ely writes visual stories, not to be confused with graphic novels. His narratives are anything but linear. “I like the idea of making an art that forces you to confront the mystery,” Ely says. “No matter how you try to deal with it, there is no solution.”

His website lists his influences as, “comic books, Steam Punk design and the study of history, religion, and sociological and psychological phenomena. The works often include soil, sand, and other detritus from pertinent sites around the globe, metals, pigments, textiles, inks, resins, and wax.”

Graphic Arts also owns Daniel Berrigan, Lost & Found, illustrated by Timothy Ely ([Montclair, N.J.]: Caliban Press, 1989).Copy no. 86 of 125. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-3443N

S. Gallus panem porrigit urso


Graphic Arts holds a small collection of sample bindings and sewing structures, which includes this facsimile of a Carolingian carved ivory book cover.

“According to a monastic writer at St Gall, the ivories with the Virgin and St Gall were carved by the monk Tuotilo, whose artistic interests apparently included book illumination and music. The beautifully carved vines, with a lion attacking a bull, almost exactly reproduce another ivory in the St Gall collection, and a recent book suggests that both ivories came to St. Gall from the court of Charlemagne, but with one pair remaining blank until carved by Tuotilo.”—Lawrence Nees, Early Medieval Art (2002) Marquand N5970 .N44 2002

James Midgley Clark points out that the most interesting items at the St Gall Abbey in Switzerland are the ivory tablets attributed to Tuotilo. “They form the cover of the famous Evangelium Longum. Both tablets are enclosed in a frame of gilded silver with precious stones. … The second tablet depicts a fight between animals, surrounded by foliage, the assumption of the Virgin Mary, two scenes from the life of St Gall with the inscription: S. Gallus panem porrigit urso [St Gall gives bread to the bear].”

“There is a striking resemblance between the decorative foliage of this tablet and the designs on a small ivory relief which serves as the cover of Codex No. 60. The subject depicted here is lions and panthers attacking a bull and a hind. The upper cover consists of skillfully carved but plain rosettes. That Tuotilo was a historical personage is an indisputable fact; after his death he was reversed as a saint and a chapel in the Abbey Church was named after him, from which we may conclude that he was one of the outstanding personalities of his day.” —The Abbey of St Gall as a Centre of Literature and Art (1926). (F) DQ549.4 .C6 1926

To see a digital image of the original, see:


Wooden American Indian Maiden


Indian Maiden or [slang] Cigar Store Indian, no date [1800s]. Hand-painted, carved wood. Western Americana Collection, transferred from Nassau Hall October 1957. Provenance unknown. Ex 4872.

Alfred Bush, former curator of Western Americana writes, “I realize I really don’t know anything about that fine Indian lass. I always assumed she came from Philip Rollins (Philip Ashton Rollins, Class of 1889 and chairman of the Friends of Princeton University Library) but I really don’t know.”

“For years she greeted visitors to Western Americana when it was in the old faculty lounge on the third floor (with the Cigar printing on the base covered so as not to offend the many Indian students who were regular visitors back then). But, as you know, there were several artifacts that came with the collection.”

No images of Nassau Hall have been found that include this figure.

Bound by Christine Hamilton

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Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), The Drawings and Engravings of William Blake (London: The Studio, Limited, 1922). Gift of Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0730Q

When the bibliophile Sinclair Hamilton died in 1978, he left a group of 150 rare books to the Princeton University library. Forty-nine of these were bound by his wife, Christine Hamilton (died 1968) who studied bookbinding under Eleanor van Sweringen in New York and Charles Pagnier in Paris.

“For many years she headed the Guild of Book Workers in New York. Books bound by her were exhibited at the World’s Fair in San Francisco in 1939, at the exhibition at the Grolier Club in 1947, at the Princeton Exhibition in 1951, and on many other occasions. An exhibition devoted entirely to her work was held at the Argent Galleries … in 1949.”—Library Chronicle Autumn 1978

Here are a few more examples.

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Gordon Christian Aymar (born 1893), Bird Flight ([S.l.]: Dodd, Mead, 1935). Gift of Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2006-2574N

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Woldemar von Seiditz (1850-1922), A History of Japanese Colour-Prints (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1910). Gift of Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906. GAX 2012- in process

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Henry Adams (1838-1918), Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925). Gift of Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0757Q

A Devil or Satyr by William Blake

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William Blake (1757-1827), A Squatted Devil with Young Horns, ca. 1810. Pencil on paper. Butlin no. 596. Robert H. Taylor art collection.

This pencil drawing by William Blake was never published and in fact, it hasn’t yet been identified as a study for any particular book or print or painting. Blake wrote about many devils but the word satyr does not appear in any of Blake’s poetry (which we can check thanks to the searchable Blake archive at the University of Virginia).

However, Blake did engrave two satyrs in the print he made after William Hogarth’s painting Beggar’s Opera. In Hogarth’s design the stage is framed with a crouching satyr on either side and according to the Tate records, the original frame also had two satyrs carved into the sides.

Princeton’s drawing is mentioned twice in Blake literature. Butlin writes, “The title is taken from Rossetti, who continues, ‘The face is somewhat of the Satyr type. Ordinarily good.’ Certainly, a satyr rather than a devil seems to be intended in this fairly highly finished figure. The background is slightly indicated to suggest rocks.” (Martin Butlin, The Paintings and Drawings of William Blake (EX N6797.B57B87Q)).

William Rossetti is quoted from p. 251 in Alexander Gilchrist (1828-1861), Life of William Blake, “Pictor ignotus”. With selections from his poems and other writings … (London, Cambridge: Macmillan and Co., 1863). Rare Books (Ex) 3631.3.692.

Benfolly by Janice Biala


Janice Biala (1904-2000), Benfolly, no date [1930s]. Oil on canvas.
Museum object collection GA 2006.02658

In 1913, Schenehaia Tworkovska (1903-2000) and her older brother Yakov (1900-1982) immigrated to the United States from Biala, Poland. She took the name Janice, he became Jack, and they anglicized the family name to Tworkov. Each worked to pay for painting classes at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. To avoid the stigma of being a female artist, Janice painted under the name of her hometown, Biala. Before long, both Janice and Jack were American citizens.

Janice traveled to Paris in 1930 to continue her education in art and there, she met and moved in with the English writer Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939). Ford was the founder of The Transatlantic Review, where he published James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and other friends. Describing their relationship, Janice wrote, “He found a little handful of dust and turned it into a human being.”

Through Ford, she met the poet Allen Tate (1899-1979) and Tate’s wife Caroline Gordon (1895-1981), who worked as Ford’s secretary. The Tates invited Ford and Biala to spend time at their antebellum home on the Cumberland river near Clarksville, Tennessee. Purchased with the help of Tate’s brother Ben, the house was dubbed Ben’s Folly or Benfolly. In the summers it was filled with visiting writers and artists, as seen in Biala’s painting (purchased by Princeton from the Tates’ daughter).

“All of Biala’s paintings seem touched by a tough ingenuousness — never sentimental or naive, but slightly nostalgic in their playful intimacy. Suffusing them is the outlook of a painter who has found what she needs and knows what she wants to do. The results glow with a wondrous candor.” John Goodrich, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” New York Sun, December 13, 2007

See also: Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Provence: from Minstrels to the Machine; illustrations by Biala (Philadelphia; London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1935). Gift of Edward Naumburg. (Ex) 2004-1848N

Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Great Trade Route; with drawings by Biala (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937). (Ex) PR6011.O53 Z99036

Epithalamium by Paul Muldoon


Paul Muldoon, Epithalamium. Designed and illustrated by Debra Weier (Princeton, N.J.: Emanon Press, 2011). Copy 6 of 50. Gift of Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953 in honor of Richard M. Ludwig. Ex 2012-0017Q

Epithalamium, a wedding poem by Pulitzer Prize winning Paul Muldoon, was designed, printed and bound by Debra Weier of Emanon Press. The book was conceived and produced over four years and seven months, and completed in May of 2011. Each of the seven verses claims its own page and is nestled in its own popout, and each popout symbolizes its respective verse through its structure.”—Prospectus inserted.

Additional images can be found at:

Oxford English Dictionary:
Epithalamium, n.: A nuptial song or poem in praise of the bride and bridegroom, and praying for their prosperity.
1595 Spenser (title) Epithalamion.
c1600 Timon (1980) iii. v. 49 Sing vs some sweete Epithalamion.
1607 J. Marston What you Will ii. i, Epythalamiums will I singe.
1653 Cloria & Narcissus I. 81 To sing Epithalamions to our marriage Feasts.
1690 T. Burnet Theory of Earth iv. 168 The 45th psalm‥is an epithalamium to Christ and the Church.
1739 W. Melmoth Fitzosborne Lett. (1763) 339 Give me timely notice of your wedding day, that I may be prepared with my Epithalamium.
1828 T. Carlyle Crit. & Misc. Ess. (1857) I. 163 Epithalamiums, epicediums.
1859 J. C. Hobhouse Italy II. 210 The Epithalamiums of Catullus and of Statius.
1860 G. J. Adler tr. C. C. Fauriel Hist. Provençal Poetry iv. 67 The epithalamia belonged likewise to the popular class of poetry.
2011 P. Muldoon Epithalamium

Geschichte ohne Worte

Frans Masereel (1889-1972), Geschichte ohne Worte: ein Roman in Bildern (Story Without Words: a Novel in Pictures). Afterword by Hermann Hesse. (Wiesbaden: Insel-Verlag, 1952 [first published 1922]). Gift of Seth Fagen. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process


Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was a great admirer of Frans Masereel. In his afterword Hesse writes, “Der Mensch dieser Bilderfolgen, dessen Gestalt und Züge zuweilen denen des Künstlers selbst ähneln, ist der Adam unsrer Zeit; im Gewand des Heute erlebt er das ewig Menschliche, erleidet es, sucht es zu bestehen, erliegt ihm oder überwindet es. Ihn zu verstehen, mit ihm aufzuglühen in leidenschaft, niederzusinken in Verzweiflung, in ihm ans selbst zu erkennen und in seinem Leben das allen Gemeinsame zu verehren; das is die Mahnung dieses Künstlers.”

(The human beings in these picture sequences, whose form and features sometimes resemble those of the artist himself, are the Adam of our time; [Masereel] presents a universal man in contemporary dress, who suffers, struggles to exist, succumbs to life or overcomes it. To understand him, to burn with passion along with him, to sink into his despair, to recognize oneself in him and to admire the universal in his life; this is the reminder of the artist.)
[Feel free to correct my translation]

Playing Pope Joan

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Charles Williams (active 1797-1830), Pope Joan, 1805. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Collection British Caricature GA2012- in process.

During the War of the Third Coalition (1803 to 1806), Great Britain was under constant threat of an invasion by Napoleon I (1769-1821). This is reflected in the game of Pope Joan print drawn by Charles Williams in November 1805.

One of the players asks, “And do you really think, Major, that Bonaparte means to attempt an Invasion? - pray what is your opinion of him.” To which the answer is given, “A knave Ma’am, and that’s a stop.”


Pope Joan was a popular card game played in 18th- and 19th-century England. The staking board used in the game can be seen in this print, with its eight compartments labeled Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Game, Pope (the 9 of diamonds), Matrimony (the king and queen of trump) and Intrigue (the queen and jack of trump). The aim of the game is to run out of cards before anyone else does. For the complete rules, see

Gamblers Given Time on a Treadwheel

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George Cruikshank (1792-1878), Cribbage, Shuffling, Whist, and a Round Game!! 1822. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Collection British Caricature GA2012- in process

This single sheet holds a series of caricatures around the raids held in October 1822 on London gambling houses, in particular around Pall Mall. The Bow Street Runners led by the Chief Magistrate Richard Birnie (1760-1832), seen in the upper right corner, closed a number of gaming houses although they did not stop “the synagogues of Satan” completely.

The gamblers were referred to as the Greeks or the black stockings. One punishment was to spend the day walking a treadmill. According to the Guildhall Library, at “the treadmill at Brixton House of Correction (1821) prisoners did ten minutes on and five minutes off the treadwheel. In some prisons, like Coldbath Fields, the treadwheel drove a flour-mill, but in others it did nothing at all. The work was done under the Silent System.”

See also: The Greeks; a Poem … Dedicated to All Legs! By the Author of the Pigeons, Fashion, &c. (London: J.J. Stockdale, 1817). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1817

Hellén, The Pigeons: Dedicated to All the Flats, and Showing the Artifices, Success and Crimes of Gaming, Gamesters and Gambling Houses … by the author of the Greeks (London: Printed for J.J. Stockdale … 1817). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1817.2

Charles Dunne, Rouge et noir: the Academicians of 1823, or, The Greeks of the Palais Royal, and the Clubs of St. James’s … (London: Lawler and Quick and Stephen Couchman, 1823). Frontispiece by R. Cruikshank. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik R 1823.4

A Royal Card Game

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Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811), The Family Party or Prince Bladduds Man Traps!!
May 11, 1799. Etching with hand coloring. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process

AN00091651_001_l.jpg(c) British Museum

A card game is being played at the home of King George IV (1762-1830), Prince of Wales, who is standing with his hand on the breast of Honor Dutton (born Gubbins, married Ralph Dutton). His younger brother Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany (1763-1827), is sitting with his back to us.

Cruikshank drew at least six caricatures of the two brothers and Honor Dutton. What’s interesting about this one is that a very similar print, titled The Snug Party’s Exit. Or the Farewell to Bath was published on May 6, 1799 by J. Brown of Bath (probably a pseudonym). In less than a week, Cruikshank completed a pirated copy, with the image laterally reversed. This was published in London by Samuel William Fores (1761-1838), a dealer who specialized in playing cards and popular prints.

The print’s title refers to Prince Bladud, a legendary king, who was banished from Athens when he contracted leprosy. He was miraculously healed by the waters at Bath and went on to founded a city at that site (at least that’s one story).

I Had a Blueprint of History

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Lesley Dill, I Had a Blueprint of History. Poem by Tom Sleigh. (New York: Dieu Donné Press and Peter Kruty Editions, 2012). Copy 1 of 30. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process.

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“Of the many ways to vent the human engine—of the many escape routes for what lies inside the body, firing up and down its nervous system and circulating through its veins—the most ordinary, and confounding, is speech. ‘We are animals of words,’ Lesley Dill has said. ‘If you were to cut us open anywhere, what would come out would not be just blood and organs, but also language.’” —Deep Breathing by critic and writer Nancy Princenthal, 2001.


The Brooklyn-based artist Lesley Dill created this limited edition artists’ book, featuring the poem I had a Blueprint of History by Tom Sleigh, Hunter College Creative Writing Program Director. The artist’s latest exhibition Faith & the Devil is currently on view at the George Adams Gallery in Chelsea, which also includes words by Sleigh.

I had a blueprint
of history
in my head —

it was a history of the martyrs
of love, the fools
of tyrants, the tyrants
themselves weeping
at the fate of their own soldiers —

a sentimental blueprint,
lacking depth —
a ruled axis X and Y
whose illusions
were bearable …
then unbearable …
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Founders Sue Gosin and Bruce Weinberg to open Dieu Donné in 1976, one of a few pioneer papermills in New York City and the United States. Today, this non-profit organization is dedicated to the creation, promotion, and preservation of new contemporary art utilizing the hand papermaking process.

Peter Kruty Editions is Peter Kruty and Sayre Gaydos, two master letterpress printers who have pooled their talents in letterpress printing and printmaking to form … one of the most versatile and well-known fine art and commercial letterpress shops in the United States.

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Sweet Papers

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A single sheet of sixteen candy wrappers with color printed vignette and letterpress joke below. Ashford, Kent: Howland’s Steam Confectionery and Grocery Stores, 1800s. Sheet 575 × 450 mm; each wrapper ca. 150 × 110 mm. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process

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“The sweetmakers wrapped their goods in the cheapest paper from the stationer’s, or else recycled old books. In one home-based sweets factory, [Henry] Mayhew observed several volumes of the Acts of Parliament used for this purpose, as well as other books, which the confectioner ‘retained to read at his short intervals of leisure, then used to wrap his goods in. In this way he had read through two Histories of England!’ Mayhew counted about 230 sweetsellers trading, of whom twenty to thirty were Jewish ….” from Tim Richardson, Sweets: a History of Candy (Firestone TX 791.R523 2002)

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Unidentified artist, after John Hamilton Mortimer (1740-1779), Untitled [Falstaff], 20th century. Pen and ink on paper. Graphic Arts collection GC169 European Drawings and Paintings Collection

falstaff3.jpgJohn Hamilton Mortimer, “Falstaff” in A Series of Twelve Heads ([London]: Palser, 1812). (Ex) Oversize 3925.8245f

This unidentified drawing has been in the collection for many years, possibly the work of a student or staff member. It is copied after John Mortimer’s original 1776 pastel or his etching from a series depicting Shakespearean characters, republished by Palser in the nineteenth century.

The etching is inscribed with two lines from the play:
There’s a merry heart! Good Master Silence,
I’ll give a health for that anon.
(Henry IV, pt. 2, act V, scene [3]) and publication line: “Publish’d March 15, 1776 by J. Mortimer, Norfolk Street, Strand.”

The character Silence sings:
A cup of wine that’s brisk and fine,
And drink unto thee, leman mine,
And a merry heart lives long-a.
John Hamilton Mortimer, Falstaff, 1775-76. Pastel. Source unknown.

Antoinette von Kahler's decorative ribbons


Antoinette von Kahler (1862-1951), Embroidered silk ribbons, [1940s]. Graphic Arts Collection, GC065 Kahler Decorative Ribbons Collection. Gift of Mrs. Erich (Alice) Kahler.

Austrian-born Antoinette von Kahler and her son Erich Kahler (1885-1970) fled Nazi-occupied Germany in 1933. They arrived in the United States in 1938 and settled in Princeton, New Jersey, where their friend Thomas Mann (1875-1955) had also taken up residence. The Kahler’s Princeton home at One Evelyn Place became known as Kahler-Kreis (Kahler-Circle) where German intellectuals gathered, including Albert Einstein, Mann, Erwin Panofsky, Ben Shahn, and Hermann Broch.

Early in the 20th century, Antoinette Von Kahler wrote a number of children’s books (several are in the Cotsen children’s book collection). After settling in Princeton, she took up embroidery and designed a number of silks with biblical themes and Jewish iconography. Ben Shahn, an artist and family friend, is said to have been an admirer of her work. After her son’s death, her daughter-in-law arranged for this collection of thirty-three ribbons to be given to Dale Roylance, then curator of the graphic arts collection.



Japanese Sketchbooks

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Graphic Arts recently acquired twenty-three Japanese sketchbooks by unidentified artists (many different hands are apparent). They were collected by Eric Sackheim and given to Princeton University by his widow several years ago.

The sketchbooks, all with traditional Japanese bindings, were packed together with a 1938 auction catalogue from J.C. Morgenthau & Co., Inc. entitled An Important Sale of Japanese Color Prints, Japanese Books, Albums, and Books of Original Drawings, Roll Paintings, [and] a Wood Block. Fifty-five albums of drawings were offered at this sale, which may be the source of the group now at Princeton University. Here is a sample:

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Joseph Zaehnsdorf binding

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William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), An Essay on the Genius of George Cruikshank. With Numerous Illustrations of His Works ([London]: H. Hooper, 1884). Extra illustrated copy. Unique binding by Joseph Zaehnsdorf in full red calf; solid gilt edges, original cloth covers bound in. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 946

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Princeton University Library owns 48 books hand bound by the Austrian craftsman Joseph Zaehnsdorf (1816-1886), one of Europe’s most famous custom binders. Founded in London in 1842, his firm created a wide variety of traditional and less-traditional leather bindings. The company merged with Sangorski & Sutcliffe and continues to produce fine art bindings under the heading SSZ.

Zaehnsdorf apprenticed to the German binder Herr Knipe before moving to London in 1837. There he worked for a number of shops before opening his own firm in 1844 and eventually, became a British citizen. London directories list the Zaehnsdorf shop first at 2 Wilson Street, then at 36 Catherine Street, and finally, 14 York Street, Covent Garden where he died.

For more about Zaehnsdorf, see Frank Broomhead, The Zaehnsdorfs (1842-1947): Craft Bookbinders (Middlesex, England: Private Libraries Association, 1986). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) 2009-0177N

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