January 2013 Archives

First American Novel Illustrated with Photographs

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882),
Hyperion: a Romance; Illustrated with Twenty-Four Photographs of the Rhine,
Switzerland, and the Tyrol by Francis Frith (London: A. W. Bennett, 1865).
Graphic Arts Collection GAX NE910. G7 F91 1865 c.1, c.2. Gifts of Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.

The first American novel illustrated with photographs was Longfellow’s Hyperion. Originally published in 1839, the narrative follows Paul Flemming as he travels through Germany and Switzerland, just as Longfellow had also done.

It’s hard to know if Frith was following Longfellow or Flemming when he made his own trip along the Rhine River over twenty years later. His photographs were first published in a travelogue called The Gossiping Photographer on the Rhine (ca.1864). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2005-0604Q.

With the negatives left over, Frith matched cityscapes and landscapes with particular moments in Longfellow’s narrative, illustrating what Flemming might have seen at various tourist sites along the way. Frith and his staff were casual about the negatives they printed. Slightly different views of the same scene appear in various books. It is possible the photographs were initially shot to form stereo views but were instead needed to fill-up the Hyperion volumes.

Princeton is fortunate is have several copies of the novel, allowing us to compare Frith’s prints. Look in particular at the far sides to see the changes from one copy to the other.

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The Cannibals' Progress in 1798

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Anthony Aufrere (1756-1833), The Cannibal’s Progress, or, The Dreadful Horrors of French Invasion, as Displayed by the Republican Officers and Soldiers, in their Perfidy, Rapacity, Ferociousness and Brutality, Exercised towards the Innocent Inhabitants of Germany (London: Wright, Cadel and others; Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1798). Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 175

The artist for this eighteenth-century pamphlet describing the horrors of the French invasion of Swabia, Germany, was William Wadsworth. According to Sinclair Hamilton, Wadsworth lived in Hartford, Connecticut, and worked as a freelance engraver for Hudson & Goodwin. No activities outside that press have been recorded.

Our library owns a second book illustrated, in part, by Wadsworth, also published by Hudson and Goodwin. Noah Webster (1758-1843), The American Spelling Book: Containing an Easy Standard of Pronunciation. 21st Connecticut ed. (Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1798). Sinclair Hamilton Collection of American Illustrated Books. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 181

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Ediciones Vigía


The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired twenty-five hand-made books from Ediciones Vigía based in the city of Matanzas to the east of Havana, Cuba. Most have a mimeographed reproduction of a typescript text, wrapped in unique, decorative paper binding. The books are hand-colored, stapled, sewn, glued, folded and in countless other ways constructed into editions of 200, most with a signed colophon.

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The Cuban publishing house has been active since 1985 under the artistic direction of Rolando Estévez Jordán and editorial direction of Laura Ruiz. Agustina Ponce serves as the overall director of Ediciones Vigía.

A few of the titles now in the Graphic Arts Collection include Nancy Morejón and Rolando Estévez Jordán, El Río de Martín Pérez y Otros Poemas (Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1996); Fernández René and Juan Antonio Carbonell Gómez, La Ikú y Elegguá (Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1994) and Rafael Acosta de Arriba and Hiram Aguíar, Los Signos al Infinito: Una Lectura de la Poesía de Octavio Paz (Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1992). They will all soon be searchable here.

This video gives you a chance to go inside the artists’ studio in Cuba and see them at work. Well worth the time to watch.

Finding a Cure for Influenza

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Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) after a design by James Dunthorne, Ague & Fever, March 29, 1788. Etching. GC112 Thomas Rowlandson Collection. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

Thomas Rowlandson published this print during the influenza epidemic of 1788 and four years later, its companion Hypochondriac (Nov. 5, 1792). In the room, we see Ague (an acute or high fever such as malaria) as a white serpent clutching the patient with its spidery hands and feet. Plain old Fever is the furry beast in the center. The doctor writes a prescription for them at the right.

Rowlandson includes a quote from John Milton, which I will place here in context:
All else deep snow and ice,
A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air
Burns frore, and cold performs th’ effect of fire.
Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled,
At certain revolutions all the damned
Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Immovable, infixed, and frozen round
Periods of time,—thence hurried back to fire.
Paradise Lost, Book II

Wiener Photographische Blätter


Thanks to the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the graphic arts collection is the fortunate new owner of a complete run of Wiener Photographische Blätter, edited by Franz Schiffner (Wien: Herausgegeben von Wiener Camera-Klub, 1894-1898), 60 issues in 5 quarto volumes. The letterpress text is profusely illustrated with images in a variety of mediums including photogravures (many with chine-collé), lichtdrucks (collotypes), gelatino-chloride prints (printing-out-papers), early half-tones, stereographs, and rotogravures.



In 1891 the Austrian Club der Amateur Photographen, founded specifically to foster relationships with photography clubs around the world, held the first International Exhibition of Photography in Vienna. Two years later, the organization simplified its name to Wiener Camera-Klub (Vienna Camera Club) and began publishing a lavish monthly magazine called Wiener Photographische Blätter, which continued until 1898.

This sumptuous journal offered scholarly articles relating to technical and aesthetic aspects of photography in addition to photographic plates, including photogravures by Robert Demachy (1859-1936), Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Heinrich Kuehn (1866-1944), and Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868-1946). Less studied but influential artists and wealthy amateurs are also represented, such as John Bergheim, Ludwig David, Dr. Hugo Henneberg, L. Hildesheimer, Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild, Baron Albert de Rothschild, A.R. Von Loehr, Dr. Federico Mallmann, Eduard Marauf, Philipp Ritter Von Schoeller, R. Severinski, Robert Ritter Von Stockert, Julius Strakosch, Oberst K. Sužnević, Carl Ulrich, Hans Watzek, and B. Widimsky.


Thirty-year-old Alfred Stieglitz was captivated and offered four of his best negatives, including Wet Day on the Boulevard; Waiting for the Return; Winter, Fifth Avenue, which he was selling for $75 each; and The Net Mender, his personal favorite at the time. Late in 1897 (perhaps under that influence of Wiener Photographische Blätter), Stieglitz began to hand-pull his own photogravures for his first portfolio, Picturesque Bits of New York and Other Studies (held in the Princeton University Art Museum). In addition, the Austrian journal would have a profound influence Stieglitz’s serial publications, when he issued photogravure plates as editor of Camera Notes and later his own journal Camera Work.


The Graphic Arts Collection holds a complete set of Camera Notes (1897-1903) and a complete set of Stieglitz’s quarterly journal Camera Work (1903-1917), both given to Princeton University by David H. McAlpin, Class of 1920. In addition, we hold a second incomplete set of Camera Work given by Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986).

In his 1978 book The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography, J. Paul Getty Museum photography curator emeritus Weston Naef writes, “In January the first issue of the Wiener Photographische Blätter appeared, edited by F. Schiffner and published by the Camera-Klub in Wien with seventeen original photogravures by Hugo Henneberg, Hans Watzek, F. Mallman, J. S. Bergheim, and Adolph Meyer. Each gravure was printed with an ink of a different tone, and some like Meyer’s were mounted on colored paper, making this among the most carefully produced photography periodicals published anywhere in the world.”

Our sincere thanks to the Friends of the Princeton University Library.

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In connection with the launch of Cabinet magazine’s new anthology, those responsible for the publication will be called to the dock to answer for their activities. Inspired by Dada mock trials, this event brings together a formidable cast of litigators and judges in a format mixing serious debate with courtroom drama. Testifying with be Julieta Aranda, Claire Bishop, D. Graham Burnett, Natalie de Souza, Hal Foster, Ben Kafka, Frederick Kaufman, and Sina Najafi, among many others.

For more than a decade, Cabinet has published essays and artist projects that have ranged far and wide in topic and tone. To some, this breadth of interests suggests an ethically grounded culture of curiosity about the world. For others, this eclecticism is merely the symptom of an undisciplined dilettantism that fails to engage the crucial issues of today. It is time for a reckoning!

The New York Public Library presents Cabinet on Trial: A Magazine of No qualities? http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2013/01/30/cabinet-trial-magazine-no-qualities Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 6:00 p.m. The New York Public Library, 5thAvenue at 42nd Street, New York City.

D. Graham Burnett is an editor at Cabinet. With Jeff Dolven, he teaches “Critique and Its Discontents” at Princeton University, where he runs the graduate program in History of Science. Hal Foster is Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Sina Najafi is editor-in-chief of Cabinet magazine and the editorial director of Cabinet Books. He has taught at Cooper Union, Yale, and RISD, and studied Comparative Literature at Princeton University, Columbia University, and New York University.

Journeyman's Certificate

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Handwerkskundschaft. Wir dieser Zeit Geschwor[e]ne Vor und andere Meistere des Loebl. Handwerks derer Maurer, in der Kayserlichen .. (Bremen: Ernsting, 1791 [ink inscriptions 1798]. Engraved broadside. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2013- in process

A panoramic view of the city of Bremen tops this journeyman’s certificate. It is inscribed for twenty-five year old Johann Hingstmann (born 1773), who has completed his twelve year apprenticeship to reach the level of journeyman. Hingstmann now has the right to charge a fee for his own work. To reach the highest level of master craftsman, he will have to submit an example of his work to a particular guild for evaluation and hopefully, be admitted to the guild as a master.

The certificate is engraved by Daniel Albert (Albrecht) Ernsting (1749-1820), who was himself an apprentice to a Bremen printer. Ernsting then studied in Göttingen and Copenhagen before returning to Bremen and opening a shop. His name is found engraved on portraits, business cards, playing cards, and of course certificates.

Zeichnen-Apparat: The Apparatus for Drawing

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Portable drawing box, 1800s. Hand-painted wood. Graphic Arts Collection

Portable writing chest

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Portable writing chest, 18th century. Carved wood, ornamental metal hinges and handles. Museum objects collection, for many years in the Friends of the Library Room. Distinguished Furniture Collection 25807. Gift of Pratt.

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A hand-written poem glued to the back of the chest is by Marion Couthouy Smith (1853-1931), “Old Treasures,” published in The Final Star: Poems (New York, J. T. White & Co., 1918) Rare Books (Ex) 3936.05.334.

“Oh, things once treasured, things that cannot die!
Your mute appeal is sharper than a cry;”

Thanks to Stephen Ferguson, we know “Miss Marion Couthouy Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pa., October 22, 1853. Her parents were Henry Pratt, of Philadelphia, and Maria Couthouy Williams, of Boston. She was educated at Miss Anable’s School in Philadelphia, Pa. Her principal literary works consist of magazine articles and poems contributed to the Century, Atlantic Monthly, The New England Magazine, and other publications… ” She lived in East Orange, New Jersey.

Presumably, a member of the Pratt family donated this box, which has been in our collection for many years. It was inventoried in 1970 as part of Princeton’s distinguished furniture collection.
“Distinguished Furniture Committee,” Princeton Weekly Bulletin 67, no. 14 (January 30, 1978).

Tobacco wrapping papers

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Graphic Arts recently acquired an album of tobacco wrapping papers from the Nuremberg firms of Ph. Casimir Krafft (P.C.K.& C.) and Georg Platner, undated but approximately from the 1780s to the 1830s. The collection may have been assembled by the printers of these papers or the manufacturers of the tobacco as a record of their advertising. The papers indicate that the two companies also had factories in London and Amsterdam.

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In the 1700s printed trade cards and wrappers for tobacco, powdered medicines, health aids, and pins began to be used throughout Europe. Tobacco papers identified the retailer who blended and measured out the tobacco into the wrapper (Alec Davis, Package and Print: the Development of Container and Label Design (London: Faber and Faber, 1967). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) TS158 .D38 1967)

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Etiquette der Tabak Fabriken Ph. C. Karfft und Platner [album], Nuremberg, no date [1780s-1830s]. 86 sheets engraved or lithographed, some color. Graphic Arts Collection 2013- in process


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In the summer of 2012, Brody Neuenschwander, Class of 1981, prepared an installation at the Kapel Ten Bogaerde in Koksijde, Belgium. The master calligrapher transformed the fourteenth-century chapel into a “meditation on the death and resurrection of language.” Here is a look at the installation.

The curator describes Neuenschwander’s work, “The chapel’s two large windows were encased in lanterns bearing writing, typography and the impressions of books. In the center of the space was a library of 500 black books, with the hands of the artist rising from them or sinking into their darkness. At the end of the chapel, on the axis of the black library, were six large panels of lines, texts and gestures rendered on Japanese kozo paper.”

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Brody Neuenschwander, Documentation (Koksijde, Belgium: Kapel Ten Bogaerde, 2012) Graphic Arts Collection. Gift of Alfred L. Bush.

in this book
the pen

under strain


tries to explain

tears the page

with blood black pain
pauses at the tip
to drip

a line

to love in vain

—Brody Neuenschwander

La Parroquia de San José

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An early view of La Parroquia de San José, the church of Parral’s patron saint, was found in a small album of 27 photographs taken in and around Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. We believe it was taken around 1910. The album also includes scenes of daily life, the iron works near Durango, and men working on the railroad.

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Parral album, box 6, Mexican ephemera collection, 1890-2000. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) WC130

Illegal Alien's Meditations on el Ser y la Nada

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Enrique Chagoya, Illegal Alien’s Meditations on el Ser y la Nada [Being and Nothingness], 2012. Color lithograph with chine collé and gold metallic powder. Edition: 30. Graphic Arts Collection GA2013.-in process.

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“In Illegal Alien’s Meditations on el Ser y la Nada, Chagoya continues his exploration of the codex format inspired by surviving pre-Colombian Mayan and Aztec books. In this, his twelfth book, Chagoya examines cultural realities with satire and humor. Using an historical lexicon of Mexican images with an overlay of abstract Buddhist meditation paintings and appropriated images from popular culture, Chagoya juxtaposes ordinary and spiritual life. The title is a comical tongue-in-cheek reference to Sartre’s On Being and Nothingness.“—Shark Press

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Chagoya’s book was printed by hand in eleven colors from ten aluminum plates with chine collé and gold metallic powder on 14 x 88 inch handmade Amate paper folded concertina-style. The lithographic plates were made from Mylars created by the artist that combine Xerox transfers with hand drawing, using pencils, toner and ink washes. The edition consists of 30 numbered impressions, plus proofs, pulled by Master printer Bud Shark, assisted by Evan Colbert, between August 21st and November 29th, 2012.

Varsha by Ranjani Shettar

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Now come the days of changing beauty,
of summer’s parting as the monsoon comes,
when the eastern gales come driving in,
perfumed with blossoming arjuna and sal trees,
tossing the clouds as smooth and dark as sapphires:
days that are sweet with the smell of rain-soaked earth.
—Bhavabhūti, eighth century, translated from the Sanskrit by Daniel H. H. Ingalls

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Ranjani Shettar, Varsha. Essay by Anita Desai, poetry by Bhavabhūti and Rabindranath Tagore and the lyrics from a Kannada folk song (New York: Library Council of the Museum of Modern Art, 2012). 16 prints including etching, silkscreen, hand-carved woodcut, pigment printing, and laser cut.
Copy 97 of 150.
Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2013- in process

Ranjani Shettar’s Varsha (the rainy season in the Hindu calendar) evokes aspects of sixteen phases of the monsoon and the classical Indian astronomy used to predict them. In a recent interview, the artist said, “I wanted to take something that was inspired by my geographical location, so I borrowed from the concept of the panchang [local almanac based on solar and lunar movements] and tried to interpret the monsoon visually.”

Shettar conceived and prepared the artwork in Karnataka, India. The accordion-folding volume (11 x 15 inches closed, 40 feet open) is bound in a hand-worked zinc-alloy cover inlaid with silver. To make the covers, the artist collaborated with the craftsman M. A. Rauf and his son Mohammed Abdul Bari in Bidar, Karnataka. Rauf and his associates continue a centuries-old tradition of combining zinc and copper, which is brought to a rich black color when cooked in the unique soil of the Bidar Fort.

The prints are named after sixteen nakshatras (from a total of twenty-eight in a calendar year), each with its own astrological, mythopoetic, and religious significance:
1. Ashwini. Solar etching and laser cut
2. Bharani. Solar etching, silkscreen, and laser cut
3. Krittika. Solar etching and laser cut
4. Rohini. Solar etching and laser cut
5. Mrigashira. Woodcut and laser cut
6. Ardra. Laser cut
7. Punarvasu. Laser cut
8. Pushya. Woodcut and laser cut
9. Ashlesha. Spit-bite etching and laser cut
10. Makha. Woodcut and laser cut
11. Purva Phalguni. Woodcut and laser cut
12. Uttara Phalguni. Woodcut and laser cut
13. Hasta. Woodcut and laser cut
14. Chitta. Pigment print and laser cut
15. Swathi. Woodcut and laser cut
16. Vishaka. Solar etching and laser cut

Listen to the artist speak about a previous work:

Congratulations to Hal Foster

Congratulations to Professor Hal Foster, Townsend Martin ‘17 Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, who just received the Frank Jewett Mather Award from the College Art Association (CAA). http://www.collegeart.org/awards/2013awards

books.jpgMarquand SA ND196.P64 F67 2012

“For over thirty years Hal Foster has been an extraordinarily prolific and influential critic and theorist of modern and contemporary art whose writing is theoretically sophisticated yet lucidly readable. In The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012), he demonstrates how these artists instantiated their generation’s ambivalent, distressed, but not despairing relationship to the image world they inhabited and remade.”

“A second book, The Art-Architectural Complex (London: Verso, 2011), takes off from Pop’s image skepticism and adds to it concepts from Minimalism, site- and medium-specific art, and the political economy in an aesthetically and ideologically grounded critique of the “banal cosmopolitanism” of much contemporary, global, corporate, and institutional architecture.”—CAA

Prof. Foster is among a select few CAA’s has chosen for its 2013 Awards for Distinction, which honor the outstanding achievements and accomplishments of individual artists, art historians, authors, conservators, curators, and critics whose efforts transcend their individual disciplines and contribute to the profession as a whole and to the world at large.

CAA will formally recognize the honorees at a special awards ceremony during Convocation at the 101st Annual Conference in New York, on Wednesday evening, February 13, 2013, 5:30-7:00 PM, at the Hilton New York. Led by Anne Collins Goodyear, president of the CAA Board of Directors, the awards ceremony will take place in East Ballroom, Third Floor. Convocation and the awards ceremony are free and open to the public. The Hilton New York is located in midtown Manhattan, at 1335 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), New York, NY 10010.

Comparing the Work of Frank Childs

childs unidentified.jpgFrank Childs, [Unidentified scene], 1800s.
Oil on canvas. Private collection.
childs morven.jpgAttributed to Frank Childs, [View of Morven Museum and Garden, Princeton, New Jersey], ca. 1860. Oil on canvas.
On loan to Morven Museum from a private collector.

Earlier this week, we had the good fortunate to view several framed works by the 19th-century American painter Frank Childs side-by-side. Happily, the topographic view seen here at the top is signed and so, we can now confidently attribute the view of Morven Museum and Gardens to Childs.

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Unfortunately, Princeton University Library’s view of Nassau Hall (after 1859) remains a mystery. Unlike the other two, it is painted on a prepared board rather than stretched canvas. The foliage so carefully rendered on the other two paintings as well as on Childs’ prints of Nassau Hall, has disappeared and the trees are bare. Other differences are evident, which leads us to believe it might have been painted later, possibly commissioned for an alumnus after one of Childs’ two published prints. Our sincere thanks to Elizabeth G. Allan, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, Morven Museum & Garden; Joseph J. Felcone, antiquarian bookseller; and collector David Doret for their help with this project.

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See also:





Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), Deauville. Aquarelles gravées sur cuivre par Maccard et dessins encouleurs de Van Dongen; texte de Paul Poiret (Paris: Ed. M-P. Trémois, 1931). Charles Rahn Fry Pochoir Collection. (GAX) Oversize 2003-0059F


On July 1, 1912, Eugène Cornuché opened the Hotel Normandie in the seaside town of Deauville and Paris newspapers wrote that it was the “most beautiful hotel in the world.” Next door, Cornuché built an enormous casino, inspired by the architecture of the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The following year, Coco Chanel opened her first boutique on the Rue Cambon and the Dutch artist Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) joined the elite members of Paris society who began frequenting the Normandy resort. By the time the Promenade des Planches was constructed in 1923, the Deauville beachfront had become more fashionable than the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, the number of tourists at the hotel and casino began to decline. Now a French citizen, van Dongen was selected to put together a brochure to publicize Deauville. His good friend, fashion designer Paul Poiret (1879-1944) wrote a text and van Dongen painted a series of watercolors that were translated into five full-page engravings and six colored pochoir vignettes. A limited edition portfolio was published May 30, 1931. The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to hold copy no. 15 of 280.


Oliver Messel's costume designs

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Oliver Messel (1904-1978), Costume design for Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville by Rossini at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera June 1954. Watercolor and gouache. GA 2012.02354.

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The Graphic Arts Collection also holds Oliver Messel’s, Portrait of a house, no date. Watercolor and gouache. GA 2006.02664 and A costume design for Sleeping Beauty, Carabosse and the Dwarves, by Peter Tchaikovsky, no date [about 1946]. Watercolor and gouache. GA 2006.02667.

“In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Messel’s style was seen as complementing the new verse play movement, spearheaded by Christopher Fry. He designed costumes and sets for The Lady’s not for Burning (1949), Ring Round the Moon (1950) and The Dark is Light Enough (1954).”

“His lavish approach to costume and set design was also appropriate for opera; from 1951 to 1959 he worked as a theatre designer for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, then under the artistic direction of Carl Ebert. His productions include Idomeneo (1951), Le Nozze di Figaro (1955) and Der Rosenkavalier (1959), productions which enabled Messel to use his imaginative pastiche of historical styles to good effect. Carl Toms assisted him during the Glyndebourne period, from 1952 to 1959.” (quoted from Victoria and Albert Museum Messel archive site)

A scene from The Barber of Seville, in Madrids Teatro Real with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez as Count Almaviva.

Princeton University Library Chronicle


Hope you make a special effort to read your latest issue of the Princeton University Library Chronicle. The articles are (almost) all focused on the graphic arts collection and some new acquisitions. In particular, Robert Vilain, Professor of German & Head of the School of Modern Languages, presents a fresh appraisal of the Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) illustrated Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

Princeton’s own Carol Rigolot, Executive Director, the Council of the Humanities. Lecturer in French and Italian, has written a beautiful piece on the collaboration between Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Saint-John Perse (1887-1975), touching also on John James Audubon (1785-1851). François Wahl, editor at the Éditions du Seuil, and Rubén Gallo Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures. Director, Program in Latin American Studies both write about the Cuban artist and writer Severo Sarduy (1937-1993). And much more.

To learn more about the Friends of the Library and their journal, see: http://library.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/friends/chronicle/index.html



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Great Britains Wonder: or, Londons Admiration: Being a true representation of a prodigious frost, which began about the beginning of Decemb. 1683. and continued till the fourth day of February following. And held on with such violence, that men and beasts, coaches and carts, went as frequently thereon, as boats were wont to pass before. There was also a street of booths built from the Temple to Southwark, where were sold all sorts of goods imaginable, … It being the wonder of this present age, and a great consternation to all the spectators (Printed by M. Haly, and J. Miller, and sold by Robert Walton, at the Globe on the north-side of St Pauls-Church, near that end towards Ludgate; where you may have all sorts and sizes of Maps, Coppy-Books, and Prints, not only English, but Italian, French and Dutch. And by John Sellar on the west-side of the Royal-Exchange. 1684). Broadside with woodcut. Robert H. Taylor Collection of English and American Literature

During the Great Frost in the winter of 1683/84, the Thames River was completely frozen for over two months. This wasn’t an isolated occurrence. Between 1408 and 1814, there were twenty-four winters in which the Thames was completely frozen. Venders moved in and Frost Fairs were held as soon as the ice was thick enough. Virginia Woolf recorded such a winter in Orlando:

“The Great Frost was, historians tell us, the most severe that has ever visited these islands. Birds froze in mid-air and fell like stones to the ground. At Norwich a young countrywoman started to cross the road in her usual robust health and was seen by the onlookers to turn visibly to powder and be blown in a puff of dust over the roofs as the icy blast struck her at the street corner. The mortality among sheep and cattle was enormous.” Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Orlando: a Biography (New York: C. Gaige, 1928). Copy 597 of 800. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2004-3966N

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