June 2013 Archives

Congratulations to Kenneth M. Newman on his retirement

Kenneth Newman and The Old Print Shop, 2012

Congratulations to Kenneth Newman, who had a birthday this month and today, after 63 years running The Old Print Shop on Lexington and 29th Street, has retired from the print business. I was one of the fortunate last customers to benefit from his expertise, take his advice, and come home with a wonderful new treasure for our collection.

Berenice Abbott, The Old Print Shop, 1945

Although we have his sons, Robert and Harry, to continue the family business, print curators across the country are going to miss having Mr. Newman welcomed us into his wonderfully crowded shop, with original tin ceilings and wood cases, to show us rare and remarkable treasures.

Their website offers a few facts. Kenneth’s father Harry Shaw Newman (1896-1966) purchased The Old Print Shop in 1928 and his son joined the business in 1949. Both in New York City and traveling across the country, they probably sold masterpieces to every museum in the United States and helped to build many of the leading collections of fine art prints.

And how many dealers can boast having Berenice Abbott as the shop photographer?

Although the shop is in good hands, with a new gallery coming in the fall, we will miss Kenneth Newman and wish him well in his new life.


Die Brücke

brucke8.jpgKarl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976)
brucke7.jpgKarl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976)
Die Brücke. Ausstellung von Künstlergruppe Brücke im Kunstsalon Fritz Gurlitt, Berlin W., Potsdamerstr. 113, Villa 2 ([Berlin]: Künstlergruppe Brücke, [1912]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) NE651.6.E9 A977

This very rare Berlin exhibition catalogue with original woodcuts is back home after being on view in the Princeton University Art Museum’s splendid show on 1913 and French modernism. Note that our copy also Includes a curious advertisement for the “7. Graphikmappe für passive Mitglieder” of the artists’ group Brücke, to be issued 1912. Illustrations: 9 prints on pink wove paper; full-page woodcuts: 2 each by Erich Heckel (1883-1970), E.L. Kirchner (1880-1938), Max Pechstein (1881-1955), Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976); 1 by Otto Mueller (1874-1930). Issued in paper covers (ours are bluish-grey) with an additional woodcut by Kirchner on red paper on the front cover.

brucke6.jpgE.L. Kirchner (1880-1938)
brucke5.jpgE.L. Kirchner (1880-1938)
brucke4.jpgErich Heckel (1883-1970)
bruck4.jpgOtto Mueller (1874-1930)

Sarah Charlesworth 1947-2013

Princeton University professor and contemporary artist Sarah Charlesworth has passed away, according to an announcement made by the Susan Inglett Gallery and posted by Artforum, Art in America, and other online sources.

Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Charlesworth was appointed to the faculty of Princeton University in 2012 and was scheduled to teach FRS 101 (LA) “Photographies: A Visual Studies Workshop” at the Lewis Center for the Arts this fall semester. She taught on the graduate level for 20 years in the MFA Photography program at the School of Visual Arts and the MFA Photography Department at the Rhode Island School of Design.

(c) Sarah Charlesworth

Artforum remembers she was considered part of the ‘Pictures Generation,’ and worked primarily with photographic series, through which she sought to explore “the ways in which public imagery forms a horizon of possibility.”

Charlesworth and Joseph Kosuth co-founded The Fox (complete run in Marquand Library (SA) N1 .F755), an art-theory magazine published 1975-1976. Her work appears in many museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and The Princeton University Art Museum.

In 1997, SITE Santa Fe organized a traveling retrospective of her work and she was the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and two NEA grants. A memorial will be held in New York at date still to be determined.

For additional images, see her studio website: http://www.sarahcharlesworth.net/index.php

In Search of a Climate, with Photomezzotypes

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“Having some obscure chest complaint, Mr. Nottage decided upon leaving England “in search of a climate,” for a tour which might comprise a visit to Australia, the Sandwich Islands, and Southern California. Once we have got over a certain egotism, the result to the reader is almost entirely pleasant, for the author, although he can boast no particular literary style, is an excellent gossip; and as he saw a good deal upon his tour, and passed through the Hawaiian revolution, his record is not without value.”

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“Mr. Nottage has anticipated the strictures of those critics who are likely to be influenced by the way in which the subject suggested by the title is kept in the background, by printing in his preface a number of tentative reviews of a somewhat hostile type. We can assure him, however, that he need not fear that anyone who reads his book through will have much else but praise for its exceedingly interesting character, and that the mere fact that he has relegated the question of climate to a secondary position will easily be forgiven.”

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Charles G. Nottage, In Search of a Climate, with thirty photographic illustrations … in photomezzotype by the London stereoscopic & photographic company, ltd. (London: S. Low, Marston & company, limited, 1894). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2003-1016N

“The photographic illustrations of the book deserve more than a word of praise: designed and reproduced in photomezzotype by the Stereoscopic Company, they are of very unusual merit, and should make popular any book of travel.”— William Thomas Stead, The Review of Reviews, 1893

Edwin Booth and Laurence Hutton


Not long after the actor Edwin Booth (1833-1893) finished performing the role of Brutus in the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, he purchased a townhouse on Gramercy Park for $75,000 and had the building converted into a club for men involved in the arts. On New Year’s Eve 1888, The Players Club opened as a private, invitation-only, men-only club with Booth as its first president; Augustin Daly (1838-1899) was the first vice-president; and Laurence Hutton (1843-1904) the first secretary. Mark Twain (1835-1910) was also among the original members.


A few days after the opening of the Club, Booth had his portrait done at the Union Square studio of George Rockwood (1882-1911), who specialized in theatrical photography and was the first important photolithographer in the United States. One print was specially framed and signed for Hutton (now in the collection of Princeton University).

Princeton resident and lecturer Laurence Hutton was a close friend of Booth’s and published several biographies on the actor. Among these were the 1887 “Actors and actresses” column for The Dial and another in Harper’s, where Hutton was literary editor, and shortly before the actor died, a monograph titled simply Edwin Booth (1893).

Laurence Hutton (1843-1904), Edwin Booth (New York: Harper & brothers, 1893. Laurence Hutton Collection (HTN) 35702.198.49

George Rockwood (1882-1911), Edwin Booth, ca. 1889. Photolithograph. Theater Collection Rare Books and Special Collections

Note that Booth’s hand is hidden inside his coat. This is a sign that he was a Freemason.

Want a picture of Aaron Burr Jr, Class of 1772? Make a copy.

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Hippolyte Burr, after a painting by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852), Aaron Burr, Jr. (1756-1836), 1800s. Oil on canvas. Rare Books and Special Collections. Princeton University Library. Gift of Miss Evelyn Benedict.


John Vanderlyn (1775-1852), Aaron Burr, Jr. (1756-1836), 1802. Oil on canvas. Gift of Dr. John E. Stillwell, 1931.58. New-York Historical Society.

According to the New-York Historical Society records, when John Vanderlyn arrived in New York City from Kingston, NY in 1792, he honed his painting skills by copying portraits by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), among them a painting of Aaron Burr Jr., Class of 1772. Impressed by the copy, Burr took Vanderlyn under his wing, sending him to Paris to continue his artistic training at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Vanderlyn returned to New York in 1801 and moved in with the Burr family during the time that Burr was serving as the third Vice President of the United States (1801-1805). While in their home, Vanderlyn painted a second portrait of Burr, which now hangs at the New-York Historical Society. Hippolyte Burr, the grandson of Colonel Aaron Burr, made a copy of this work, which was presented to Princeton University in 1933 by Miss Evelyn Benedict.

Darley's News Boy

Darley news boy.jpg

Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1822-1888), The News Boy, no date. Pencil, pen and ink with sepia wash. Graphic Arts Collection Hamilton 1593.

The charming sketch seen above came to Sinclair Hamilton, and eventually to Princeton University, in an album of the artist’s early work, which has since been unbound and housed separately. In trying to match it with a published book, we thought we had succeeded with the 1843 In Town & About, or, Pencillings & Pennings by Joseph C. Neal (Graphic Arts GAX Oversize Hamilton 1594q). This set of sketches includes one on news boys in particular.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. It is a different project (see below). Any suggestions about the scene above would be greatly appreciated.

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Tracking Darley’s work is daunting. In just 1843, the twenty-one-year-old artist completed a surprising number of drawings, including illustrations for Yankee among the Mermaids; Streaks of Squatter of Life; Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs: Late of the Tallapoosa Volunteers; Big Bear of Arkansas; In Town & About, or, Pencillings & Pennings; Major Jones’s Courtship; Major Jones’s Sketches of Travel; New Orleans Sketch Book; Odd Leaves from the Life of a Louisiana “Swamp Doctor”; Pictorial History of the United States of America; and Scenes in Indian Life.

Mystic Krewe of Druids

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One of the floats of the “Mystic Krewe of Druids” on Canal Street, New Orleans, La

This tiny souvenir booklet of miniature postcards includes curious images of the New Orleans Mardi Gras. For 12 days preceding Mardi Gras, more than 60 parades and hundreds of private parties, dances and masked balls are scheduled. These are organized by non-profit clubs called krewes, many named after mythological figures such as Aphrodite, Eros, Hermes, Pegasus and Thor. Each krewe is completely autonomous and there is no overall coordinator of Carnival activities.

“Les Mysterieuses, Carnival’s first female organization, staged its premiere ball in 1896, but it was not until 1941 that the Krewe of Venus presented the first ladies’ Mardi Gras parade. In 1909, Zulu, Carnival’s first African-American parading krewe, was founded as a spoof of white Mardi Gras. Its parade is now one of the early highlights on Fat Tuesday.”

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Baskerville and his engravers

Lodovico Ariosto (1474-1533), Orlando Furioso [Mad Orlando] (Birmingham, Datorchi di G. Baskerville, per P. Molini e G. Molini, 1773). 4 v. Printed by John Baskerville (1706-1775). Provenance: Formerly owned by Augustus Henry Fitzroy Grafton, 1735-1811. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Baskerville 1773b

Rare Books also owns a copy of the original prospectus in Prospectuses and Announcements from Italian, French, and English printers, Booksellers, and Publishers, 1736-1830. (Ex) Z338 .P76q

Late in his career, John Baskerville printed an edition of Orlando Furioso for the Molini brothers, an Italian printing firm based in Paris. This beautiful four-volume set of Ariosto’s 50,000 line poem is illustrated with forty-six engraving (plus a frontispiece), designed by some of the most celebrated artists of that time. A new engraving begins each new episode of the author’s work and the artists appear to have been given much freedom in their designs. The twenty-one artists don’t often get credit and so, here’s the complete list.


Frontispiece portrait is after a painting by Titian (ca. 1485/90?-1576), drawn by Charles Dominique Joseph Eisen (1720-1778) and engraved by Etienne Ficquet (1719-1794).

The plates were designed by Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727-1785); Charles Nicolas Cochin II (1715-1790); Charles Dominique Joseph Eisen (1720-1778); Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805); Charles Monnet (1732-after 1808); Jean-Michel Moreau the Younger (1741-1814).

The engravings were cut by Francesco Bartolozzi (1728-1815); Pierre Philippe Choffard (1730-1809); Antoine Jean Duclos (1742-1795); Emmanuel Jean de Ghendt (1738-1815); Isidore Stanislas Henri Helman (1743-?1806/9); Benott Louis Henriquez (1732-1806); Nicolas de Launay (1739-1792); Joseph de Longueil (1730-1792); Pietro Antonio Martini (1738-1797); Jean Massard (1740-1822); Jean-Michel Moreau, the Younger (1741-1814); Nicolas Ponce (1746-1831); Benoit Louis Prevost (1747-ca. 1804); and Jean-Baptiste-Blaise Simonet (1742-after 1813).

The prospectus states: “The Brothers Molini have undertaken to present an Edition which will satisfy the desires of the Public, and correspond with the reputation of this great man. They have used the presses of the famous Baskerville, whose master-pieces of printing all the world knows and admires.”


Dibdin said, “The Baskerville edition of Orlando Furioso with the cuts of Bartolozzi is more exquisite than the splendid edition of Zatta. I never see, or even think of, the lovely edition of Baskerville, of 1773 … without the most unmixed satisfaction. Paper, printing, drawing, plates—all delight the eye, and gratify the heart, of the thorough-bred bibliomaniacal Virtuoso. This edition has hardly its equal, and certainly not its superior, in any publication with which I am acquainted.”


This might be the most interesting note: “The engraver Bartolozzi grew weary of the delays of the publisher of these beautiful volumes, who one day in a passion called him an ass, a poltroon, an animal. The artist made no reply; he was working at the moment on the plate of the 43d Chant; without turning from his task, he lightly traced these three words upon the tomb which was engraved upon that plate,—d’asino, de poltrone, d’animale.” —Josiah Henry Benton, John Baskerville (Updike, 1914)

Someone must have caught this and scraped it off, since our plate doesn’t include these words:


Upcoming conference


The roster of speakers for the American Printing History Association’s 38th Annual Conference on October 18-19, 2013 at the Grolier Club, New York City, has been announced and can be seen at: http://www.printinghistory.org/programs/conference/conference_2013.php. It looks like a good mix of regulars and new comers, with a broad spectrum of topics.

I hope to talk about the commercial aspects of hand-stenciled color in the 20th-21st century, such as Henry Fielding’s The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, with illustrations by T.M. Cleland (1880-1964). His stenciler, Miss Brakely (who rarely got an public credit), was only paid $3.30 per thousand pages, except for one particularly elaborate project for which she raised her price to $10 per thousand (or one cent to color one page).


Any comments about stenciling would be greatly appreciated.

Stones and Inscriptions

Here is a sampling of the stones and inscriptions I pass everyday at Princeton.


Sed adhuc mea messis in herba est = But the time of my harvest has not yet come. Ovid

Bomb-Proof Shelter in Graphic Arts

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Attributed to Timothy H. O’Sullivan (1840-1882), Bomb-Proof Shelter in Front of Petersburg [View 1]. Washington, D.C.: Brady National Photographic Art Gallery, no date [August 1864]. Albumen silver print, Half-stereograph. Gift of Augustin J. Powers through Charles Powers, Class of 1938.
Graphic Arts Collection GA 2010.00034

“The nine-month siege of Petersburg, which is the longest siege in the history of American warfare and involved nearly 150,000 soldiers in both Union and Confederate armies, saw some of the most sustained fighting and extensive building of fortifications of the Civil War. The Petersburg lines witnessed the further development of redoubts, lunettes, and redans, as well as bomb-proof shelters and powder magazines, covered ways, rifle trenches, and rifle pits. Mining was attempted by both armies, and resulted in the debacle of the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. With the final collapse of the sparsely manned Petersburg lines on April 2, 1865, the Confederates evacuated their capital and one week later the remains of the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House. The Civil War was over, and the face of warfare had changed forever.”
— Ron Field, American Civil War Fortifications (Osprey Publishing, 2005).

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Innocent Amusements

heath pitch in the hole.jpg
William Heath (1794/95-1840), Innocent Amusement. Pitch in the Hold, no date [1828]. Etching with hand coloring. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2011.00897

Louis XIV wasn’t the only monarch to build a country estate. In the 1820s, George IV, King of England (1762-1830) spent nearly 9,000 pounds on a fishing lodge, designed by Sir Jeffery Wyatville (1766-1840). The Chinoisery Fishing Temple, in the southern end of Windsor Great Park, became a retreat for the King and his mistress, Elizabeth Conyngham, Marchioness Conyngham (1769-1861).

Nearby was the royal menagerie where George kept his kangaroos, ostriches, and other exotic animals. His favorite was a giraffe, given to him by Muhammad Ali, Pasha of Egypt (1769-1849), which arrived in London on August 11, 1827.

According to the Windsor & Eton Express (August 1827) “On Monday morning the camelopard … was conveyed in a caravan prepared for the purpose, to the Royal Lodge, where it greatly excited the admiration of his Majesty, and distinguished visitors. It is a most superb animal, beautifully spotted, and of an amazing height. Three Arabs have accompanied it, who are totally unacquainted with our language. It is now temporarily accommodated at Cumberland Lodge, till a fit place be built for it at the royal menagerie, at Sandpit Gate.”

The giraffe died in August 1829 and George died ten months later.

Leon Trotsky, George Sherman, and Eli Wallach

Leon Trotsky, ca. 1939

Born in New York City, George Sherman (1908-1991) moved to Hollywood as a young man and by the age of twenty-nine was directing his own films, specializing in Westerns. In 1958 Sherman was in Mexico, shooting The Last of the Fast Guns, when a journalist named Myron Gold offered him an introduction to Natalie Trotsky (1882-1962), the widow of Leon Trotsky (1879-1940).

Natalie and Leon Trotsky

The Trotskys were forced to leave Russia in 1929 but thanks to the help of Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957), they were given political asylum in Mexico and settled in Coyoacán, a borough of Mexico City.

Natalie Trotsky told Sherman the terrible history of her husband’s assassination in the summer of 1940, how he had been attacked in their home and stabbed with an ice axe, how she had waited fifteen hours while doctors tried to save him, and how her husband finally died on August 21.


Sherman told her that he wanted to make a movie about this and about the affair between her husband’s young Brooklyn-born secretary Sylvia Ageloff and Ramón Mercader (1913-1978, also known as Jacques Mornard, also known as Frank Jackson), who became Trotsky’s paid assassin.

Natalie Trotsky shared all her records with Sherman included her copies of unpublished police photographs of Mercader’s capture and Trotsky’s autopsy. Sherman took all this back to Hollywood, wrote a treatment for a full-length film and began raising money.

Rivera, Dunayevskaya, and Trotsky, ca. 1939

Louella Parsons’s April 11, 1960 newspaper column announced the project noting that Eli Wallach was set to play Trotsky and Richard Basehart was almost confirmed as the young reporter covering the murder. Perhaps someone could ask Mr. Wallach about this?


Although the film was never made, Sherman’s wife, actress Cleo Ronson Sherman (1925-2011) held on to the material after her husband’s death, hoping it might still find a producer. A few years ago, she passed it on to a young filmmaker who brought the photographs and negative to the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University, where they will soon be available for research.

See also: Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), What is a peace program? Published by the Bureau of International Propaganda attached to the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Workmen’s and Peasant’s Government of the Russian Republic (Petrograd [Printed by “Herold”] 1918). (Ex) 14094.28.914

Here is a home movie of the Trotskys with Kahlo and Rivera in Mexico City.

Reproducing William Blake

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William Blake’s Water-Colour Designs for the Poems of Thomas Gray, introduction and commentary by Geoffrey Keynes (Boissia, Clairvaux, Jura: Trianon Press for the William Blake Trust, London; London: Distributed by B. Quaritch, 1972). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize ND1942.B55 A4 1972f

In 1795, William Blake (1757-1827) was given a commission to illustrate the poems of Edward Young (1681-1765). He produced 537 watercolors from which 43 were selected for engraving. One volume of the proposed four volume set was completed and released but failed to find an audience. The project was discontinued.

To help the disappointed and struggling artist, his friend John Flaxman (1755-1826) commissioned a new set of watercolors to illustrate the poems of Thomas Gray (1716-1771). Blake painted 116 watercolors, each framing a page of text, completing the project in 1798. Sadly, it wasn’t until 1922 that the general public was able to see Blake’s work, when it was reproduced and published under the title William Blake’s Designs for Gray’s poems … from the unique copy belonging to His Grace the Duke of Hamilton (Ex Oversize ND497.B5 A32e).

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Collotype trimmed to prepare one stencil

In 1971, a much more ambitious recreation of the illustrations was begun [seen here]. Not only was the process more elaborate but the multi-volume set included actual plates and stencils for one of the designs, allowing the public to follow the sequence of steps necessary to recreate Blake’s work.

“The water-colour designs were reproduced by the collotype and hand-stencil process in the workshops of the Trianon Press in Paris. The texts of Gray’s poems were printed on pure rag laid paper from copper plates, using three additional printings to reproduce Blake’s pencil crosses and to obtain the tone of the paper”

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blake ode to4.jpgZinc stencils
Quoting from their prospectus: “Through a combination of circumstances this astonishing series of water-colours, executed some 175 years ago, has remained virtually unknown until very recently. They were in fact completely lost to view for over seventy years and were only shown to the public for the first time at the Tate Gallery in December 1971.”

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“They were widely acclaimed and at once recognized to be among Blake’s most important works. The marriage of Blake’s visual imagination to Gray’s poetry is perhaps unexpected and it is surprising that the classic Gray was able to bring out the best in the romantic Blake, arousing a fertility of imagination remarkable even for him.”

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The Graphic Arts Collection holds the stencils, collotypes, and negatives for plate 5 of Gray’s “Ode to Adversity,” in which Blake illustrates the Gorgon terrors.

In thy Gorgon terrors clad
Screaming horrors funeral cry
Despair & Fell Disease & Ghastly Poverty

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Privacidad (Privacy)


Privacidad. Essay by Norberto Marrero Pírez ([La Habana, Cuba: Yamilys Brito Jorge], 2011). Copy 15 of 25. Graphic Arts Collection 2013- in process.

A collaboration of Steve Daiber of Red Trillium Press with 13 Cuban printmakers: Adislen Reyes Pino, Aliosky García Sosa, Anyelmaidelín Calzadilla Fernnández, Eduardo Guerra Hernández, Eduardo Hernández Santos, Hanoi Pérez Cordero, Isolina Limonta Rodríguez, Janette Brossard Duharte, Jesús Reyes Romeu, Luis Lamothe Duribe, Noberto Marrero Pírez, Orlando Montalbán Soler, and Yamilys Brito Jorge.

“Fabricated in Spring 2011 Privacidad is the second in a series of three books in which Cuban artists frankly explore their social and political relationships.”—Red Trillium Press. Lithography, silkscreen, linoleum, etching on paper.


Princeton holds several other books by Norberto Marrero Pírez, including Aguas del desastre (La Habana, Cuba: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2004); Los inmaculados pájaros del socorro (Ciudad de La Habana: Ediciones Unión, Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, 1996); and Un día en la pirámide (La Habana, Cuba: Ediciones Extramuros, 2003).

Set Beggars on Horseback, They'll Ride to the Devil

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Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827), The Consular Family on Their Last Journey,
June 12, 1804. Etching with hand coloring. Graphic Arts Collection.
Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

1804 was a defining year for Napoléon (1769-1821), who began it as the First Consul and ended it as Emperor of France. During the winter, there was an assassination plot against Napoléon and although the leaders of the conspiracy were captured, there were lingering fears that the Republic would collapse should Napoléon be kidnapped or killed.

On May 18, 1804, the Senate passed a bill to establish a French Empire with Napoléon as its first Emperor. After many months of debate, Napoléon was finally crowned on December 2, 1804 by Pope Pius VII.

Rowlandson’s print shows Napoléon and his wife Joséphine (1763-1814), along with their family, riding in a carriage pulled by a monster and driven by a devil. The verse at the top begins with an old proverb: “Set Beggars on Horseback - they’ll ride to the Devil,” meaning if someone rises to power or wealth too quickly, they will become corrupted. Napoléon’s mother emphasizes this with her remarks, “My Dear Son Nap how charmingly we ride - but it seems very much down hill -.”

La Lanterne magique, journal des choses curieuses et amusantes

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La Lanterne magique: journal de choses curieuses et amusantes [The Magic Lantern: Newspaper of Curious and Fun Things]. 1re année [1re livraison] (juin 1833)-4e année, n° 7 (juillet 1836). Bound in one volume. Publishing directors, Jean-Pierre-François Lesguillon (1800-1873) and Charles Malo (1790-1871).

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Jean-Pierre-François Lesguillon had been editing the long-running Almanach des muses (Rare Books Off-Site Storage 3229.1198) but when that annual poetry journal ceased publication in 1833, Lesguillon developed Le Lanterne magique, a monthly newspaper covering a wide variety of amusing topics. Although the image of the magic lantern appears on the title page of each issue, it is only an icon and not the focus of the magazine.

What is surprising is to find this eclectic Parisian magazine filled with illustrations engraved by the British artist John Thompson (1785-1866). Or perhaps not so surprising when we remember that the artist was the leading proponent of the medium and the illustrator of dozens of books and magazines. All his brothers and his sons were trained as wood engravers, although his eldest son, Charles Thompson (1816-1868), gave it up and became the V&A’s first official photographer.

The DNB calls Thompson “perhaps the ablest exponent that has ever lived of the style of wood engraving which aimed at rivalling the effect of copper, and his cuts in Fairfax’s ‘Tasso’ and Puckle’s ‘Club’ may be instanced as supreme triumphs of the art. For about fifty years he stood at the head of his profession, and, vast as was the amount of work he produced during that period, he never allowed it to become mechanical or degenerate into a manufacture.”

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