Recently in Conferences, lectures, etc. Category

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: 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.

K.K. Merker

Karl Kimber Merker

K.K. Merker, letterpress printer, book designer, fly fisherman, pheasant hunter, jazz singer, poker player and poet, passed away on Sunday, April 28 in Iowa City. Princeton University Library is fortunate to hold at least one copy of each of his books, thanks to the generosity of Daniel and Mary Jane Woodward. The following information on Mr. Merker’s life is thanks to the University of Iowa Center for the Book, presented here with a few of our volumes.

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Kim Merker was the founder of the University of Iowa Center for the Book. His vision led to the creation of the UICB in 1986, the establishment of a certificate program in 1996, and an MFA degree in 2011. Through the Windhover Press, established in 1967 as one of the first teaching fine presses at a university, and the subsequent programs at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, Merker was a major influence in the establishment and growth of many fine printing and book art programs across the country.

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Kim Merker came to Iowa City in 1956 as a poet and a student in the Writers’ Workshop. While at the University he had the opportunity to work with Harry Duncan, who operated the highly regarded Cummington Press and who was then the director of the Typography Laboratory in the School of Journalism. Duncan and Merker collaborated on a number of publications. The Stone Wall Press was established by Merker and Raeburn Miller, a fellow student in the Writers’ Workshop who was soon to leave Iowa City in pursuit of an academic career.

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Merker published such renowned poets as Ezra Pound and Theodore Roethke as well as younger poets such as W. S. Merwin, Donald Justice, Mark Strand, and Philip Levine. As Dana Gioia wrote about Kim Merker in 1997, “To his lasting credit, he has published the writers, mainly poets, in whose literary merits he has believed. Today a checklist of his books may look like a Who’s Who of contemporary poetry, but Merker first published many of those authors early in their careers.”

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The Stone Wall books have been issued in editions of 200 to 300 copies. They employ fine printing papers, impeccably chosen type designs, nearly flawless hand-composition, meticulous printing executed on hand-presses, and hand-binding. The approach to design exercised in the books is pristine and classical in nature, and color is used with restraint. Theodore Roethke’s Sequence, Sometimes Metaphysical is a particularly elegant representation of the Stone Wall quality.

The establishment of the Windhover Press by Kim Merker in 1967 at The University of Iowa innovatively situated a private press in an academic setting. Windhover was in part a teaching press. Students with interests in bibliography, publishing, or bookmaking were able to work directly with Merker and to participate in the design and execution of the publications. The Windhover bibliography includes translations, poetry by distinguished international writers and little-known or unpublished literature by such historical figures as Thoreau and F. Scott Fitzgerald. John Hoole’s Journal Narrative Relative to Dr. Johnson’s Last Illness, a manuscript of primarily scholarly interest, is representative of the diversity of Windhover’s publications. Edition sizes and production methods are similar to those of the Stone Wall Press, and the high standards visible in those books were maintained under Merker’s direction.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Kim’s name to the University of Iowa Center for the Book, which he founded and in which his legacy lives on. A memorial service, interment and celebratory poker game are planned for this fall, details to be forthcoming. An obituary is expected to be published in the Iowa City Press Citizen at

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Information in this announcement were derived from the following sources, which provide additional information on K.K. Merker, the Stone Wall Press, the Windhover Press, and a checklist of books by Kim Merker.

Karl Kimber Merker announcement The University of Iowa Center for the Book,

Amert, Kay, “Works Printed by K.K. Merker: the Stone Wall Press, the Windhover Press, and Others,” Introduction Kay Amert, Checklists O. M. Brack, Jr. and K. K. Merker, Books at Iowa 25, November 1976, The University of Iowa,

O’Connell, Bonnie, “The Quality of Response: Kim Merker and the Literary Fine Press,” Books at Iowa 64, April 1996, The University of Iowa,

Berger, Sidney E., Printing & the Mind of Merker: A Bibliographical Study , Grolier Club, New York, 1997.

After 60 Years Graphic Arts Rooms Close 1953-2013


The Princeton University Library Chronicle summer 1953 issue reported, “Elmer Adler, Curator of the Graphic Arts Collection since its establishment in 1940, retired on July 1, 1952 and was succeeded by Gillett G. Griffin. Before Mr. Adler’s retirement, the collection was moved, in May and June, from 3 University Place to rooms on the second floor of the Firestone Library.”

“During the past year,” the article continued, “a series of exhibits was arranged in the Graphic Arts Room by M. Griffin. …, an undergraduate print lending program was established with ‘overwhelming success,’ …and a printing press was presented to the graphic Arts Collection by the Princeton University Press in honor of Elmer Adler.”

Today, almost sixty years to the date, the graphic arts rooms on the second floor have been closed and the collection moved to various vaults around the building. The sun may be shining outside, but it is a sad day for those of us who remember all the wonderful events that took place in these rooms. My sincere thanks to all those who helped with today’s move. Please join me in saying goodbye to a beautiful space.


Goodbye to the wonderful Bird & Bull Press

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We just received this unhappy message from our friend Henry Morris at Bird & Bull Press: “The increasing difficulty in finding exciting and interesting book projects, combined with advancing age (87), has convinced me that it is now time to end my 55-year journey with Bird & Bull Press. So this is my last book. I want to thank all my subscribers for their many years of continued interest and support.”


Here are a few words by Jane Rodgers Siegel, from the 2008 American Printing History Association’s ceremony presenting Henry Morris with an award for his distinguished contribution to the study, recording, preservation or dissemination of printing history:
“Morris started Bird and Bull, one of America’s oldest private presses, in 1958 as an outlet for his new-found interest in hand papermaking - an interest sparked by a piece of fifteenth-century paper. Indeed, his strong interest in the art and history of handmade paper has resulted in a variety of books on Western, Japanese, and Chinese papermaking, and marbled and decorated papers, from Henk Voorn on Old Ream Wrappers (1969) to Dard Hunter and Son, by Dard Hunter II (1998), the unforgettably large Nicolas Louis Robert and His Endless Wire Papermaking Machine (2000), and Sid Berger on Karli Frigge’s Life in Marbling (2004). Morris’s 2006 J. Ben Lieberman Memorial lecture describes his belief that “Paper: There wouldn’t be any Printing History without It.”

“…Morris’s publishing program has been a boon to the historian of the book. He is correct when he writes, ‘It pleases me to know that without the Bird & Bull, many books on worthwhile, albeit esoteric subjects would probably never have been published.’ And all these works have been printed by letterpress from metal type on either Henry’s own handmade or on imported mould-made papers.”

Princeton University is fortunate to have been one of Mr. Morris’s subscribers and we are especially glad to received this last volume from the press.

Thomas Lord Busby, Busby’s Street Scenes: Images of Street Hawkers and Criers in 19th-Century London and Paris. Foreword by Henry Morris
(Newtown, Pa.: Bird & Bull Press, 2012).
120 copies. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2013- in process

Bookplate Design Competition

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Announcing the 2013 Peter S. Firestone Society Bookplate Design Competition

In honor of the upcoming bookplate design competition, open to all Princeton University Mathey and Rocky College students, here are a few bookplates from the early 20th-century bookplate magazine Boekcier: tijdschrift van de Stichting Nederlandsche Exlibris-Kring ([Wassenaar, Holland: Nederlandsche Exlibris-kring, 1932-1961]) Graphic Arts Collection in process

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Princeton’s winning design will be made into a printed bookplate and placed inside all books given to Mathey and Rocky students in the coming year. The prize for the designer of the winning bookplate will be dinner for four at Agricola, Princeton’s newest restaurant, which has just opened on Witherspoon Street. Deadline is Friday, 5 April 2013. Submissions should be sent to Christina Corsiglia,

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For more information about the Firestone Society, see

Good Luck!
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Two Weeks Until Spring


I Promise to Love You

During the College Art Association annual conference this weekend, we were able to view Tracey Emin’s new graphic work published by Times Square Arts (TSA) and s[edition]. The three minute video, I Promise to Love You, was prepared as part of the Midnight Moments series and plays each night in February from 11:57 to midnight on dozens of the Times Square monitors.


According to TSA, “the program is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on billboards throughout Times Square every night.” Emin wrote six love messages, which have been animated and synchronized across several blocks. Glowing red and blue text slowly spells out her message as if written by her own hand, complete with crossed-out mistakes.


s[edition] is a digital publisher working with top selling artists to produce limited editions that exist only in a digital format. Damien Hirst, Shepard Fairey, Jenny Holzer, and Yoko Ono have also created works for this series selling from $8 to $1600 (including a certificate of ownership). Emin’s digital neons are in an edition of 2,000 and the price rises as the edition sells.

Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts

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A recent phone call from one of our kind donors, Jonathan Bumas, Class of 1978, led to an extended search for the opening date of the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts. We know the gallery closed to the public on Tuesday, January 2, 2013 but documenting the opening was surprisingly hard to do.

The first mention found was in the Princeton Weekly Bulletin, September 23, 1985, which lists three exhibitions in Firestone Library. The first in our ‘exhibition gallery,’ the second in the lobby, and the third in The Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts (second floor). The last show was “Recent Gifts and Acquisitions of the Graphic Arts Collection.” Previous exhibition mentions all refer to the Graphic Arts Collection, where curator Dale Roylance used to hang shows inside his suite of rooms.

In the Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 47, no. 3 (spring 1986) there are two mentions. The first in a report of the Library Council’s winter meeting held on November 23, 1985 in the Friends Room on the second floor. “Before calling for the treasurer’s report, the chairman commented on the splendor of the new Leonard l. Milberg Gallery which has transformed the entrance to both the Graphic Arts collection and the Theatre Collection on the second floor of Firestone Library.”

Finally, Roylance notes in his report for the exhibition and catalogue, European Graphic Arts, “On May 11, 1986, a new exhibition gallery for the Princeton University Library, the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts, was officially opened. The architectural renovations to the second floor of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections have also created new entrances for both the Graphic Arts Collection and the Theatre Collection, with access directly from the main exhibition gallery of the Library. All of this has been made possible through funds given to the Graphic Arts Collection by Leonard L. Milberg, ‘53.”

By the way, the opening lecture to celebrate the gallery, the exhibition, and the catalogue was given by Robert C. Darnton, Shelby Cullom Davis ‘30 Professor of European History, entitled “Confessions of a Book Historian.”

Thanks to Christine Lutz, we also found photographs of the dedication of the gallery in the archive for the Office of Communications Records.

Thanks very much for asking a good question, Mr. Bumas!

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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? 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.

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).

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“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.

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:


Resources for Historical and Artistic Works

"...The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), ... confirmed that their AIC-CERT program (CERT stands for Collection Emergency Response Team) has a help number, (202) 661-8068, and email,, that can aid any institution, organization, collectors, or artists who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Their volunteers are trained in dealing with art-related disaster relief and they can act as a remote or onsite resource for those unsure on how to proceed."
In addition:
NCPTT, Wet Recovery resources:
Heritage Preservation:
Connecting 2 Collections forum on disaster recovery:

Graphic Arts Still Closed, Princeton Begins To Clean Up

Meanwhile, life goes on…

Wifi is on and Firestone Library is open…


A view from Firestone's tower, thanks to the Class of 1911

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“Final Stone Placed In Firestone Library,” Daily Princetonian, 72, no. 124 (June 9, 1948).

“The last stone in the new Firestone Library was laid yesterday by President Dodds, who first received an honorary local membership card in the Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers International Union. Excavation work on the building, which will cost over six million dollars when completed, was started in January, 1946. The library staff will start moving the books from the old building on July 6.

The last stone was laid in the tower, for which funds given by members of the Class of 1911 had been earmarked. Those present at the ceremony included Robert B. O’Connor, of the firm of R. B. O’Connor and Walter H. Kilham Jr., of New York City, architects of the library; H. A. Schroedel, project manager for the Turner Construction Co.; and 28 stone masons who have worked on the building for 16 months.

Mr. Schroedel said that the architects had prepared more than 2,000 blueprints, which had called for many consultations. He presented Mr. O’Connor a silver trowel as “the man who deserves the credit.” Mr. O’Connor, in turn, praised the workmanship of the stone masons, which he described as outstanding. The building will provide nearly 600 study carrels for students, offices for Faculty members and departmental meeting rooms, in addition to general reading and reference rooms.”

National Print Museum, Dublin

While attending the annual conference for the Society of the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, I visited the National Print Museum. Founded in 1996, the museum is situated in the old Garrison Chapel (yes, in the Chapel)
of the Beggars Bush Barracks. Their charming space is crammed with presses, type cases, and printing machinery of all types, along with a space where you can practice setting typing yourself. They have a Linotype machine, an enormous Albion iron press complete with a life-size eagle on top, and an historic wooden press, among many others. The flong for the front page of the last Irish Times to be set with hot metal is on view. Upstairs is an exhibition of letterpress artists' books, which includes one example with poetry by our own Professor Paul Muldoon.

Photo by Neil McDermott
All machines are in working order and a resident printer will give you a tour. The strings across the Hickok pen ruling machine are freshly strung and one of the volunteers remembers assisting in its commercial operation. Their huge Linotype machine, invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler (1854-1899), has fragments of cooled metal piled in boxes beneath it. I'm told that an upcoming documentary Linotype: The Film, which opens in October, will feature Dublin's machine specifically.


Paper is the winner

This is the week of Apple’s 23rd annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. 5,000 people from 60 countries paid $1,600 each to attend and tickets sold out in less than two hours.

The winners of the Apple Design Awards (ADA) have been announced. I would post a picture of the ceremony but photographs and bloggers are banned from WWDC sessions.

The winner of the ADA for an iPad app is: “Paper.”

In the first two weeks after the release of this app, 1,500,000 people downloaded Paper and the company claims 7,000,000 sheets of Paper have already been used.

Time for a new edition of Robert Henderson Clapperton, Paper, an Historical Account of its Making by Hand from the Earliest Times Down to the Present Day (Printed at the Shakespeare Head Press, 1934). Graphic Arts: (GARF) Oversize TS1124.5 .C526q


In the inaugural issue of Biblia, A Publication Devoted to the Interests of the Princeton University Library (June 1930), an introduction was penned by PAR (Philip Ashton Rollins, Class of 1889), co-founder and the first Chairman of the Friends of Princeton University Library.

“Dr. Osler originated for Oxford University’s benefit an adjunct which he styled Friends of the Bodleian. Presently Harvard University … duplicated the scheme; and, as a result, her Friends of the Library have, during the past five years, been vigorously furthering her effort to improve … [its] collections of books. Following Harvard’s example … a group of men some two months ago launched in Princeton’s interest an association known as Friends of the Princeton Library.”

“The aim of the association is the obtaining of printed and manuscript material for Princeton, doing this indirectly through creating an intimate acquaintance between Princeton’s library and such Princetonians and other sympathetic folk as may desire the library’s betterment. Lovers of books can, by making or inducing gifts of volumes, do much to strengthen Princeton. If the goal is to be reached, the association’s membership should include all the persons who have fondness both for Princeton and for printed pages.”

On Sunday, March 25, 2012, the Friends of the Princeton University Library will hold the third biennial Book Adoption Party from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Chancellor Green Rotunda. To get your own invitation, click here:

Image: John Young-Hunter (1874-1955), Philip Ashton Rollins, 1934. Oil on canvas. American paintings

James Joyce copyright expires 2012

James Joyce passed away in 1941. Under the 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the author’s copyright lasted throughout their life and for fifty years thereafter. The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by twenty years, matching the updated European laws now also requiring seventy years.

joyce1.jpgStephen Longstreet (1907-2002), Elliot Paul and James Joyce, 1927. Pen-and-wash drawing on paper. GC088

It is now seventy years after Joyce’s death and the copyright on works produced within his lifetime has expired. A symposium will be held in Dublin this June to rethink Joyce’s writings and the new challenges presented by open access to his work. See: This includes the publication, adaptation, and performance of Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake and his only play, Exiles.

Graphic Arts holds a number of Joyce portraits and caricatures including these (copyright still with the artist):

joyce2.jpgPhotograph labeled: James Joyce at the Brighton Beach Esplanade, no date [ca. 1907]. Gelatin silver print. Graphic Arts GA 2010.01797
joyce3.jpgStephen Longstreet (1907-2002), James Joyce - Trianon at dinner - Paris, 1927. Pen drawing on paper. Graphic Arts GC088
Beginning Monday

Up From the Stacks is a new music-theater performance by Mark Mulcahy and Ben Katchor, with Ken Maiuri, Dave Trenholm and Brian Marchese.

Set in The New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and in the environs of Times Square circa 1970, Up From the Stacks is the story of Lincoln Cabinée, a college student working part-time as a page, retrieving books for readers from the Library's collection of 43 million items. This routine evening job inadvertently thrusts young Cabinée into the treacherous crossroads of scholarly obsession and the businesses of amusement and vice that then flourished in the 42nd Street area. The intellectual life of the city and the happiness of a young man hang in the balance.

Find the rest at Mr. Katchor's blog:

William Hogarth and The Roast Beef Cantata

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Detail from The Roast Beef Cantata, 1748. Courtesy of a private collector.
In conjunction with

Sin & the City
William Hogarth’s London

The Practitioners of Musick will present a concert at 3:00 Sunday November 13, 2011 in Firestone Library’s main gallery, which will feature a performance of the rarely heard Roast Beef Cantata.

The musicians will include John Burkhalter, English & small flutes; Clara Rottsolk, soprano; Donna Fournier, Baroque cello; and Donovan Klotzbeacher, harpsichord. For more information, see

According to Grove’s Dictionary of Music, The Roast Beef of Old England was an English national song whose tune has become associated with the serving of dinner at public functions, and occasionally used as a signal for the same in the army. The air is a fine marked specimen of English melody, and is probably the composition of Richard Leveridge, who doubtless sang the song in public. The first two verses were inserted in Henry Fielding’s ballad opera, Don Quixote in England, produced in 1733. They are considered to be by Fielding himself, and are marked as to be sung to the air The Queen’s old Courtier.

Other sources indicate there were three versions of the words of this song: the original two verses by Fielding (1731); Leveridge’s six verses, the first being simply an appropriation of Fielding’s; and The Roast Beef Cantata, by Theodosius Forest, as seen in William Hogarth’s print, The Gate of Calais (1748).

Here are a few lines:

‘Twas at the gate of Calais, Hogarth tells,
Where sad despair and famine always dwells,
A meagre Frenchman, Madame Grand-sire’s cook,
Ah home he steered, his carcase that way took.
Bending beneath the weight of famed Sirloin,
On whom he’d often wish’d in vain to dine,
Good Father Dominick by chance came by,
With rosy gills, round paunch, and greedy eye;
Who, when he first beheld the greasy load,
His benediction on it he bestowed;
And as the solid fat his fingers press’d,
He lick’d his chaps, and thus the knight address’d:
“Oh, rare roast beef, lov’d by all mankind,
If I was doom’d to have thee, when dress’d and garnish’d to my mind,
And swimming in thy gravy, not all thy country’s force combin’d
Should from my fury save thee.

Hogarth’s print and the broadside with the poem are both on view in our gallery.

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