March 2011 Archives

French tabletop stereo viewer, ca. 1890. Graphic Arts (GA) 2011- in process

This Visionneuse (viewer) was discovered by Madame Nicole Canet and included in her 2009 exhibition Maison Closes (Brothels) at the Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour, Paris. The tabletop stereo viewer originally sat in the waiting room of a Paris brothel. Gentlemen would drop coins through the top slot and then, turn the right hand knob to view a series of paper stereo cards depicting the pensionnaires travaillant dans la maison (boarders working in the house). Our box holds two dozen cards on a wire frame linked together in a continuous loop. Each coin must have allowed for one sequence through the cards.

In her exhibition catalogue, Canet writes that she attempted “to re-open the doors to these secret houses and hotels, the bordellos and brothels of Paris, which for many years have remained stubbornly closed. The maisons closes are an integral part of the history of Paris from the Belle Époque to the first decades of the twentieth century.”


She continues “I opened Au Bonheur du Jour on 13 April 1999, exactly fifty-three years after the law was passed that meant the destruction of the national register of prostitutes and the closure of some 1,400 establishments, 180 of which were in Paris. Coincidentally, the gallery, at number 11 rue Chabanais, is situated just opposite a house, at number 12, where for many years one of the legendary bordellos of Paris operated: Le Chabanais.”


Our unlabeled viewer, with its simple revolving wire chain, is a late nineteenth-century variation of the Alexander Beckers tabletop viewer. A trained Daguerreian, Beckers worked as a photographer in New York City for many years before he was sidetracked with his inventions. On April 7, 1857, he patented a revolving stereoscope with a metal belt that held up to 144 glass or 288 printed views. Since then, the many variations of his device are often referred to generically as “Beckers.”

Special thanks go to Rubén Gallo, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures; and Director, Program in Latin American Studies, for his patient assistance in the acquisition of this historic optical device.

Le prix de sagesse (The Price of Wisdom)

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Le prix de sagesse ou La Fontaine en jeu (The Price of Wisdom or A Game of La Fontaine), 1810. Etching. Paris: Chez Demonville Imprimeur Libraire. Graphic Arts French prints

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This is an early nineteenth-century version of the Game of the Goose, which is claimed to have been a gift from Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1541-1613) to King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) sometime between 1574 and 1587. According to H. J. R. Murray, A History of Board-Games Other than Chess (Firestone GV1312 .M8 1952), the Game of the Goose reached England by 1597, when John Wolfe entered “the newe and most pleasant game of the Goose” in the Stationers’ Register.

No matter what the theme, the board consists of sixty-three numbered spaces arranged in a spiral. In La prix de sagesse each of the numbered compartments depicts a fable from Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695), arranged around a center square. Rules are also given in English, along with brief summaries of the fables in verse to left and to right.

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The French poet La Fontaine published 243 fables in twelve books from 1668 to 1694. He took his inspiration from Aesop, Horace, and ancient Indian literature such as the Panchatantra. The first collection of Fables Choisies (Ex 3262.33.173) appeared March 31, 1668, dedicated to “Monseigneur” Louis de France (1661-1711) the six-year-old son and heir of Louis XIV, King of France and Maria Theresa of Spain.

Rare Books and Special Collections holds more than 150 editions of La Fontaine’s Fables. The Cotsen collection holds over two dozen different versions of the Game of the Goose, included a variant edition of the La Fontaine: Jeu instructif des Fables de la Fontaine (Paris: Basset [between 1835 and 1845]). (CTSN) Print Case LA / Box 99 103446

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For English translations of the fables, see

Qu'en dit l'Abbe?

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Nicolas Delaunay (1739-1792) after a design by Niclas Lafrensen, the younger, also known as Nicolas Lavreince (1737-1807), Qu’en dit l’Abbe? [What would the Abbot say?]. Unfinished proof copy, ca.1788. Etching and engraving. Graphic Arts French prints.

The Swedish miniature painter Niclas Lafrensen created this Rococo scene in gouache to be engraved by the Parisian master printer Nicolas Delaunay and sold through the fine print market. The print is dedicated to Countess d’Ogny, wife of a young nobleman Claude-François-Marie Rigolet, Comte d’Ogny (1757-1790). We see Madame d’Ogny choosing wallpaper, taking a singing lesson, and having her hair done while entertaining guests in an elegant sitting room.

It is interesting to note that Comte d’Ogny, the founder of the Paris-based music society, Concert de la Loge olympique, and patron of Franz Josef Haydn, was known for his extravagance and left a debt of 100,000 livres when he died.

Lafrensen and Delaunay also created a pendant scene: Le billet doux (The Love Letter) showing a man slipping a letter to one woman while chatting with another.

Delaunay engraved a number of book illustrations. Here are a few:
Arnaud Berquin (1747-1791). Idylles, romances, et autres poésies de Berquin (Paris: Ant. Aug. Renouard, 1803). Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Euro 18 23489

Jean Michel Moreau (1741-1814), Dessins de Moreau ([Paris: s.n., 1776-1779]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2008-2366N

Winslow Homer buried in advertising


At the same time that Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was drawing his most famous illustration for Harper’s Weekly, “A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty” (1862), he was also illustrating children’s books, including Bessie Grant’s Treasure (GAX Hamilton 1726) and Fred Freeland or The Chain of Circumstances.

Original wood engravings created after his designs for the stories were reprinted in numerous advertisements for these books. Boston publishers Walker, Wise & Co. ran sixteen pages of advertising in the back of Susan Lander’s Spectacles for Little Eyes (1862) (Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process). Three Homer prints can be found in these back pages.

Thanks to donor Tom Lange for discovering these prints and delivering them to graphic arts where they take their place alongside the wood engravings of the Sinclair Hamilton collection.


Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus Vociferus)

John James Audubon (1785-1851), Le Wip-poor-will de Mr. Buffon (or Whip-poor-will), 1806. Pencil and crayons on paper. Signed and dated in pencil, l.l.: ‘Mill Grove, Pensylvania [sic] // the 21 of July, 1806 // J.J.A.’ GC154 John James Audubon Collection. Gift of John S. Williams, Class of 1924.

On April 12, 1806, John James Audubon (1785-1851) sailed back to the United States under a false passport to take responsibility for the family estate at Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. The 248 acres of farmland and woods had significant mining deposits and Audubon’s responsibilities included the lead mines.

A friend in Nantes had introduced Audubon to pastels and the twenty-one year old preferred to spend his time roaming the hills along the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River hunting and sketching. This drawing was completed just three months after his arrival.

When Audubon married a few years later and moved to Kentucky, this early drawing went with him to serve as a model for his famous Birds of America, plate 42: Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus Vociferus, Wills.).

David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson

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David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), Mr. Alexander Hill, ca. 1845. Salted paper print. GC137 Early Photography Collection. GA 2005.00252

John Szarkowski wrote, “David Octavius Hill was a properly trained painter, a member in good standing of the British art establishment … [who] took up photography (with the assistance of the young chemist Robert Adamson) as a sketching medium, in order to produce likenesses of 470 Scottish clerics [for] a monstrous historical painting …. When the painting was finally finished in 1866, twenty-three years [later], it established Hill as one of the first artists to have converted good photography into bad painting.”

Scottish photographers Hill and Adamson formed a partnership that lasted only four years, from 1843 to 1847, but the art they created represents the best paper photography of that period. They made more than 3,000 photographs and sold the work through David’s older brother, Alexander Hill also known as Bailie Hill (1800-1866), a book dealer, stationer and artists’ colorist (pictured above).


David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), St. Andrews [East Gable End of the Cathedral with Tower of St. Regulus], [1843-1847]. Calotype. GC137 Early Photography Collection. GA 2005.00255


David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), Mrs. Maule, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, ca. 1845. Salted paper print. GC137 Early Photography Collection. GA 2005.00254

By 1843, Hill was already an established painter while the twenty-one-year-old Adamson had only just set up shop as Edinburgh’s first professional calotypist. During their brief partnership, Adamson worked the camera and Hill managed the pose. They planned a series of photographic publications including The Fishermen and Women of the Firth of Forth; Highland Character and Costume; Architectural Structures of Edinburgh; Old Castles, Abbeys, &c. in Scotland; and Portraits of Distinguished Scotchmen. Unfortunately, none were realized.

Hill and Adamson are remembered for their calotypes (also called Talbotype after William Henry Fox Talbot), a paper negative that could be used to print multiple positive prints. Strictly speaking, the term calotype refers only to the negative process. Positive prints were made using Talbot’s original photogenic or salted paper process. The negative is developed out chemically (DOP) and the positive print is printed out (POP) by the sun. Whatman’s Turkey Mill paper was a favorite.


David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), Portrait of a Dandy, n.d. [1843-1847]. Calotype and contemporary gelatin silver positive. GC137 Early Photography Collection. GA 2005.00243 and GA 2005.00256


David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), Alexander Earle Monteith, Esq., Sheriff of Fifeshire, ca. 1845. Salted paper print. GC137 Early Photography Collection. GA 2005.00244

David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), Rev Dr James McCosh (1811-1891) [at this stage Free Church minister of Brechin, and later President of Princeton], 1848?. Salted paper print. GC137 Early Photography Collection. GA 2005.00245

For more information, see:
Sara Stevenson, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson: Catalogue of Their Calotypes Taken Between 1843 and 1847 in the Collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 1981). Marquand SAPH Oversize TR680 .xS3q
Sara Stevenson, Hill and Adamson’s The Fishermen and Women of the Firth of Forth (Edinburgh: Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, 1991). Marquand SAPH Oversize TR680 .S907 1991

John Witherspoon 1723-1794

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James Tassie (1735-1799), John Witherspoon, 1723-1794, no date. Wax cameo. Museum Object collection

John Witherspoon (1723-1794) was the sixth president of Princeton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and from 1776 to 1782 a leading member of the Continental Congress. He came from Scotland in 1768 to assume the presidency of the college and held office until his death a quarter of a century later.

With their five surviving children … and 300 books for the college library, the Witherspoons reached Philadelphia early in August 1768. When a few days later they moved on to Princeton, they were greeted a mile out of town by tutors and students, who escorted them to Morven, home of Richard Stockton. That evening the students celebrated the occasion by “illuminating’ Nassau Hall with a lighted tallow dip in each window.

…Witherspoon lived at first in the President’s House (now called the John Maclean House), but after several years he moved about a mile north of the village to Tusculum, a handsome residence he built that still stands on Cherry Hill Road. His route to and from the College is well enough indicated by the street that bears his name.

…Though a man of strong convictions, he showed no inclination to protect his students from exposure to ideas with which he disagreed. The many books he added to the library gave the undergraduate access to a wide range of contemporary literature, including authors with whom he had publicly disputed. In his famous lectures on moral philosophy, not published until after his death and then probably contrary to his wish, his method was to lay out contending points of view and to rely upon persuasive reasoning to guide the student toward a proper conclusion of his own. —W. Frank Craven from Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

John Locker, magistrate and ugly artist

John Locker (1773-1834), A Scene at Billingsgate, 1793. Pen and wash drawing on laid paper. Graphic Arts collection GA 2007.00040. Gift of Dickson Q. Brown, Class of 1895.

Billingsgate was an enormous fish market in eighteenth and nineteenth-century London, and a slang term for coarsely abusive or profane language. The artist of this sketch was John Locker (1773-1834), chief magistrate and registrar of the Vice Admiralty Court at Malta. As the son of Captain William Locker (1731-1800), Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital and a great patron to the arts, John was introduced to many painters while growing up, including Gilbert Stewart (1755-1828), who painted Captain Locker’s portrait shortly before he died.

Both John and his brother Edward Hawke Locker (1777-1849) were educated at Eton College and received training in the visual arts before pursuing naval careers. Edward was the only one to publish his art. In 1813, during the Peninsular War, he traveled to Spain with Lord John Russell and later published a memoir entitled Views of Spain (1824), with illustrations after his own watercolors (Ex 1521.592).

Captain Locker planned a gallery of naval art but it fell to Edward, who became an administrator at Greenwich Hospital, to finally establish a National Maritime Museum. His son, John’s nephew, was Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895), a minor poet and major bibliophile. In Frederick’s book My Confidences. An Autobiographical Sketch Addressed to My Descendants, he wrote, “The Lockers were a homely-looking race.”

“…Uncle John Locker, who was very ugly, used to say that you could not widen the mouth of a Locker without injury to his ears. One day at Malta, at the dinner table, he asked a stranger, who had just landed, to take wine, expressing his pleasure in seeing him there and his obligation in these words: ‘Yesterday, sir, I was the ugliest man in all Malta!’ Tradition says that the man did not resent this speech, so I presume my uncle, with all his impudence, had some social tact.”

Stothard's The Seasons

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Summer, line 232): The House-dog, with the uncouth greyhound, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed Aug. 1. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01999

CoME, gentle SPRING, ethereal Mildness, come,
And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud,
While music wakes around, veil’d in a shower
Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend.

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Summer, line 359): Trail the long rake, or, with the fragrant load, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed: Aug. 2. Graphic Arts GA 2006.02000

Princeton University’s Rare Book collections hold 194 editions of James Thomson’s The Seasons, published from 1726 to 1970, with up to a dozen copies of some editions. The four poems were originally embellished with four allegorical figures of the seasons and later editions included small engravings. In 1793, John Murray brought out an edition “adorned with a set of engravings,” after the designs of Thomas Stothard (1755-1834).

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Summer, line 123): The Zephyrs Floating Loose, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed: June 2. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01998

Eighteen ink and wash sketches by Stothard can be found in the graphic arts collection, with handwritten captions from The Seasons. Each has been assigned a day and month, with two drawings each for nine out of the twelve months. Curator Nancy Finlay has speculated that the set was prepared for an edition of the extremely rare Royal Engagement Pocket Atlas. (

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Spring, line 833): Where sits the shepherd, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed April 2. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01996

According to the Dictionary of National Biography, the artist and librarian began his career in 1779 as an illustrator of books and magazines. Within a year, he sold no less than 148 drawings to the Novelist’s Magazine, for which he was paid a guinea each. Stothard went on to illustrate many important novels, including works by Fielding, Smollett, Richardson, and Sterne, Ridley’s Tales of the Genii, Paltock’s Peter Wilkins, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, Robinson Crusoe, the Arabian Nights, the Vicar of Wakefield, and Gulliver’s Travels.

Stothard revived his designs for The Seasons late in life when he was commissioned to decorate the great staircase at Buckingham Palace.

Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), The Seasons (Spring , line 801): And idly-butting feigns, ca. 1793. Pen and wash drawing. Inscribed April 1. Graphic Arts GA 2006.01995


See also: James Thomson (1700-1748), The Seasons (London: J. Murray, 1793). Rare Books (Ex) 3960.2.38.14

The Texas Ranger, the Play that Pleases

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The Texas Ranger [broadside] (Milwaukee: Greve Show Print Co., no date [ca. 1895]). Western Americana collection.

This broadside advertises “one of the best and most realistic Western dramas ever written,” entitled The Texas Ranger. One side of the poster points out that this is “not an untried play, but one which has had long runs in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago —now being presented with the same strong cast.” According to the promotion, it is “a story of today!”

It certifies that this play has been “endorsed and commended by the most conservative critics in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Buffalo and Providence who unite in pronouncing Texas Ranger one of the best and most realistic Western dramas ever written.”

At the end of the nineteenth century, The Greve Show Printing Company was a theatrical printing business, specializing in commercial posters and moving picture window displays. In 1901, the local Wisconsin business was purchased by Rudolph Pfeil, Jr. (1860-1911), who renamed it the American Show Print Company of Milwaukee. This firm covered the entire United States with their business along with an extensive patronage in Canada, England, and Australia. At its height, the company employed about seventy people, including a dedicated team of artists and master printers.

Patent Shavograph!!

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Shortshanks (pseudonym for Robert Seymour, 1798-1836), Shaving by Steam, around 1826. Hand-colored etching. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process

The sign above the door on the right announces “Patent Shavograph!!” In the main room, the Shavograph operated from right to left, with customers on a circular bench. Several are missing noses or other features, thanks to the machine.

Seymour notes, “Accidents will occur in the best regulated families,” which was picked up in 1850 by Charles Dickens, when he wrote, “‘My dear friend Copperfield,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated by that pervading influence which sanctifies while it enhances the - a - I would say, in short, by the influence of Woman, in the lofty character of Wife, they may be expected with confidence, and must be borne with philosophy.”

This print is one of many announcing various shaving machines. In 1745, J. Dubois sold the etching, A Perspective View and Section of an Engine Propos’d to be Built by Subscription which will Shave Sixty Men a Minute, also Oyl Comb and Powder their Wigs. Here is an image from the British Museum.


Sarah Bernhardt as The Sphinx

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), Inkwell. Self-portrait as a Sphinx, 1880. Cast bronze (cast by Thiebaut Frères from a model by Bernhardt). Gift of Edmund H. Kase Jr., Princeton Class of 1926. Graphic Arts, Museum objects collection.

The French actress Sarah Bernhardt designed this inkwell with herself as a recumbent winged sphinx, including the wings of a bat and the claws of a griffin. A pen is meant to rest in the hair and ink in a bowl at her feet, under a pile of books and a skull. The masks of tragedy and comedy are on either side.

In 1873, Bernhardt performed the role of Berthe de Savigny in the melodrama Le Sphinx at the Comédie Française, together with the actress Sophie Croizette (1847-1901) as Blanche. Adapted from the novel Julie de Trécours by Ostave Feuillet (1821-1890), the story includes suicide and death on stage by Blanche, who wore a poison ring in the shape of a sphinx. When Bernhardt toured several plays in 1880, she took over the part of Blanche, with much success. Both in New York City and in London, Bernhardt exhibited a cast of her self-portrait as the sphinx while the show was being performed.

For more on Bernhardt, see the library’s Sarah Bernhardt Collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, theater programs and playbills, photographs, and other material, Rare Books (Ex) TC134:

The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829

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Robert Seymour (1798-1836), The Mountain in Labour - or Much Ado about Nothing, 1829. Hand-colored etching. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process.

Seymour’s caricature refers to the Roman Catholic Relief Act passed by the British Parliament on March 24, 1829. The Act permitted members of the Catholic Church to sit in parliament, something previously forbidden even if they won an election. The Catholic middle classes could now have new careers in the higher civil service and in the judiciary.

In the center of Seymour’s print are the politicians Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and Prime Minister 1828-1830; Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet (1788-1850) and Prime Minister 1834-1835; and an old woman as doctor, apothecary, and nurse. She is holding a steaming bowl of Political Caudle and a large open book, entitled The Times. She says to Wellington, “Oh! the dear creature, how many will accompany it to Ireland, to spend their money—no doubt Dublin will become more fashionable than Paris—now Doctor never mind the windy warfare of those Gentlemen above!”

On the far left is the Irish politician Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847), founder of the Catholic Association and promoter of the Emancipation Bill. His followers ask him: “Will Mancipation make the Prates grow?” O’Connell answers “Yes.” “Shall we get plenty of Whiskey?” “Yes.” “Will bogs breed Pigs & shall we all wear warm wigs & silk cloaks like you Dan?” “Yes.”

The Times forecast an Emancipation Bill in December 1828 and in February, published some of its provisions. Seymour published his caricature on March 2 and the Act was formally introduced on March 5.

1559 Frontispiece Woodblock


Realdo Colombo (ca. 1510-1559), Original woodblock for the frontispiece of Colombo’s De re anatomica libri XV (Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi for Nicolai Bevilacqua, 1559). Pearwood block (291 x 205 mm), with cartouche cut-out at top for the title type inset. Purchased with funds donated by Ronald A. Brown, Class of 1972; G. Scott Clemons, Class of 1990; Dr. Eugene S. Flamm, Class of 1958; Professor Joshua T. Katz; Professor James H. Marrow; Vsevolod A. Onyshkevych, Class of 1983; Dr. Robert J. Ruben, Class of 1955; Mark S. Samuels Lasner; Terry I. Seymour, Class of 1966; W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976; Bruce C. Willsie, Class of 1986; an anonymous donor; the 75th Anniversary Fund of the Friends of the Princeton University Library; and funds from the Princeton University Library. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process


We have acquired the original woodblock for one of the most famous frontispieces in renaissance medical literature and Colombo’s only published work. In 1543, Colombo assumed the position held by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), as professor of medicine at the University of Padua and the imagery for Colombo’s frontispiece is a direct reference to the frontispiece of Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (1543). The scene also has much in common with Donatello (ca. 1386-1466), The Heart of the Miser, in the arrangement of the students and the dangling arm of the cadaver: Miracle_of_ the_ Misers_ Heart_1450.jpg

Ruth Mortimer writes, “The names of Titian and [Giuseppe Porta] Salviati have been mentioned in connection with this cut. Titian, as a friend of Colombo’s. Salviati, by comparison with the title block that he designed on a similar scale for Marcolini’s Sorti in 1540. Salviati was further associated with Marcolini in 1552 and possibly 1556, and Bevilacqua was successor to Marcolini’s press.”

The suggestion that Titian (ca. 1488-1576) may have designed this frontispiece is not surprising, as the artist had many links with the world of Venetian publishing and was known to collaborate with block cutters in the production of prints, such as his vast multiblock Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army and his dynamic Saint Jerome in the Wilderness. In fact, it was one of his students, Jan Steven van Calcar (ca. 1499-ca. 1546), who designed the woodcuts for Vesalius’s anatomy book.


However, the artist, whoever he was, would have known that he was second choice, since the book was meant to have been a collaboration between Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) and Realdo Colombo.

In 1548 Colombo moved to Rome and wrote to Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici to explain that he wanted to “pursue my dissections and supervise the painters.” He also mentioned his collaboration with the “greatest painter in the world” on a proposed book of anatomy. The work alluded to would be the De re anatomica libri XV, and the painter was Michelangelo, who planned to design the illustrations. Sadly, Michelangelo never completed the designs and Colombo died during the printing of his only book.

According to Andrea Carlino (“The Book, the Body, the Scalpel: Six Engraved Title Pages…,” RES, Anthropology and Aesthetics [1988]), the extant frontispiece offers several references to the intended collaboration. The doctor performing the dissection is unquestionably Colombo, and the man to the right (left in the block), taking the hand of the putto, bears a resemblance to numerous portraits of Michelangelo. The man with the book might be Vesalius with his Fabrica, which Colombo is trying to correct with this volume. The young artist on the floor might refer to whoever took over after Michelangelo.

Richard Lan writes, “For aesthetic as well as commercial motives, frontispieces in sixteenth-century books were objects of considerable importance, and significant effort and expense were lavished on them on the part of publishers: their two-fold purpose was to summarize the contents of the book in a graphically striking way, often with an allegorical element or a ‘concetto’ in the manner of an emblem book, and to ‘sell’ the book. In sum, illustrated title-pages frequently represent the summit of the graphic arts in the printed book, and have been so acknowledged in several exhibitions and anthologies.”

Before Google images

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Johann Georg Heck, Iconographic Encyclopaedia of Science, Literature, and Art. Translated from the German, Bilder Atlas zum Conversations Lexicon (New York: R. Garrigue, 1851). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2003-0014M

Five hundred steel-engraved plates containing upwards of twelve thousand images. Here are a few.






Little Topsy's Song


In the October 21, 1852, issue of Eliza Cook’s Journal, there is an extended article about Harriet Beecher Stowe’s new book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. “Wherever you go,” Cook wrote, “there is Uncle Tom’s Cabin for sale. … Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, an American lady … has now become a household word. It is nearly as superfluous also to say anything about the story with which the people are so familiar…”

“It is said that the characters are exaggerated. … But it must be remembered that Mrs. Stowe, throughout her work, asserts that the Black race are peculiarly distinguished by active and tender emotions,

which render them more than ordinarily faithful and affectionate,—by great patience, which makes them long-suffering,— and by a sense of, and love for, the ludicrous, which keeps them light-hearted in the midst of suffering. We confess that we are disposed to agree with Mrs. Stowe in these opinions.”

The following year, sheet music for “Little Topsy’s Song” was published with words by Eliza Cook (1818-1896) and music by Asa B. Hutichinson (1823-1884). This edition of the broadside was issued in New York City around 1860.

Eliza Cook (1818-1896) , Little Topsy’s Song ([New York]: H. De Marsan, ca. 1860). Graphic Arts GA 2011- in process

Coming: Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Coming: Uncle Tom’s Cabin [Broadside] ([United States]: Ora Martin, Inc., [ca. 1925]). Graphic Arts GA 2011- in process

On June 20, 1900, both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune reported on a panic that occurred during a performance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. A tent had been erected to hold an audience of 400 people but the play was so popular that an additional 200 people crowded into the temporary wooden seats.

Just as Little Eva was ready to do her big scene, a section of seating collapsed and forty people fell to the ground. Men pulled out their knives and cut holes in the tent to escape the panicking crowd. Dozens of women fainted and had to be carried out.

The actors attempted to continue the performance but the Captain of Police refused to allow it. Once quiet was restored, members of the audience were offered a refund but most preferred to receive tickets for the next evening’s performance.

That was a travelling company under the management of Orcott and Roberts. Uncle Tom’s Cabin continued to tour well into the 1920s, when this poster announced yet another performance under the management of Ora Martin, Inc.

Schwitters at the Princeton University Art Museum

Left: Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), Die Kathedrale: 8 Lithos. Die Silbergäule; Bd. 41/42 (Hannover: P. Steegemann, [1920]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) PT1110.C55 S54 no.7
Right: Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), Anna Blume; Dichtungen. Die Silbergäule; Bd. 39/40 (Hannover: P. Steegemann, 1919). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) PT1110.C55 S54 no.6

The Princeton University Art Museum opens the exhibition Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage on March 26, 2010. The University libraries are loaning a few items to compliment this already fabulous display of the artist’s work. From Graphic Arts will come two pamphlets from the Die Silbergäule series featuring cover designs by Schwitters.

For more information on this wonderful exhibition, see:

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  • Stella Jackson-Smith: I have a framed picture by A.Brouet, signed with the read more
  • John Podeschi: I remember Dale fondly from my days at Yale (1971-1980). read more
  • Joyce Barth: I have some or all of this same poem. I read more