July 2011 Archives

Colored Photography in 1848

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Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-1870), Old Lime Kiln. View on the Regents Canal. Nr Hackney Road from the bridge taken by R. Bingham, coloured by R. Willats about 1848. ca. 1848. Salt paper print with hand coloring; plate 34 in Richard Willats’s photography album, no date. Graphic Arts collection GA 2005.00262.

Bingham was an amateur photographer active both in London and Paris during the 1840s. This photograph was taken in the southeastern London area of Limehouse (named after the lime kilns located at Limekiln Dock). The Limehouse Cut was opened in 1770 to provide a short cut for grain and malt barges, from the River Lea to the River Thames. The Regent’s Canal Company, formed in 1812, built an additional canal to link the Grand Junction at Paddington with Limehouse.

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Richard Willats also hand-tinted this calotype (left) taken by a Jersey photographer named Brodie. The Island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands off Normandy, is a British Crown dependency but not part of the United Kingdom or the European Union. By 1840, up to 5,000 English men and women had settled in Jersey.

Princeton’s Willats album holds twenty-one calotypes and salted paper prints taken by Brodie on the Isle of Jersey and another forty-three that can be attributed to him, including genre studies and portraits.

Francis A. Comstock, professor and lithographer

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Francis A. Comstock (1897-1981), Tiger Gate and Little Hall, Princeton University, [1952]. Lithograph. GA 2007.01044
Still Life no. 2, 1950s. Lithograph. GA 2007.01043

Francis Adams Comstock, Class of 1919 (1897-1981) studied in the first classes offered at Princeton University in architectural design, added to the curriculum in 1915. He graduated the same year Princeton officially opened a School of Architecture and joined its faculty only a few years later, where he remained for the next forty years.

Comstock later served as director and chief architect of the Newport Restoration Foundation, the preservation group founded by Newport heiress Doris Duke.

A noted draftsman, calligrapher, and printmaker, Comstock rendering landscapes and architectural studies in the Precisionist style, not unlike that of Charles Sheeler (1883-1965). As a friend and colleague of graphic arts’ first curator Elmer Adler, he agreed to design the final print for the Princeton Print Club, published in 1952 (top left).

Each year, the Print Club invited an outstanding American artist to make sketches of the Princeton campus for the annual Club Dividend Print. A signed proof of this print was presented to each member. Once Adler left the campus, the Club was also discontinued.


Still Life, 1948. Lithograph. GA 2007.02.74

The Riot in Broad Street

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James Heath (1757-1834) after Francis Wheatley (1747-1801), The Riot in Broad Street, 1790. Hand colored engraving. Graphic Arts 2011- in process

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The British Parliament passed the first Act for Catholic Relief in 1778 and the following year, Lord George Gordon (1751-1793), president of the London Protestant Association, formed a campaign in opposition. On June 2, 1780, Gordon and 60,000 protesters marched for the withdrawal of Catholic emancipation.

In the following days about 100 buildings owned by Roman Catholics or by the Catholic Church were looted or burnt down. The Bank of England, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street were all attacked. On June 7, the militia was called in; nearly 450 people were arrested and 300 were shot.

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A few years later, the artist Francis Wheatley (1747-1801) was inspired to paint the scene and on April 13, 1784, print publisher John Boydell (1719-1804) entered into a contract with Wheatley to use his painting as the basis for a large engraving. The original contract can be seen in the collection of William H. Tower, Class of 1894 (1871-1950) in Firestone Library (CO911, Box 7, folder 30). Boydell paid Wheatley £210 for the loan of the painting to make prints he then sold for 1 guinea each. James Heath (1757-1834) was commissioned to engrave the copper plate.

Before the work was completed, there was a fire at Heath’s house and the painting was destroyed. Unfortunately, the contract stipulates that Boydell was responsible to return the work, barring “Fire or other Inevitable Accidents.” The engraving was issued in 1790.

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Amos Nattini's Dante

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), La Divina Commedia, Imagini di Amos Nattini (Milano: Istituto nazionale dantesco, [1923-1941]). GAX Oversize PQ4302 .F23e. Three volumes; 82 cm. each. 100 color lithographs by Amos Nattini (1892-1985).


In 1921, on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, the Istituto nazionale dantesco in Milan commissioned a new, illustrated edition of the poet’s Divine Comedy. The artist chosen for the project was Amos Nattini, who was charged with creating one plate for each canto. For the next twenty years, Nattini worked on his Dante, releasing each of the three volumes are they were completed in 1928, 1936, and finally 1941.

Princeton is fortunate to hold two sets of Nattini’s elephant portfolios, one of which needed to be moved recently. Special thanks go to John Walako and Mike Siravo who helped to lift volumes. No question that this is the heaviest poem ever published.


I thought it might be interesting to compare the first fully illustrated edition of Dante (the third illustrated edition overall). According to Goff B-644, the illustration scheme follows closely that of the Ragazzo/Giunta Italian Bible, which appeared less than five months earlier. A major frontispiece cut within an architectural frame introduces each of the three parts with numerous vignette cuts for the cantos. The cuts have been attributed to Hind’s Venetian popular designer, recently named the Master of Pico.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), La Commedia (Venice: Bernardinus Benalius and Matteo Capcasa, 3 March 1491). Woodcuts. Edited by Cristoforo Landino and Pietro da Figino. Matteo Capcasa, printer. Prints attributed to the Master of Pico. Rare Books: William H. Scheide Library (WHS) 5.2.9 Three full-page woodcuts and numerous vignettes.

Allison Delarue and the ballet

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Right: Fanny Cerrito (1821-1909) and Arthur Saint-Leon (1821-1870), mount for a clock. Porcelain figure; 25.5 x 17 x 9.5 cm. Graphic Arts TC 012

Left: Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950) as a harlequin in Carnaval. 1920. Porcelain figure; 26 x 11 x 10 cm. Graphic Arts TC 012

Allison Delarue, Class of 1928, wrote: “For myself, I believe that Beauty still dwells among the rocks - scarcely to be reached at all and never without labour undreamed of by the average unperverted lover. One makes Beauty rarely then; but the making, however slender and elusive and unsatisfactory for the lover, has the merit of being creative.”

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Mr. Delarue left a marvelous collection with Princeton University, including these porcelain figurines. For a complete inventory and finding aid prepared by John Delaney, see his website: http://libweb5.princeton.edu/Visual_Materials/Delarue/Htmls/index.html

Delarue was a staff member of McCarter Theatre (1951-1972), as well as a dance historian and balletomane. He graduated from the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey, and later received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Princeton. While pursuing graduate studies at Oxford University, Delarue become interested in the history of ballet in England and studied dance with the Hon. Martin-Haney. Upon his return to the United States, he continued his interest in ballet while serving on the staff of the Cooper Union Museum in New York City.

His collection includes approximately 170 objects relating to the ballet and its history, including porcelain figurines, paintings and portraits, drawings, engravings, costume designs, lithographs, prints, posters, musical scores, and printed books. There are representations, in various forms, of Fanny Elssler, Marie Taglioni, Fanny Cerito, Waslaw Nijinsky, and others by such artists as F. Kruger, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Joseph Eymer, Paul Cadmus, Faivre, Lerasseur, and others.

Minstrel blocks

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Princeton’s graphic arts collection holds a large box marked only “Minstrel blocks,” containing woodblocks cut to illustrated a nineteenth-century story. We have not been able to identify the artist or the book. If you have a clue, please drop us a note or attach the answer here. Thank you.

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18th-century Dutch Gilt Paper

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According to Etherington & Roberts’ Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, this type of 18th-century decorative paper was known as “Dutch Gilt,” although it was actually produced in Germany and Italy. The decoration was meant to imitate the brocades and damasks of the period. Many are embossed and the printing of colors was done by wood or metal rollers, along with added stenciling.

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This sheet has been identified as pattern number 4, a floral pattern on embossed, gilt, and color-stenciled paper made by Paul Raymund in Nuremberg, 1700s. These sheets were often used for temporary paper bindings, especially on small children’s books.

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Dutch Gilt or Brocade papers were imported and exported throughout Europe, as well as to the United States. Rare Books and Special Collections holds a number of volumes either bound in Dutch gilt papers or using them as endpapers. Below is an example from the Sinclair Hamilton Collection in Graphic Arts, published just north of us in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

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Westminster Assembly (1643-1652), The New-England primer, improved, for the more easy attaining the true reading of English. To which is added, the Assembly of Divines Catechism (Elizabeth-town [N.J.], Printed and pub. by Shepard Kollock, 1795). Bound in Dutch gilt paper wrappers. Gift of Sinclair Hamilton. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 1373

London in 1844

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One day in 1844, twenty-six year old Joseph Cundall walked from his printing shop on Old Bond Street down to the Thames River carrying the box camera he recently designed and built, along with bottles of’ silver nitrate and gallic acid. Once settled on the Blackfriars Bridge, under a black cloth, he painted the chemistry onto some writing paper that had already been treated with silver nitrate and potassium iodide and then, inserted it into the camera. Focusing on St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance, Cundall opened the lens and made a single exposure.

This calotype (paper negative) was used later to make several positive prints, one of which was given to his friend, optician Richard Willats, who pasted it into an album. That album and what might be the earliest photograph taken by Joseph Cundall is now at Princeton University.

The Victorian children’s book publisher, Joseph Cundall (1818-1895), was also a pioneer in the art of photography, working in London at the same time as William Henry Fox Talbot. While Talbot was proprietary and secretive, Cundall often joined forces with others and was responsible for the careers of many young artists. Together with Robert Hunt, he founded the Calotype Club in 1847 and later, was a founding member of the Royal Photographic Society of London. In 1852, he established The Photographic Institution at 168 New Bond Street, which became ground zero for all photographic activity at the time. His career culminated in 1871 when the British Government sent him to Bayeux to organize the first photographic record of the famous tapestry.

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The first photograph taken from a negative on glass


Alphonse Louis Poitevin (1819-1882), [Luxembourg Palace and grounds], ca. 1850; plate 42 verso in Richard Willats’s photography album, no date. Graphic Arts collection GA 2005.00262.

In the personal album of amateur London photographer, Richard Willats, is a print depicting the exterior of the Luxembourg Palace and grounds in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Willat’s inscription reads, “Poitvan’s [sic] - Albumen Process on Glass - Luxemburg - Paris / The first photograph taken from a Negative on Glass / Exhibited by J. & R. Willats Opticians 98 Cheapside, London.”

The photographic use of albumen (egg white) on paper was credited in 1850 to Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard (1802-1872) but at the same time, Alphonse Louis Poitevin (1819-1882) was experimenting with printing from albumen on glass and on stone. The French engineer and inventor, Poitevin is credited with the development of a variety of photomechanical processes, in an attempt to transfer an image from a photographic negative into a permanent ink print.

Writing in 1892, Sylvester Koehler explains Poitevin’s early use of albumen to make photolithographs: “A grained lithographic stone was covered with an albuminous solution mixed with bichromate of potash, and exposed, after it had dried, under a negative. The picture was then developed, i. e., the unchanged albumen was washed away with cold water, and the stone treated with acid and gum as usual.” (Exhibition Illustrating the Technical Methods of the Reproductive Arts).

More recently, Sylvie Aubenas wrote, “In 1855 Poitevin perfected the process of photolithography by coating a lithographic stone with albumen (or, alternatively, gelatin) sensitized with potassium dichromate. In 1857, after attempting unsuccessfully to exploit the process himself, Poitevin sold the rights to the lithographic printer Lemercier.” (Oxford Companion to the Photograph)

Anyone who is interested in Poitevin’s multifaceted career can read his personal notebooks held in the La Bibliothèque nationale de France.

An Ugly Face, the Finest Recommendation

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Fairburn’s Gallimaufry Songster and Comical Budget for 1812; Containing Lots of Fun, Gig and Humor, to be Found in All the New, Fashionable and Popular Songs, Now Singing, and Lately Sung at the Theatre Royal Second edition. (London: J. Fairburn, [1812]). Etchings by George Cruikshank. Graphic Arts GA 1812.6

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In William Jaggard’s Liverpool literature: a descriptive bibliography of old deeds, codices, maps … we find a description of The Ugly Club, which was “founded Jan. 21st, 1743, and [probably] disbanded Nov., 1757.” Jaggard continues, “in its day it included many of the chief merchants and residents within its fold, possessed Chaplain, Barber, and Bell-Ringers, met regularly at the Exchange and Tom’s Coffee House for at least fourteen years, and provided amusement in days when theatres and newspapers were less familiar.”

The Club’s motto was: “An Ugly Face the finest recommendation.” A large mouth, thin jaws, blubber lips, little goggling or squinting eyes were esteemed considerable qualifications. The most favored and honorable peculiarity was a large “carbuncle potato nose.”

The qualifications for the President were described as: “Little eyes, one bigger than ye other; long nose; thin lanthorn jaws; large upper lip; mouth from ear to ear, resembling a shark’s; rotten set of irregular teeth; visage long and narrow; in short, ye Phoenix of ye Society, as the like won’t appear again this thousand years.”

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Princeton University owns over four dozen books published by John Fairburn, including Fairburn Senr.’s Dashing Song Book; Fairburn Senr.’s Laughable Song Book; Fairburn’s New Comic Song Book; Fairburn Senr.’s Tickling Song Book; Fairburn’s Dashing Songster; Fairburn’s Everlasting Songster; Fairburn’s Gallimaufry Songster; Fairburn’s Jovial Songster; Fairburn’s Laughable Songster; and Fairburn’s London Brilliant Songster.

Out of the Sky, 9/11

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, at 3:00 in the Chancellor Green Rotunda, artist Werner Pfeiffer will assemble Out of the Sky: 9/11, a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. This three-dimensional book/sculpture was produced in an edition of fifty-two copies on the fifth anniversary of the attack in 2006. When assembled, it presents a model of the twin towers nearly six feet high with images and names of the victims printed throughout.

A reception in Firestone Library will follow. This event is part of Memory and the Work of Art, a collaborative investigation into the relationship between the arts and cultural memory. The presentation is free and open to the public.

German American artist Werner Pfeiffer was born in 1937 and studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart before immigrating to the United States. Following an award winning career in graphic design, he was appointed Professor of Art at Pratt Institute and director of the Pratt Adlib Press. Many of Pfeiffer’s books are held in the Graphic Arts Collection including Liber Mobile; An Experimental Book (GAX 2006-0070E); Werner Pfeiffer: Endangered Species (GA 2007-1002N); B (GAX 2007-0982N); Alphabeticum (GAX 2007-0234Q); and Out of the Sky: Remembering 911 (GAX 2007-0031E).

Putti Printing

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The French engraver and typographer Louis Luce was the inventor of the light typeface we call “Luce”. He was born in Paris in 1695 and worked first for the silver and goldsmiths. Eventually, he was named printer to the King and engraver to the Imprimerie Nationale. In 1771 Luce wrote Essai d’une nouvelle typographie: ornée de vignettes, fleurons, trophées, filets, cadres & cartels, inventés, dessinés & exécutés. Graphic Arts GAX Z250.L944. Just a note, former owners of our copy include William M. Ivins and Theodore Low De Vinne.

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Louis-René Luce (1695-1774), L’impremerie presente aux sciences une epreuve, et les couronnes au temple de memoire (Printing Presents Science a Proof, and the Crown to the Temple of Memory), 1761. Engraving. GC077 French Prints Collection.

Allegory of Vice

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Etienne Picart (1632-1721) after a painting by Correggio (ca. 1489-1534), Allegory of Vice, 1676. Engraving. Graphic Arts French prints GC077.

The French engraver Étienne Picart (also known as Picart Romanus or Stephanus Picart) spent his early years in Rome engraving the Italian masters before settling in Paris. He opened a studio on the Rue St Jacques, au Buste de Monseigneur, engraving prints and book illustrations. In 1710, Picart and his son Bernard emigrated to the Netherlands where he continued to print until his death at the age of eighty-nine.

Explanations of this allegory describe a naked man, his hands tied behind him, being tormented by three naked women with serpents in their hair. Personally, I’m not sure he looks tormented. In the center foreground, a small boy tempts us with a bunch of grapes. The inscription reads in part: Image de l’homme sensuel, enchante par la volupte, lie par la mauvaise habitude, et tourmente par la synderese (The image of the sensual man, enchanted by lust, bound by bad habit, and tormented by conscience).

German Toy Soldiers


A recent article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (http://paw.princeton.edu) mentioned our collection of 48 Wehrmacht miniatures (German toy soldiers from World War II), ca. 1940s. Museum object collection Ex 5042. Gift of Caron Cadle, Class of 1979 and the Class of 1939 Foundation.

This collection comes with several letters describing the collecting efforts of Frederic Fox, Class of 1939 and the campaign of Caron Cadle to finish and bring a collection of these toy soldiers to Princeton.


Here is a brief exerpt: “I received the commission to assemble a collection of toy soldiers of the Third Reich in early June 1978, from Dr. Frederick Fox, Class of 1939, Keeper of Princetoniana. The class of ‘39 wished to present such a collection to Firestone Library as a repository of the culture and mentality of Hitler’s Germany. Dr. Fox had purchased a fine selection of these soldiers in Koblenz during a bicycle tour of Germany in 1939, but had given several to President Eisenhower’s grandson while he was working with the President. After examining Dr. Fox’s remaining soldiers, I was presented with one of them to use as a guide on my journeys. On June 15th, 1978, I departed for Europe, primarily to engage in research for my senior thesis … but equally intrigued by the challenge of finding toys of an era forty years past.” -Caron Cadle, ‘79


For more information, see:
Reggie Polaine, The War Toys = Kriegsspielzeuge. No.1, The Story of Hausser-Elastolin (London: New Cavendish Books, 1979). Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) NK8475.M5 S75
Was Sich die Hausser-Jugend wünscht! (Germany. Elastolin. 1935-. ; 1936). Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Pamphlets — European 20 — Advertising — Box 1 32567

Save the Date: 7 October 2011

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Detail from Beer Street, 1751. Etching and engraving.

Sin & the City

William Hogarth’s London

26 August 2011-29 January 2012
Firestone Library
Princeton University

Opening event:
Friday, 7 October 2011, 2:00 p.m.

101 McCormick Hall
Linda Colley, Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History, Princeton University;
Mark Hallett, Professor of History of Art, University of York;
Tim Hitchcock, Professor of Eighteenth-Century History, University of Hertfordshire; and
Claude Rawson, Maynard Mack Professor of English, Yale University.
James Steward, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum will moderate.
A reception will follow.

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Detail from A Midnight Modern Conversation, 1732/33. Etching, 3rd state.

On Sunday, 13 November 2011, The Practitioners of Musick will present Hogarth and His Musical Friends at 3:00, featuring John Burkhalter on English and small flutes; Clara Rottsolk, soprano; Donna Fournier, Baroque cello; and Donovan Klotzbeacher on harpsichord. A reception will follow in the main gallery of Firestone Library.

A gallery tour with the curator will be offered on Sunday 23 October 2011 at 3:00 in the Firestone Library main gallery.

This exhibition and its related events are free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Princeton University History Department, and the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. For more information, please call 609-258-3197.

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Detail from Industry and Idleness, plate 3, 1747. Engraving.

How I want thee, humorous Hogarth!
Thou, I hear, a pleasant rogue art.
Were but you and I acquainted,
Every monster should be painted:
You should try your graving tools
On this odious group of fools;
Draw the beasts as I describe them:
Form their features while I gibe them;
Draw them like; for I assure you,
You will need no car’catura;
Draw them so that we may trace
All the soul in every face.
—Fragment from Jonathan Swift, The Legion Club (1736)

In addition, a website has been built, mapping the eighteenth-century locations depicted in Hogarth’s prints on a contemporary London street map.

View Sin and the City: William Hogarth’s London in a larger map. Then, compare it to John Rocque’s A Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, 1745. Available in full at: Rocque. These maps will also be available in the gallery.

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