Timothy Cole's Woodrow Wilson

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wilson cole block.jpgPhotoxylographic block
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Timothy Cole (1852-1931) after a painting by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Portrait of Woodrow Wilson, Princeton University Class of 1879 (1856-1924), print 1919, printing block 1918. Wood engraving and block. GC030 Timothy Cole Prints Collection.

In his Conversations on Engraving, Timothy Cole wrote, “Deeper and more vital questions now confronted the engraver than ever perplexed the masters of earlier schools. A certain orchestration of color was demanded…all involving a more subtle sense of tonal gradations and a completer apprehension of values than was ever displayed by the old school.” (GAX NE 1000.C67)

Cole’s answer to this was to develop an expertise in photoxylography (a description of which was posted earlier). Basically this meant developing the photographic negative on the block and carving through it.

Princeton is fortunate to not only own Cole’s wood engraved prints but also his blocks. Above is an example of a photoxylographic block.

You will notice that the print is larger than the printing block. Because the image began with a photographic negative, which could be made in any size, several printing plates could be prepared in different sizes. This block is made for a cabinet card and the print is larger so it would be suitable for framing.