Tag Archives: Graphic Arts

The rarest march of intellect

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New Pegagean Langers or Balloon Brigade

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William Heath (1794/95-1840), March of Intellect No. 2, 1829. Etching with hand coloring. Graphic Arts Collection. Purchased in honor of Dale Roylance with the generous support of the Friends of the Princeton University Library

William Heath created three large, multifaceted satires of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). The first and third can be found in most collections of British caricature, including ours, but the second is very rare. Thanks to the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Graphic Arts Collection has now acquired this plate in honor of Dale Roylance.

The complexity of the scene reflects the cacophony of inventions and intellectual pursuits raging at that time. Heath begins the group in January 1928, following an accident in the Thames Tunnel, and each feature tunnels to locations around the world. Although they are all varied, the first features accidents due to reading and study; the second focuses on inventions and patents; and the third includes fantastical travel machines.


New York City 1716

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William Burgis (active 1722-1736), A South Prospect of the Flourishing City of New York in ye Province of New York in America, 1721,
reproduced for I.N.P. Stokes (1867-1944), The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 (New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1915-1928). Vol. 1, no. 25.

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William Burgis (fl. 1722-1736), The South Prospect of the City of New York in America, n.d. [ca. 1717-1746]. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2008.00231

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William Burgis (fl. 1722-1736), The South Prospect of the City of New York, in North America, 1761. Engravings. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2008.00232

Beginning in 1716, William Burgis stood at the Brooklyn Heights shore and drew the waterfront along the east side of Manhattan, calling it “A South Prospect of the Flourishing City of New York in ye Province of New York in America.” The drawing was probably sent to London to have the British printmaker John Harris (active 1686-1740) engrave the design onto four copper plates, which were printed on sheets of paper 20 ½ x 9 ¼ inches, altogether over six feet long. We know it was completed by 1721 because it was advertised in The American Weekly Mercury as “A Curious Prospect of the City of New-York…”


Thou Art the Beast of Many Heads


William Heath (1794/95-1840), Modern St George Attacking the Monster of Despotism, April 6, 1810. Graphic Arts Collection British Caricature

When William Heath published a satire on Sir Francis Burdett’s opposition to Gale Jones’s imprisonment, Heath represented Spencer Perceval and his colleagues as a hydra or monster with multiple heads. It is a strong visual image but Heath was of course not the first to use the device. Knowing who he stole it from is complicated since the caricaturists borrowed and stole their parodies quite freely.


The Satirist, or Monthly Meteor. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1808

Surely Heath was reading Samuel Tipper’s magazine The Satirist or Monthly Meteor, in which Samuel De Wilde presented another adaptation on the symbol in The Opposition Hydra, or Brittania’s Worst Foe. This might be the most immediate inspiration for Heath.

Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain Living in 1807-8

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“Lives of great men all remind us we may make our lives sublime.”—Robert Hunt

Designed by Sir John Gilbert (1817-1897); Drawn by Frederick John Skill (1824-1881) and William Walker the Younger (1791-1867); Engraved by William Walker and Georg Zobel (1810-1881); Printed by J. Brooker. The Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain Living in the Years 1807-8. Published by William Walker, London. 4 June 1862. Stipple engraving. 65 x 111 cm (25

William Heath’s print dealers

View William Heath and his Print Dealers in a larger map

In order to better understand the activities of the British caricaturist William Heath, I created a google map of his dealers from 1808 to 1840. Control/click on the link above to see a larger view. Although it is often repeated that he worked exclusively with Thomas McLean, Heath was doing business with many of the print and book shops around town.

heath good humour.jpgThomas McLean’s Shop
AN00632247_001_l.jpgSamuel William Fores’s Shop
AN00038375_001_l.jpgHannah Humphrey’s Shop
heath march of morality.jpgThomas McLean’s Shop
spectator.jpgUnidentified shop. Variation on McLean’s, see Paul Pry figure and other Heath caricatures

(Via Graphic Arts)

Domenico Fossati Sketchbooks


“Perhaps the most charming objects in Professor Friend’s collection are the two sketchbooks by the Venetian artist and stage designer Domenico Fossati (1743-1784),” writes David R. Coffin, Class of 1940 for the Princeton University Library Chronicle.

“The small sketchbook … has on its first folio the date “4 Febrajo 1784,” the year of Fossati’s death, but there is evidence that it was used by him earlier. A pocketbook of thirty-eight folios, most of the sketches are hasty ones for stage sets done in ink, but scattered among the stage designs are some wonderful details of rococo ornament done in pencil or in a gray-blue wash with a brush.”


Kent’s Cups and Saucers

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Around 1937, the American artist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was commissioned by Faye Bennison, the owner of Vernon Kilns in Vernon, California, to design several dinnerware patterns. Kent completed at least three sets, using images from two of his most popular books, Moby Dick (1930) and Salamina (1935), along with a patriotic set he called “Our America.” The Graphic Arts Collection holds a set of Salamina dishes, pictured here.

Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), Salamina (New York: Harcourt, Brace and company, 1935).Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) G750 .K4 1935

Herman Melville (1819-1891), Moby Dick; or, The Whale; illustrated by Rockwell Kent (New York: Random House, 1930). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) PS2384 .M6 1930b


Blocks for Candide

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The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to hold the metal relief blocks for the paragraph capitals designed by Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) for Candide by Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet 1694-1778). Kent created a full alphabet although only a few blocks were used in the final publication.

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In the spring of 1927, twenty-nine year-old Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) and his twenty-five year-old friend Donald Klopfer (1902-1986) established a fine press imprint called Random House, with Candide as their first book, printed by Elmer Adler’s Pynson Printers in The New York Times Annex. The edition included 1,470 black and white copies priced at fifteen dollars each and ninety-five hand-colored copies priced at seventy five dollars. The book was hand set in type designed by Adler’s partner Lucian Bernhard (1883-1972) and paragraph designs and illustrations by their friend Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), both cast by the Bauersche Giesserei, Frankfort. (more…)

Pennyroyal Caxton Bible

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Thanks to the generous donation of Bruce and Suzie Kovner, the Princeton University Library is the proud new owner of the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, designed and created by Barry Moser [seen above]. Moser spent four years crafting the 232 relief engravings that illustrate this Bible. Printed in a deluxe limited edition by the Pennyroyal Caxton Press, Moser’s Bible is also available in a trade edition released by Viking Studio, which can also be found in Princeton’s collection.

The Holy Bible: Containing All the Books of the Old and New Testaments. Book designed and illustrated by Barry Moser; printed by Bradley Hutchinson and Harold McGrath; bound by Claudia Cohen and Sarah Creighton; and type designed by Matthew Carter. North Hatfield, Mass.: Pennyroyal Caxton Press, 1999. Graphic Arts Collection. Limited edition, copy 142 of 400. Gift of Bruce and Suzie Kovner.


Les Songes drolatiques de Pantagruel


The first edition of Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel, ou sont contenues plusieurs figures de l’invention de maistre François Rabelais (The Comic Dreams of Pantagruel, where several figures are contained in the invention of Master François Rabelais) was published in 1565. Since then, these curious figures have been reprinted many time, including this 1922 German edition Die trollatischen Traüme des Pantagruel (Graphic Arts Collection (GA), PQ1687 .S615 1922).

The original prints are attributed the French engraver and illustrator François Desprez, who printed and published two other sets of imaginative designs in 1567; Recueil de la diuersité des habits (A Collection of Diverse Costumes) and Recueil des effigies des roys de France (A Collection of Pictures of the Kings of France). (more…)