Drawing Instruments and Devices

camera obscura9On a recent visit to the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford (http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/) several devices on display were primarily for the use of artists rather than scientist. A Wollaston Prism Pattern Camera Lucida (seen above) was made in London during the 19th century and is one of 64 variations in the museum. They are a much easier alternative for drawing in nature than the portable camera obscura seen below.

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Also on view is the photography equipment used or associated with Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who was a lecturer in mathematics at Christ Church. Note the 1860 wet collodion outfit of photographic chemicals (below right) from Hockin & Company carries the initials C.L.D. The box camera and plate tank are of the period, although they might not be from his personal studio.

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camera obscura7An easy to use database provides more Dodgson material with images: http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/collections/imu-search-page/record-details/?thumbnails=on&irn=6022&TitInventoryNo=61498

Beardsley oddity

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Curt Moreck [pseudonym for Konrad Haemmerling, 1888-1957], Meister der Erotik in der Kunst (=Master of Eroticism in Art). Aubrey Beardsley. Ein Blatt zu Lukians wahrer Geschichte. Zwei Blätter zu Wilde’s Salomé. Juvenal geisselt das Weib. Ein Blatt zu Lysistrata Vignete … (Privatdruck, MCMXX [1920]). Graphic Arts Collection 2015- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a privately printed limited edition of prints by Audrey Beardsley. This small (229 × 225 mm) volume in a dark green paper wrapper holds five prints from different series and a few pages of text.

The item was ingeniously found by Simon Beattie, who notes that the previous year Haemmerling had produced a new German translation of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, which was published, with Beardsley’s illustrations, by Heinrich Böhme in Hanover. Here, Haemmerling writes about sin and sensuality, championing Beardsley’s work for its “way of viewing the world and people with alarming insight.”

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Polyorama or Endless Changes of Landscapes

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polyorama or endless changes3 Polyorama or, Endless changes of landscapes (London: Hodgson & Company, [ca. 1824]). 16 hand colored lithographed cards forming an interchangeable panoramic landscape view. Graphic Arts Collection 2015-in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired an early lithographic Polyorama, which presumably follows the success of John Clark’s Myriorama. The cards are printed by the English firm Hodgson & Company, which published a number of lithographic landscape views during the 1820s.

‘The formulaic nature of the picturesque landscape had become, by the nineteenth century, a visual cliché, so much so that it was fashioned by John Clark into a children’s game called the Myriorama, a Collection of Many Thousand Landscapes in 1824. Clark followed this first Myriorama of English-like scenery with a second series composed of Italian scenery which made explicit the classical, Claudean antecedents of Gilpin’s picturesque formula. As the suffix ‘orama’ suggests, Clark saw his Myriorama as the domestic counterpart to those large-scale popular landscape amusements, the panorama and diorama.’ –Ann Bermingham, Learning to Draw: Studies in the Cultural History of a Polite and Useful Art (London: Paul MellonCentre, 2000): 107–08.

According to an advertisement in the Bristol Mercury of 17th May 1824, the views were by the Irish artist Frederick Calvert (c.1785–c.1845), who specialized in seascapes and landscapes, and later, also published a series of 39 plates depicting picturesque views of Staffordshire and Shropshire.

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See also Ralph Hyde, “Myrioramas, Endless Landscapes: The Story of a Craze,” Print Quarterly, December 2004.

The Chignon, both print and plate

cruikshank chignon1George Cruikshank (1792-1878), The Chignon, 1870. Colored etching and copper printing plate. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2010.01192. Gift of Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888.

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The Meirs Collection of Cruikshanlciana, consists of 894 illustrated books as well as hundreds of prints, drawings, and watercolors presented by Richard W. Meirs, Class of 1888.

One of the many treasures Meirs collected and had specially bound is this pairing of an etched copper plate and the hand colored etching pulled from that plate.

For more information about Princeton’s holdings see E. D. H. Johnson, “The George Cruikshank Collection at Princeton,” The Princeton University Library Chronicle 85 (1973-74): 1-33.

cruikshank chignon3Lettered below image “Designed & Etched by George Cruikshank” “The Chignon. The Chignon is a sort of Cupid’s nest, But where the little fellow has little rest, For it seems to be the Ladies delight, To keep him firing away, from Morn till night, But the brave Chaps who are hit, know tis their lot, And if the truth must be told, they like to be Shot! GCk 1870″ and “London. Pub.d by W. Tweedie 337 Strand-”
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Anamorphic Images

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verne anamorphicThe class HUM 598/ENG 547/ART 569, Humanistic Perspectives on the Arts: Drawing and the Line in Literature and the Visual Arts visited the Graphic Arts Collection yesterday to view some of our many anamorphic prints and devices.

Here is one example by Istvan Orosz, Ile mysterieuse [Mysterious Island], 1983. Anamorphic etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2003.00001. Gift of anonymous donor.

The print holds a hidden image of the author, Julies Verne (1828-1905) within a setting from his fictional landscape.

A bit about this wonderful class: “This course will pursue some of the relations between perceiving, describing and knowing in the humanities and art practice. Studying the creation and meaning of the line in visual art, poetry, and a handful of philosophical texts, we will examine reversible processes of representation and abstraction as we also consider the mimetic and inventive powers of ekphrasis and art writing.”

Here is a video by the Brothers Quay, explaining anamorphosis:

Brothers Quay -1991- De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis (1991), Published on Apr 6, 2013

Anamorphosis is one of the few examples of an “animated documentary.” The 15-minute film, richly laden with detailed English-language narration, actually constitutes a detailed lecture, where Stephen and Timothy Quay use animation to explore the now forgotten 17th and 18th century art form of the title. The Quays reveal how, in that practice, special paintings employ visual distortion to disclose hidden messages and symbols when viewed from different angles. Leszek Jankowski composed the score.


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Questione Romana Risolta (The Roman Question Resolved), no date (ca. 1929). Pen and watercolor. Graphic Arts Collection GAX European drawings

This unsigned drawing might be for a cartoon by Thomas Theodor Heine (1867-1948), a German artist and caricaturist, best known for the satirical Munich magazine Simplicissimus. However, the it might be from a later period. If you have seen the final printed version, please let us know. Note the artist’s mark on the lower right corner.

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Nordfeldt on Wall Street

nordfeldt wall streetBror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt (1878-1955), Wall Street, no date. Drypoint. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2015- in process
nordfeldt wall street reversedThe same view today up Broad Street, looking toward Federal Hall at the corner of Wall Street. I have laterally reversed the image to match the etching above.
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There are two Nordfeldt drypoints from the early twentieth century entitled Wall Street or New York: Wall Street. One is looking west on Wall Street with a view of Trinity Church. The second one, seen here, is actually a view looking north on Broad Street, standing close to Exchange Place, ending with Federal Hall at Wall Street. A third drypoint focuses on a similar area in lower Manhattan looking north on Broadway. The three are often confused.
nordfeldt wall street2Detail of Nordfeldt’s drypoint

nordfeldt wall street 7Detail without reversing the architecture.

In the actual street, we see the old New York Stock Exchange on the left and the Federal Hall slightly to the right. Broad Street was named because it was broader than the other streets in the area. It follows the route of a colonial canal that emptied into the east River, until it was filled in and paved in 1676.

This corner offers an amazing view of three classical orders of columns: the plain, heavy Doric at Federal Hall; the slender Ionic at 14 Wall Street; and the elaborate Corinthian with their decorative capitals at the Stock Exchange (detail below).

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2016, The Year of Shakespeare

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Detail of Falstaff

2016 will be the quatercentenary of William Shakespeare’s death and celebrations are planned around the globe on all aspects of Shakespearean history, poetry, and performance. We are planning several events at Princeton University, including a small gallery exhibition.

To that end, we pulled our elephant portfolio of Henry Bunbury’s Shakespeare prints–engravings with stipple and hand coloring–and I have posted a few of them here. The set was published by Thomas Macklin, manager of the Poet’s Gallery, in direct competition with John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery.

Bunbury’s designs were engraved over five year by Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), Peltro William Tomkins (1760-1840), Thomas Cheeseman (active 1780-1790), and Robert Mitchell Meadows (died 1812).

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Henry William Bunbury (1750-1811), Twenty-Two Plates Illustrative of Various Interesting Scenes in the Plays of Shakspeare (London: Published originally by the late T. Macklin, sold by J. Nichols & son, [1792-1796]). Graphic Arts Collection Oversize Rowlandson 1792.2e

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Plates include:
Falstaff Playing the Prince, the Prince Playing the King; Romeo and Juliet in Friar Lawrence’s Cell; Macbeth and The Murderers; Falstaff at Hern’s Oak; Jacques discovered by the Duke; Rosalind, Celia & Touchstone; Falstaff’s Escape; Tameing the Shrew; Falstaff Reproved by King Henry; Helena in The Dress of A Pilgrim; Prospero Disarming Ferdinand;
Dick the Butcher & Smith the Weaver seizing the Clerk of Chatham; Fluellen makeing Pistol eat the leek; Florizel & Autolicus, Exchange Garments; Falstaff with Hotspur on his Back; The Supposed Death of Imogen; Launce teaching his Dog crab, to behave as a Dog in all things; Falstaff at Justice Swallow’s Mustering his Recruits; Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby Belch, & The Clown; Dogbery and Verges with the watch; and two untitled



Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend

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credit print6 Attributed to Johann Peter Wolff (1655-1711), Credit liegt tödlich kranck, kein artzt vertreibt den schmertz als der mit sehr viel geld curirt das mare hertz … (Credit lies deadly ill; no doctor will drive out the pain, when the man with lots of money heals the faint heart). Nürnberg: Johann Peter Wolff, [c.1710]. Engraving with stencil color. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process
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This stencil colored engraving, warning of the dangers of credit, was published by the Nuremberg firm of Johann Peter Wolff (1655-1711), possibly made by Wolff himself. In the early eighteenth century, his four sons took over the publishing company and continued producing copperplate engravings under his name.

The engraving highlights the risks of wastefulness and profligacy, warning that “credit lies deadly ill; no doctor will drive out the pain, when the man with lots of money heals the faint heart.” The consequences are clearly shown in the two central panels, while the three down each side warns us of the dangers of money and the folly of living beyond one’s means.

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Is This Sir Thomas Brisbane?

death mask unidentified3    ThomasbrisbaneLeft: Unidentified death mask.   Right: John Watson Gordon, Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane (1773–1860). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. 1848. Oil on canvas. © The Royal Society of Edinburgh.


There is one mask in the Laurence Hutton Collection of Life and Death Masks unmarked and unidentified. Might this be the death mask of Sir Thomas Brisbane? Here are a few known portraits next to our mask. What do you think?
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nla.pic-an9885592-vSir Thomas Brisbane led a brigade in the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814, a loss for the British (artist unknown, courtesy State Library of Queensland).

According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane (1773-1860), governor, was born on 23 July 1773 at Brisbane House, near Largs, Ayrshire, son of a family of ancient Scottish lineage. He was educated by tutors and attended both the University of Edinburgh and the English Academy, Kensington. In 1789 he was commissioned an ensign in the 38th Regiment, which next year he joined in Ireland; there he struck up a long and profitable friendship with a fellow subaltern, Arthur Wellesley. From 1793 to 1798 he served in Flanders as a captain, from 1795 to 1799 in the West Indies as a major, and from 1800 to 1803 he commanded the 69th Regiment in Jamaica as a lieutenant-colonel, earning high praise from the governor, Sir George Nugent. From 1803 to 1805 he served in England, but when the 69th was ordered to India went on half-pay in Scotland because of his health.