Archibald Lewis Cocke (1824-1896)


Possible self-portrait by Archibald Lewis Cocke (1824-1896).

Of many highlights in Princeton’s album of early photography compiled by Richard Willats (ca.1820-after 1881), the calotypes by Archibald Lewis Cocke (1824-1896) are among the most important. Fourteen positive and one negative calotypes have been identified along with fourteen additional salted paper prints attributed to Cocke, the majority exterior architectural views.

Although Cocke is not a familiar name in the canon of art history, he was among the earliest British photographers to make a living from his art. Like Willats, Cocke was both a talented artist and a commercial supplier of photographic equipment and chemistry prepared in his personal laboratory.

One of the few biographical notes on Cocke is found in Bernard Heathcote’s A Faithful Likeness (2002). The catalogue reveals that Archibald and his brother Arthur John Cocke managed a daguerreotype studio between 1847 and 1850 on lower Regent Street, opposite the fashionable shop, Swan & Edgar. Arthur appears to have “relinquished his interest in the business” around 1850, leaving Archibald to continue alone.

Like many daguerreotypists, Cocke transitioned to paper prints and submitted fifteen calotypes to the Exhibition of Recent Specimens of Photography, regarded as the first exhibition in the world dedicated solely to photography. The show ran from December 22, 1852 to January 29, 1853, under the primary organization of Joseph Cundall (1818-1895) and Philip Henry Delamotte (1821-1891), who are also represented in Willats’s album.
By October 1854, Cocke was back on Regent Street, this time in partnership with photographer Thomas Nashum Kirkham, who form Cocke and Company. Their ground floor rooms held a studio, a classroom, and a shop, which they called the “Institute of Photography.” Unfortunately, the partnership dissolved “by mutual consent” in July 1855 and the Institute is taken over by Herbert Watkins (1828-after 1901), who kept the name but moved the operation up the road to 215 Regent Street.


Art Journal (October 1854): 315

During his brief time with Kirkham, Cocke was able to offer a number of specialties, including the photography of oil paintings, as noted in the October 1854 Art Journal, “At the establishment of Mr. Cooke, 179, Regent Street, there are some of the most perfect photographs after pictures we have yet seen. Two are from landscapes by [Thomas] Creswick, one of “Margaret and Faust in the Garden.” by [Henry Nelson] O’Neil, and others of pictures lately exhibited, together with very perfect pictures of bas reliefs. Mr. Cooke is, we believe, one of the oldest photographers, and his landscape subjects on paper are unsurpassed for truth and beautiful detail.”

Cocke published a pair of advertisements in The Athenaeum and other papers between 1854 and 1855, one for the commercial business and one for himself. The first reads: “Institute of Photography, 179, Regent Street—Messrs. Cocke & Co. respectfully solicit the attention of amateurs to the Collodion, manufactured only by them form the formula of Mr. W. [Adrian] Delferier. This Collodion is superior to any other and will not injure by keeping. Waxed, Iodized and Albumenized papers of the First quality; also photographic chemicals of every kind from their own laboratory.” As the son of a surgeon, Cocke may have benefited from early training in scientific practices.


“From The Times of 1844.” Times [London, England] 6 Dec. 1944: 8.

The second advertisement was for Cocke’s personal work and reads: “Portraits, Copies of Pictures, Sculpture &c. taken and Instruction in the Art given daily, by Mr. Archibald Lewis Cocke. Photographic Apparatus of all kinds consistently on Sale.”

Writing in Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives (2007). Roger Taylor calls Cocke “one of the most prolific exhibitors of calotypes.” He continues, “In 1853 his work mostly reflected the natural world, but starting with the 1855 exhibition at the Photographic Institution in London, Cocke took an increasing interest in historic buildings. In 1855 his waxed-paper views ‘elicited considerable admiration’ from the Liverpool Photographic Society; they were, according to their journal, ‘exceedingly sharp and presented a peculiar softness of tone, with a completeness of detail seldom accomplished.’”

By the 1860s, Cocke has relocated to Hammersmith, where he continued to exhibit and sell his photographs. In particular, the artist was included in the 1861 Architectural Photographic Association’s 4th annual exhibition, contributing a series on Exeter Cathedral. Curiously, in 1863, The Jurist records that “the photographic artist Archibald Lewis Cocke, born East Wonford, Devonshire, carried on his profession under the name of Archibald Lewis Coke.” This may explain why there are a many images in Willats’s album depicting Devonshire locations, where Cocke went to visit family.

More reproductions of Cocke’s photography can be found at:

On Leaf 5, verso: Center, at top: “Devonshire / Calotype Paper Process”. Center, at bottom: “Query Archibald [] L. / Taken by Mr. A. Cocke and Regent Circus Piccadilly / 32 Horoland Street Fibrisoy ? Square”.

Leaf 7 (five photographs): Top left: “Cambridge church / by Mr. A. Cock[e]”. Top right: “Mr. Archibald Cocke – Cambridge”. Bottom left: “Jersey”.

Leaf 10 (six photographs): Top middle: “Cambridge / Mr. A. Cocke”. Center right: “Jersey”.

Leaf 19 (three photographs): Top left: “Brodie Esq. / Jersey”. Bottom center: “Calotype / Hampstead / by Mr. A. Cocke”.

Leaf 20 (nine photographs): Top left (image gone, completely grey): “Catalissotype”. Top middle: “Mr. A. Cocke”. Top right: “Field Birmingham”. Center middle: “Cambridge”. Bottom left: “Brodie Esq. Bottom middle: Cambridge / church”.

Leaf 35 (two photographs): Bottom: “Calotype / Nr. Windsor / by Mr. A. Cocke / and Mr. Golls / London”.

Leaf 50: “In Devonshire / By Mr. A. Cocke / Howland St FitzRoy Square”.

Roger Taylor and Larry J. Schaaf, Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007). Marquand TR395.T39 2007Q

Bernard Heathcote, A Faithful Likeness (Lowdham: the author, 2002). Marquand TR680.H427 2002Q

Jefferson Davis turned on his head

jeff davis1

E. Rogers, Jeff. Davis Going to War. Jeff. Returning from War a [Jackass] … ([Philadelphia]: S.C. Upham, 1861). Graphic Arts Collection GA2015- in process

jeff davis2

An “upside down” or “topsy-turvy” is a picture that can be seen differently from a different direction. When it is only words, an upside down is usually called an ambigram or inversion.

A good example of a topsy-turvy is this lampoon of Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), the first and only president of the Southern Confederacy. When Davis is going to war, he is seen as a forward leaning soldier but when he is flipped, he is returning from war as a jackass. During the American Civil War a number of these topsy-turvys were produced to make fun of politicians and military generals, among others.

The wood engraving was created by E. Rogers who sold the copyright to the popular print publisher Samuel Upham, whose shop was located on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. It was Upham who successfully marketed the piece.

In the study Confederate States Paper Money: Civil War Currency from the South by Arlie R. Slabaugh (2008), the relationship between the two men is described:

Samuel Upham was one of these entrepreneurs who was already operating a combination drugstore, perfumery and stationery shop when the war began. Not an originator, he was quick to grasp the sales potential of items introduced by others. . . From one of the [nearby] engravers, E. Rogers (132 S. 3rd St.), Upham purchased rights to a card which showed the head of a jackass transformed into the head of Jefferson Davis. Heads up, Davis is going to war, while reversed it shows his drooping, later appearance. Subsequently, Upham used the design on stationery which he advertised on a large business card as the “Jeff. Davis letter sheet” June 30, 1861. Upham’s letter sheets were priced at $1 for 100, $8 per 1,000. His business card stated that “Should you wish to engage in the sale of them, which I advise you to do, as I know by experience that they will sell rapidly, please address all orders to S.C. Upham.”
(Firestone Library HG526 .C65 2008)

A Seven Ages of Man Fan

ages of man fan

George Wilson (active 1795-1801), Shakespeare’s Seven Ages. Stipple engraving. London: Ashton & Co., 1796. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2015- in process

untitled_41985, 11/14/11, 10:48 AM,  8C, 7744x10967 (254+479), 108%, Final Repro Cu, 1/120 s, R61.2, G50.9, B68.1

George Wilson (active 1795-1801), Shakespeare’s Seven Ages (London, 1796). Beinecke Library, Yale University


George Wilson (active 1795-1801), The Female Seven Ages. Stipple engraving. London: Ashton & Co., 1797. Folger’s Shakespeare Library


ages of man fan5
ages of man fan4This unmounted print by George Wilson turned up recently. It was meant to be folded and attached to a lady’s fan. The Beinecke Library has a completed version and the Folger’s Library has the complement showing the female Ages of Man.

Thanks to Rosanna Lucy Doris C Harrison, who posted A Scholarly Catalogue Raisonné: George Wilson and the Engraved Fan Leaf Design, 1795-1801, online we now know more about Wilson and his publisher Sarah Ashton.

“Wilson himself was part of a now largely obscure collective of eighteenth-century London-based fan makers. His business was located at 108, St. Martin’s Lane, in the centre of the city. Meanwhile, his works were entered and exhibited regularly at Stationers’ Hall, an ancient Livery Hall of the Old Company of London Stationers. Wilson can also be assumed to have been a member of the Worshipful Company of Fan Makers, which was integrated in 1709 and located at 70 Fann Street.”

“Wilson collaborated with other engravers and printers who specialised in printing fan leaf designs, figures such as the fan maker Cock, Joseph Read, and Sarah Ashton . Ashton, in particular, worked closely with Wilson in the publishing of many of his fan leaf designs—pointed up by the inclusion of the humorous line ‘… by S.A Professor of Physiognomy & Corrector of the Heart’ in the lyrical verses placed in the centre of The Quiz Club fan leaf . . . that allude to the initials of Sarah Ashton—and was a very prominent female publisher of fan leaves in the mid to late eighteenth century.”

“She was admitted in 1770 into The Worshipful Company of Fan Makers as she carried on the printing business in Little Britain, near St. Paul’s Churchyard, after her husband died. Ashton published at least 13 engraved fan designs . . . .”


A Scholarly Catalogue Raisonné: George Wilson and the Engraved Fan Leaf Design, 1795-1801 by Rosanna Lucy Doris C Harrison (M.A.,Uuniversity of York, 2012).

ages of man fan3


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Jaques, As You Like It, Act II Scene VII.

Rethinking Early Photography

Larry J. Schaaf, director of the William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné under the Bodleian Library, spoke at the recent conference Rethinkng Early Photography held at the University of Lincoln. That talk has been posted on YouTube and focuses on the authorship of a particular photogenic drawing much in the news lately.

The abstract for Schaaf’s talk entitled “The Damned Leaf: Musings on History, Hysteria, and Historiography,” reads in part

“In 1984, a Victorian family album was broken up, dividing its contents among specialist departments at Sotheby’s in London. It had belonged to Henry Bright, initially confused with a watercolourist by the same name, but soon identified as an East India Merchant. A related group of six early photographs was split into individual lots acquired by several purchasers. In 2008, Sotheby’s in New York prepared one of these photographs for sale. Traditionally identified as being by the inventor of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, it was an enigmatic contact negative (photogram) of a single leaf. I knew right away it was not by Talbot—sadly—for it was gorgeous, but this news came as a shock to the owner and to the auctioneers. ‘If not Talbot, then who could it possibly be?’ came back the question, and I volunteered a one-page essay suggesting possible dating and authorships. One bookend was Henry Bright himself in the 1860s, with several figures in between, finally ranging back to Thomas Wedgwood around 1800.”

More about Talbot and Schaaf can be found on his blog The video, also posted at British Photographic History, is thanks to Dr. Owen Clayton, the conference organizer, and Adam O’Meara, videographer.turning_leafSee similar photogenic drawings in an album compiled by Richard Willats, held at Princeton University: Permanent Link:

Audubon has flown

audubon yellow belly

John James Audubon (1785-1851). Yellow-throated Vireo, 1827. Pen and wash drawing. Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library. Gift of John S. Williams, Class of 1924.

Our colleagues Laura Giles, Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, Curator of Prints and Drawings and Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art have kindly included a number of works from the graphic arts collection in their beautiful summer exhibition Painting on Paper: American Watercolors at Princeton.

On view at the Princeton University Art Museum until Sunday, August 30, 2015, the show is both sensuous and serious, illuminating the distinct qualities of watercolors “in which color and line combine to produce effects of unparalleled nuance and suppleness.”

As their text explains, the museum collection was assembled initially under the pioneering directorship of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. (1922–46), the collection today offers insight into broad trends in American art across two centuries while also affording a comprehensive overview of the nation’s rich tradition in watercolor painting.

We are thrilled to have our Yellow-Throated Vireo (1827) as one of the first works the audience sees as they enter the galleries. Painted by John James Audubon (1785-1851), this watercolor study was adapted and later engraved by Robert Havell, Jr. (1785-1878) for the monumental publication The Birds of America (Rare Books: South East (RB) Oversize EX 8880.134.11e). Also on loan for the exhibition are works by William Constable; William Glackens; Augustus Koellner; John H. B. Latrobe; and Alfred Jacob Miller.

For more information on the exhibition, see:


audubon signature


Étienne Delaune Grotesque


Étienne Delaune (ca. 1519-1583), [Ornamental grotesque with Diana holding a spear], about 1572-73. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

This ornamental grotesque with Diana holding a spear and moon crescent is plate 2 from a set of six works representing Roman deities. Stephanvs was a name used by the Milan-born goldsmith and medallion engraver Étienne Delaune (ca. 1519-1583). The British Museum speculates that the set was engraved before Delaune’s departure from France around 1572 or 1573.

The Graphic Arts Collection has only one print from the set, with Diana, accompanied by two dogs, standing in the middle of a decorative structure inhabited by various creatures and trophies. Others from the series are reproduced below thanks to the British Museum.

AN00095478_001_l                   AN00095481_001_l AN00095482_001_l             AN00095485_001_l AN00095483_001_l

Grotesque is a French term derived from the Italian grottesco. In art the term is often used to describe a type of ornamental print, designed around a central axis with various motifs, including scrollwork, architectural elements, whimsical human figures and fantastic beasts. The closer you look, the more objects you will uncover.

Versailles on Paper closing July 19


John Vanderlyn (1775-1852), Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, 1818-1819. Oil on canvas. ©Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of the Senate House Association, Kingston, 1952.

20150628_122128_resizedThe exhibition Versailles on Paper at Princeton University is in its final weeks, closing on Sunday, July 19, 2015. Until then, the gallery will be open free of charge, 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday and noon to 5:00 on the weekends.

In addition, you may want to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art where John Vanderlyn’s painted panorama of the palace and gardens are on view in a specially designed room within the American wing.

Invented in Great Britain in the 1780s, panoramas were displayed within the darkened interior of a cylindrical building or room. According to the Met’s commentary, this 12 x 165 ft. (3.6 x 49.5 m) painting is a rare survivor of a form of public art and entertainment that flourished in the 19th century.

A native of Kingston, New York, Vanderlyn studied historical painting in Paris during the Napoleonic era and conceived his panorama project after seeing the American artist and inventor Robert Fulton establish a panorama theater on the Boulevard Montmartre.

20150628_121946_resizedVanderlyn’s Versailles was drawn between 1814 and 1815, then mounted in 1818 in a building behind the City Hall in lower Manhattan. The scene depicts a sunny afternoon between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. in September 1814. King Louis XVIII can be seen on the center balcony of the palace.


 John Vanderlyn (1775-1852), Description of the panoramic view of the palace and gardens of Versailles, painted by Mr. Vanderlyn [electronic resource] (New-York: Printed by E. Conrad, 1819). Series:, Early American imprints. Second series ; no. 49975.

The Panoramic view of the palace and gardens of Versailles painted by John Vanderlyn: the original sketches of which were taken at the spot, by him, in the autumn of 1814 (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1956). Marquand Library (SA) ND237.V19 P36

Boston Public Library’s Print Collection

7367782656_6a435d5d6d_b“Today, the Boston Public Library announced the results of the Print Department Report, a BPL commissioned year-long external review of the BPL Print Collection. Launched in June 2014 and conducted by Simmons College Professor Dr. Martha Mahard, the four-volume report evaluates inventory control and the current physical arrangement of the collection’s 320,000 items, and makes recommendations on how to improve intellectual control and organization of the Print Department assets moving forward.”

“The report covers the need for improved record keeping, primarily from artwork acquired in the latter half of the last century, when new acquisitions outpaced proper documentation and organization.


Boston Public Library president Amy Ryan (right) spoke to the media after the discovery of the Dürer and Rembrandt prints

“The Print and Special Collections play an essential role in the library fulfilling its mission as a center of knowledge,” said Michael Colford, BPL Director of Library Services. “This Print Department Report gives BPL a detailed look into how the library can be the best steward of these 320,000 works going forward. BPL is already taking steps to act on these recommendations, and will continue to use the report as the blueprint for additional improvements in the Print Department.”

Print Department Report Cover Letter

Print Department Report Volume 1

Print Department Report Volume 2

Print Department Report Volume 3

Print Department Report Volume 4

St. John of Capistrano

kapistran3The Catholic Encyclopedia of Saints lists St. John of Capistrano (1386-1456) as the patron of jurists. He also earned the nickname the soldier saint, leading thousands of soldiers into battle against the invading Ottoman empire. When the Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, the Franciscan priest was commissioned to preach a crusade for the defense of Europe. Gaining little response in Bavaria and Austria, he decided to concentrate his efforts in Hungary and “led the army to Belgrade. Under the great General John Hunyadi, they gained an overwhelming victory, and the siege of Belgrade was lifted.”

The Jewish Encyclopedia gives a somewhat different spin on Saint John. “In Silesia the Franciscan was most zealous in his work. When Capistrano arrived at Breslau, a report was circulated that one Meyer, a wealthy Jew, had bought a host from a peasant and desecrated it. Thereupon the local authorities arrested the representatives of the Breslau Jewish community and confiscated their houses and property for the benefit of the city. The investigation of the so-called blasphemy was conducted by Capistrano himself. By means of tortures he managed to wring from a few of the victims false confessions of the crimes ascribed to them. As a result, more than forty Jews were burned at the stake in Breslau June 2, 1453. Others, fearing torture, committed suicide, a rabbi, Pinheas, hanged himself. The remainder of the Jews were driven out of the city, while their children of tender age were taken from them and baptized by force.”


Johann Gottlieb Boettger (1763-1825), Kapistran, zu Breslau im Jahr 1453, 1808. Engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GA2015 in process


kapistran5The artist of this print, Johann Gottlieb Boettger (1763-1825), was a German engraver who is credited with a number of frontispieces and book illustrations. He also engraved fine art prints after Angelica Kaufmann, among others.

Not only wrote the book but also designed the cover


Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) visited Princeton University many times over his long career. The first and perhaps most important visit was in 1930, when Wright accepted the Kahn lectureship and delivered a series of six illustrated lectures in McCormick Hall. Modern Architecture; Being the Kahn Lectures for 1930, was published the following year by Princeton University Press (we hold 6 copies of the original NA680 .W93). Not content to write the book, Wright also designed the book’s cover, which has become iconic with the man and his work.

The Princeton University Weekly Bulletin (May 3, 1930) announced that “starting today and continuing through May 14th, a series of lectures will be presented by Frank Lloyd Wright on the problems of Modern Architecture. . . . . Today he will speak on the topic, ‘Machinery, Materials, and Men,’ following tomorrow with ‘Style in Industry; the War on Styles.’ His lecture Thursday, ‘The Cardboard House,’ gives promise of being most interesting, and his concluding speech of the week, on Friday, ‘The Passing of the Cornice,’ will take up a trend of modern architecture, which is very noticeable in the work being done today. One week from today he will deliver an address on ‘The Tyranny of the Skyscraper,’ ending his series at Princeton with a talk entitled ‘The City.'”

Wright brought with him a group of recent drawings, which were placed on display in the Museum of Historic Art (an early space that included galleries, the art and archaeology department, the fine arts library, and the School of Architecture). The Bulletin claims that “this will be the first time that Mr. Wright’s drawings have been shown to the public, and they will go on a tour after remaining in the Architecture Building for several days.” Simply titled “The Show,” the traveling exhibit included 600 photographs, 1,000 drawings, and four models that were seen in New York City; Chicago; Eugene, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; several European cities; and Milwaukee’s Layton Gallery.

In the spring of 1933, another exhibit to include Wright’s designs was held in McCormick Hall entitled Early Modern Architecture: Chicago 1870-1910. Prepared by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this show had the extra special feature of wall labels written by Philip Johnson, Chairman of the Museum’s Department of Architecture, and Professor Henry Russell Hitchcock of Wesleyan University.

Wright returned to Princeton in 1947 for a two day conference in connection with the University’s bicentennial celebration. “Planning Man’s Physical Environment” brought together 70 architects, city planners, philosophers and social psychologists under the direction of Arthur C. Holden, Class of 1912.  Wright used his time to plead for the decentralization of American cities, telling the students, “we are educated far beyond our capacity.  We have urbanized urbanism until it is a disease—the city is a vampire, living upon the fresh blood of others, sterilizing humanity.”

In 1955, Wright was invited to be the principal speaker at that year’s Senior Class dinner. He happily agreed but at the last minute asked to have the dinner rescheduled while he attended to construction problems with the Guggenheim Museum building.  The 800 students and their guests didn’t seem to mind and in fact, his talk was so memorable that the class of 1959 invited him back. Unfortunately Wright passed away one month before the Princeton event.