Author Archives: Julie Mellby

New Light on the Understanding of Music in 1739

Quirinus van Blankenburg (1654-1739), Elementa musica, of, Niew licht tot het welverstaan van de musiec en de bas-continuo [= Elements of music, or, New light to the understanding of the music and the basso continuo] (s’Gravenhage: Laurens Berkoske, 1739). Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in processThis unusual volume by Quirinus van Blankenburg lays out his principles of music theory both in text and diagrams, including several working volvelles. The dealer’s description is quoted here in full:

‘Quirinus van Blankenburg (1654-1739), son of an organist, followed in his father’s footsteps when he was sixteen, first in Rotterdam, Gorinchem, and then the Waalse Kerk in Den Haag; in 1699 he was appointed organist at the Nieuwe Kerk in Den Haag. Van Blankenburg matriculated at the University of Leiden and became a well-known teacher of music. His earliest work for harpsichord, a Preludium full of ornaments and sudden changes in tempo, is found in the London Babell MS (British Library Add. MS 39569) from 1702.

None of his earlier works have survived, though it seems likely that he would have started to write music early in his life. From the works that we know now he comes across as an experienced composer.’ ‘Van Blankenburg published three works toward the end of his life, though it is possible that he wrote them earlier ….The majority of van Blankenburg’s keyboard works are short, the most elaborate being the Fuga obligata, published in his treatise Elementa musica, 1739, which covers basso continuo and other subjects, including details about enlarging the ambitusof harpsichords. Interestingly, a fugue with the same theme had been published by G. F. Handel in 1735, and, although the autograph of this fugue dates from around 1720, van Blankenburg accused Handel of plagiarism! He seems to be the first in the Netherlands to mention overlegato, which he calls “tenue”, and his fingerings are based on those found in François Couperin’s L’art de toucher le clavecin(1716)’ (Ton Koopman, ‘The Netherlands and Northern Germany’, in TheCambridge companion to the harpsichord, ed. Mark Kroll, 2019, pp. 71-92, pp. 77-8).

The contemporary annotations in this copy, which deserve further study, are frequently of the character one might expect an author to make in preparing his work for a further edition. Certainly the changes to punctuation and sentence structure would be unusual in even the most assiduous reader. However, a clarificatory marginal note on p. 99, referring to the plate opposite p. 119 (‘De Wet der Nature’), reads ‘van’t Orakel der Natuur, Q: V: B: [i.e. Quirinus Van Blankenburg]’, which perhaps suggests that the annotator was not the author. It must also be remembered that Van Blankenburg died in the year of publication. Whatever the case, the annotator was certainly someone of considerable musical learning.Hirsch I 73; RISM, Écritsp. 15

Reports to the art lovers who do not seem ignorant


Fawkes family photograph album

Fawkes family photography  album compiled by Ellen Fawkes (Yorkshire, ca. 1860s). 42 leaves, containing 89 albumen silver prints. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

We recently acquired this Victorian photograph album, compiled by Ellen Fawkes (1841-1890) of Farnley Hall, North Yorkshire, containing individual and group portraits of family and friends. Fawkes was the daughter of the Rev. Ayscough Falkes, and the granddaughter of Walter Ramsden Fawkes (1769-1825), MP for Yorkshire, abolitionist, and friend and patron of J.M.W. Turner. She married Sir George John Armytagein in 1871 and this album is presumed to predate her marriage.

The album includes many portraits of the Fawkes family, along with portraits of the Calleys, Calverleys, Haworths, Hothams, Parkers, Smyths, Vernons, Whartons, Wilkinsons, and Wilmots. Several prints can be attributed to the French photographer Camille Silvy, who moved to London in 1859 and opened a studio. These include Edith Cleasby (f. 13); Mrs Calley (f. 18); and the prominent opera singer Adelina Patti (1843-1919) (f. 38). The buildings depicted include Farnley Hall, where J.M.W. Turner frequently stayed; Thorpe Green; Sawley Hall; Lincoln Cathedral; Stainburn chapel; and Magdalen College, Oxford.

The history of Farnley Hall:

Farnley hall was occupied in the 1780s by Francis Fawkes. After his death in 1786, Farnley Hall was inherited by Walter Hawkesworth of Hawksworth Hall, who adopted the surname Fawkes by Royal Licence and commissioned John Carr to build the new range alongside the old. When Walter Fawkes died in 1792 the hall passed to his son, also Walter Hawkesworth, who also adopted the surname Fawkes, and was known as Walter Ramsden Fawkes. He was MP for Yorkshire in 1806 and was High Sheriff of Yorkshire for 1823.

During his tenure a regular visitor was the Victorian artist and philosopher John Ruskin, who was taken with the enormous collection of paintings by J.M.W. Turner, a close friend of the Ramsden Fawkes. Between 1808–1824 Farnley was a second home to Turner. Ramsden Fawkes owned over 250 Turner watercolours and 6 large oil paintings. A selection of Turner’s works from the Farnley Hall collection were sold in 1890 for £25,000. Frederick Hawksworth Fawkes of Farnley Hall was High Sheriff for 1932. During the Second World War the hall served as a maternity hospital. Nicholas Horton-Fawkes owned and carefully restored the house until his death in 2011. Horton-Fawkes served as President of the Turner Society. Guy Fawkes was related to the Fawkes of Farnley.


Fiskeby paper mill, founded in 1637

In recognition of twenty-five years of service, this 1923 photograph album was prepared and presented to Nils Arvid Svenson, Director of Fiskeby Paper Mill, located outside Norrköping, Sweden. Eighty-six gelatin silver prints are mounted on forty-seven pages with Svenson’s monogram on the front cover.

Forty-four prints show the Fiskeby Paper Mill interspersed with forty-two oval portrait photographs of the executives and employees of the factory. There are interior views of the machine halls for the production of the large paper sheets and rolls, including details of machines and equipment. The final section of the album shows other buildings based in the forests and lakes where the trees were cut, collected, and transported both in the summer and winter.

Founded in 1637, the Fiskeby Board AB is today one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of packaging board and is Europe’s oldest manufacturers of paper and board. In 1872, Fiskeby totally renovated its plant, inaugurating a new modern paper mill based on the innovative cellulose technique and this is why the album, dated 1923, celebrates their 50th anniversary.

“A green company with a long history. That is one way to describe Fiskeby,” notes the company website. “Already in the 1630s Queen Kristina handed us a privilege letter to start paper production. Today we are the only mill in Scandinavia that offers a packaging board made by 100% recovered fibre. Fiskeby is one of Europe’s oldest manufacturers of paper. Over the years we have made everything from wall and silk paper to today’s packaging board manufactured from recovered fibre.

Our story starts in 1637 when Nils Månsson and Anders Mattsson receive a letter of privilege from Queen Kristina with permission to start paper production in Fiskeby. The letter becomes the starting point for a paper mill that will use discarded textiles as raw material for many years to come. Handmade manufacturing continues in Fiskeby until 1852. Technological development is moving rapidly in the world at this time and as a result, a revolutionary machine mill is established in Fiskeby in 1872. Almost a century later, in 1953, Fiskeby installs a new board machine and launches Multiboard.

The board machine is rebuilt in 1987. In 2010 the mill is complemented with a new solid fuel boiler and in 2015 Fiskeby inaugurates its own biogas plant. Even today, all our manufacturing takes place at the same location where everything began almost 400 years ago, at Motala River’s outlet to lake Glan in Norrköping. With the exception of a short interruption in the mid 1800’s, the production has been ongoing since Queen Kristina’s privilege letter in 1637.–

1788 Dutch board game

Neerlands Staatkundi[g] Werpspel [Dutch Political Throwing Game],1788. Engraving and letterpress on laid paper. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019-in process

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired this scarce Dutch dice game, published one year after the defeat of the Patriotic party by an avid follower of the Orangist party. A simple sheet with an ingenious optical illusion mocking the political ambitions of the Patriots, symbolized by the figure of Johan Jacob le Sage ten Broek (1742-1823), a Dutch professor of philosophy, theology, and an avid Patriot. Other copies of the game come with a printed eight-page brochure but we are content to play without it.

one of the side vignettes


This engraved board game has four folding flaps and when all flaps are closed an engraved title appears across the front. There is a vignette beneath of a Dutch scholar (Johan Jacob le Sage ten Broek) accompanied by an 8 line engraved poem (overall dimension ca. 264 x 215 mm).

Left and right side flaps open to reveal another central engraved vignette of a Dutch soldier (the scholar turns into soldier) in front of two Dutch houses that turn up on the verso of the two lower flaps.

When the lower flaps are opened you see richly embellished round and square playing fields numbered 1 through 28 with satirical topics framing the central vignette. Our scholar turned soldier is now a captured hussar (the Dutch soldier turns into an Austrian hussar) as the gallows printed on the verso merges with the recto image and behold! the devil is hanging the hussar.

Can anyone translate the cover poem for us?

Moss Engraving Company

[John Calvin Moss (1838-1892)], The Moss Engraving Co. (New York: John C. Moss, ca. 1881). Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired an important specimen catalogue accomplished by means of photo-engraving, a revolutionary technique developed by the firm’s founder John C. Moss. Developed in 1863, his process allowed for the mass production of illustrated books and magazines with speed and efficiency that would have been impossible with traditional wood engraving.

In 1873 Moss founded the Moss Photo-Engraving Company. “By the early 1880’s, according to [Benson] Lossing, his 200 employees were annually turning out an amount of work that would have required at least 2000 wood engravers … Thanks to Moss, America became the leader in the world for mass-producing periodicals and books that contained actual photographs instead of wood-engraved drawings.” In 1880, Moss left that company and founded the Moss Engraving Company, whose product is the subject of this catalogue.

“…The first one to attempt photo-engraving as a business, I have been told, was a Frenchman. named Charles Henry. This was in i865. I believe he made some successful maps. His method was a combination of photo-lithography and zinc etching. The first man to make a substantial success, in a business way, of photo-engraving was without doubt John C. Moss. I well remember the first establishment he had, for I applied there for work. This was in Cortlandt Street. New York, and the year was 1874. I thought I knew all about photography in those days, and I was not slow to tell Moss so. He was anxious to keep his process secret, and naturally did not employ me. I found employment, however. with the Daily Graphic, and soon after Moss moved his business but a dozen doors away from the Graphic building, so that for the subsequent ten years I had an excellent opportunity to watch with interest the growth of his business.

His was the original ‘Photo-Engraving Company‘ and in his place was made about all the photo<engraving there was. He was unable to keep his process secret, some of his employees discovered his methods and went into business themselves. His relief plates were made by what is known as the swelled gelatine method. When he had demonstrated that there was money in photo-engraving other experimenters succeeded in devising a process of photo-engraving called the ‘wash-out method.’ This supplied an electrotype. Competition and price-cutting began then. In 1881, the writer tried to introduce zinc etchings to the publishers of New York, but failed. He was ahead of the times.

In 1884 William Kurtz tried the same thing. He received assistance from a master of business methods—F. A. Ringler—and they founded the Electro-Light Engraving Co. of New York. The zinc-etching method of photo-engraving by which this firm produced all their work proved to be the quickest and most economic one. Moss took it up later, but not until he had lost his grip on the trade that he had only a few years before monopolised. Though not the original photo-engraver, John C. Moss pioneered the way to photo-engraving as a business.“——unidentified author, The Inland Printer, December, 1899 quoted in The Photogram 7 (1900)

Save the date for 2020 Gillett Griffin Memorial speaker

Congratulations to Kevin Barry, whose latest novel Night Boat to Tangier was named one of the 10 best books of 2019 by the New York Times. Listen to Barry on their podcast:

Save the date:
On Thursday, 2 April 2020, Barry has kindly agreed to be the fourth Gillett Griffin Memorial speaker at Princeton University, co-sponsored by our wonderful Fund for Irish Studies. The free event will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater located at 185 Nassau Street.

Publishers Weekly reviewed Night Boat to Tangier, noting:

A pair of Irish drug runners who’ve seen better days haunt a ferry terminal in southern Spain in search of a missing woman, in Barry’s grim and crackling latest (after Beatlebone). Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond had a long and profitable run in drug smuggling, but now, with both just past 50, they are out of the business after a decline in their fortunes. The two stalk the ferry terminal in search of Maurice’s daughter, Dilly, whom they haven’t seen for three years but believe will be showing up on a ferry there, either coming from or going to Tangier. As the men wait and scan the crowds, they reminisce on better days and an unfortunately textbook betrayal, and flashbacks to pivotal moments in Maurice’s adult life reveal a torturous history. Whether Dilly is actually Maurice’s daughter is an animating question of the narrative, along with what the men’s true intentions are. Barry is a writer of the first rate, and his prose is at turns lean and lyrical, but always precise. Though some scenes land as stiff and schematic, the characters’ banter is wildly and inventively coarse, and something to behold. As far as bleak Irish fiction goes, this is black tar heroin.

Writing for the Brooklyn Rail, Weston Cutter called Barry, “the only author I know of (currently working) whose work equally inspires and inundates any aspirant with dread. His latest novel, Night Boat to Tangier (2019) is undoubtedly his best novel yet, and, I’d argue, his strongest fiction, period—which is saying something, given that Kevin Barry’s one of the best short story writers alive.”–

We are longtime fans of the author. Barry visited Princeton in 2017 to read from his novel, Beatlebone and in 2013, he read from his short story collection, Dark Lies the Island, which has recently been translated to film, (hopefully) coming to US theaters soon.

Noach gaat met zijn familie en de dieren aan boord van de ark

Cornelis Cort (ca. 1533-1578) after Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), Noach gaat met zijn familie en de dieren aan boord van de ark, = Noah boarding the ark with his family and animals; in the series Geschiedenis van Noach, 1559. Engraving. New Hollstein Dutch 4-3(3). Graphic Arts Collection GA Dutch/Netherlandish prints.

This is number three in a series of six plates depicting the story of Noah (New Hollstein 2-7) published by Hieronymus Cock (ca.1510-1570) from his Antwerp shop, ‘Aux Quatre Vents,’ one of the most important print publishing firms outside Italy at that time. The firm was continued by his widow (Volcxken Diercx) until her death in 1600 (the inventory of her estate survives with a list of her plates).

The five other plates are not in our collection:

plate one

plate two plate four

plate five

plate six

Dutch Partridge Dog

Anonymous artist after Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), Frederick de Vries with Goltzius’ Dog, 1773, original 1597. Engraving. Bartsch 59.190; Hollstein 218; New Hollstein 256; Strauss 344. Bottom center “Theodorico Frisio Pictor egrogio / aput Venetos amicitiæ et filij absentis / repræsentandi gratia D.D.” Graphic Arts Collection Dutch/Netherlandish prints


The Graphic Arts Collection holds a reprint of one of Hendrick Goltzius’s most famous engravings, depicting Frederick de Vries, the son of the Venetian painter Theodore Frisius (to whom the print is dedicated), climbing onto Goltzius’s dog holding what has been called either a dove or a falcon. The dog has been identified as a Drentsche Patrijshond, a spaniel-type hunting dog from the Dutch province of Drenthe. In English, we say Dutch Partridge Dog (or “Drent” for Drenthe).

The Princeton University Art Museum holds a copy of the original engraving, completed in 1597, while ours is clearly labeled bottom center: “Romae apud Carolum Losi A. 1773.” This is the signature of bookseller and publisher Carlo Losi (active 1757-after 1805) whose shop was located at “via Condotti, presso il Palazzo dei Cavalieri di Malta, Rome.” According to the British Museum Losi reprinted popular 16th and 17th century engravings, having “almost no interest in new plates of topography, portraits or contemporary artists.” There is a catalogue of his stock in 1775 in Metropolitan Museum of Art and his stock of 1788 in Vatican. See also Veronica Federici, ‘Carlo Losi editore ai Condotti’, in Giovanna Sapori (ed.), Il Mercato delle Stampe a Roma XVI-XIX secolo, Rome 2008, pp.95-115.

See the impression at the Princeton University Art Museum:

This Dutch Partridge Dog appears often in Goltzius’s drawings and engravings. Here are two more:

Hendrick Goltzius, Goltzius’s Dog, ca. 1595-1600. Black, brown, red and yellow chalk, brush in brown and black ink. Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Hendrick Goltzius, Sleeping Dog; verso: Study of the Same Dog, Seen from the Back, c. 1596. Metalpoint and graphite. Fondation Custodia / Collection Frits Lugt


Cane [by] Jean Toomer; with a foreword by Waldo Frank. New York, Boni and Liveright [c1923]. Firestone Library » PS3539.O478 C3 1923

Cane [electronic resource] [by] Jean Toomer; with a foreword by Waldo Frank. New York : Boni and Liveright, [c1923]

Plays of Negro life; a source-book of native America drama. Selected and edited by Alain Locke and Montgomery Gregory. Decorations and illus. by Aaron Douglas. New York, Harper, 1927.
ReCAP » PS627.N4 L635 1927

Song of the sun / by Jeam Toomer. Detroit : Broadside Press, 1967, c1950. Special Collections Broadside 261

Singers of daybreak; studies in Black American literature [by] Houston A. Baker, Jr. Washington, Howard University Press, 1974. Firestone Library PS153.N5B27

Jean Toomer’s “Cane” and Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio” : a Black reaction to the literary conventions of the twenties / by Darrell W. McNeely. 1974.

The Living earth. [s. l.] : Danbury Press, [c1975-1976] ReCAP .b17153055x

The waiting years : essays on American Negro literature / Blyden Jackson. Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c1976. Firestone Library » PS153.N5J34

The dream of Arcady : place and time in Southern literature / Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan. Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c1980. ReCAP » PS261 .M25

Singers of daybreak : studies in black American literature / Houston A. Baker, Jr. Washington, D.C. : Howard University Press, 1983. African American Studies Reading Room (AAS). B-7-B » PS153.N5 B27 1983

Cane : an authoritative text, backgrounds, criticism / Jean Toomer ; edited by Darwin T. Turner. New York : Norton, c1988. Firestone Library » PS3539.O478 C3 1988

The collected poems of Jean Toomer [electronic resource] / edited by Robert B. Jones and Margery Toomer Latimer ; with an introduction and textual notes by Robert B. Jones. Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, ©1988.

Invisible darkness : Jean Toomer & Nella Larsen / Charles R. Larson. Iowa City : University Of Iowa Press, [1993]

Cane / Jean Toomer. New York : Modern Library, 1994. Firestone Library » PS3539.O478 C3 1994

Classic fiction of the Harlem Renaissance / edited by William L. Andrews. New York : Oxford University Press, 1994. ReCAP » PS647.A35 C57 1994
Cane de Jean Toomer & la Renaissance de Harlem / Françoise Clary. Paris : Ellipses, c1997. ReCAP » PS3539.O478 C33 1997

Jean Toomer and the terrors of American history / Charles Scruggs and Lee VanDemarr. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998. Firestone Library » PS3539.O478 C337 1998

Cane / Jean Toomer ; illustrations by Martin Puryear; afterword by Leon F. Litwack. San Francisco, Calif. : Arion Press, 2000. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

Vorstellung der Köpf Maschiene in Paris

Johann Martin Will (1727 -1806), Vorstellung der Kopf Maschiene in Paris. Vermöge welcher in einer viertelstund 25 Personen könen enthauptet werden [Representation of the Head Machine by which 25 persons can be beheaded every quarter of an hour] [Augsburg: Johann Martin Will], 1792. Etching with engraving, engraved text in German and French. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019-in process

This unsigned satire of the French guillotine has been attributed to Augsburg-based printer/publisher Johann Martin Will, imagining a machine that will kill 25 people every 15 minutes. Parts are numbered in a scientific manner. Several victims are depicted, before and after, with heads and bodies scattered throughout. On the right, a “certified priest” walks both men and women prisoners towards the apparatus while on the left the audience includes children.

To make sure the viewer understands the import of the scene, the second column of text decries the horrors of the guillotine and of the current popular delusions: “… Oh woe to the people who strives to win freedom in such a manner, who invents such machines, steaming with human blood…. All who make sane use of their reason must despair.”