Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Need a Project, no. 3? Women’s history

Working this week on the renowned 17th -century scholar Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678), perhaps best remembered as the first woman to attend a European university. Schurman produced oil paintings, engravings, calligraphy, and paper cuttings while also fluent in 14 languages, including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, and more. “To describe the high qualities of this incomparable muse with the emphasis she deserves is an impossible impossibility,” wrote the German author Georg Christian Lehms in 1717.

When she first demonstrated talent, Schurman was sent to study printmaking, not with the local master printer Crispijn van de Passe the Elder (ca. 1564-1637) or with one of his three talented sons but with Magdalena van de Passe (1600–1638), the youngest of the children. And an exceptional talent in her own right. Schurman made her first self-portrait in 1633 and continued to use herself as a model throughout her life. The Graphic Arts Collection holds an engraving [seen above] dated 1640, III/IV (Hollstein Dutch and Flemish, v.26, p.113) with the Latin inscription “Cernitis hic picta nostros in imagine vultus: si negat ars forma, gratia vestra dabit.” = “See my likeness depicted in this portrait: May your favor perfect the work where art has failed.” The print was later used in her inspirational: Nobiliss. virginis Annae Mariae à Schurman, Opuscula: hebraea, graeca, latina, gallica: prosaica & metrica (Lvgd. Batavor: Ex Officinâ Elseviriorum, 1648).

In 1634 she agreed to write a poem for the opening of the University of Utrecht, but used the opportunity to challenge the university’s exclusion of women. In response to her complaint authorities allowed her to attend lectures, thus becoming the first female student at the university, or at any Dutch university (although she was required to sit behind a screen so she wouldn’t distract the boys).

Here’s the challenge. Who was the first woman to graduate from your university or school or college or institution? My great-aunt Agnes was the first woman to graduate from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  Willa Cather was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Princeton University. Who else?

Please send who, where, when, and other details. We will put together a document of all the “first women graduates” around the world. Send your research to and I will later post the results.


Meanwhile, here are a few more Schurman portraits.

Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen (1593-1661), Anna Maria van Schurman, 1657. Oil on panel. Inscription: center left, below the cathedral, in the portrait medallion: Cornelius Ionson / Van Ceulen / fecit / 1657


Steven van Lamsweerde, Anna Maria van Schurman, 1657, engraving, from Jacob Cats, Alle de Wercken, soo oude als nieuwe (Amsterdam, 1700), fol. 31, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC, David K. E. Bruce Fund










What ‘working from home’ gets you

Charles Williams (died 1830), The Ambassadors Return- or- A New Arrival from Congress, March 1, 1815. Hand colored etching.
Description: Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (1769-1822) says: “My Prince I am returned overwhelmed with glory, to recieve the applauses of a gratefull nation. I am doubtless the greatest negociator in the World.” False praise since Dorothy George tells us that in fact Castlereagh, who left Vienna and landed at Dover on March 3, 1815, was attacked for sacrificing Poland and Saxony, having done his utmost for Poland, and succeeded in defeating the demands of Prussia for the whole of Saxony.


This is one example of the difficulty in online searching of digital images (here done in the Graphic Arts Collection and the British Museum print collection). The above print and the ones below all appeared thanks to a search on Working From Home, words that appear somewhere connected. This can be fun, except when a final paper is due. For today, each is a terrific scene – perhaps not surprising that several concern taxes.


Charles Williams (died 1830), The Two Journals [second of two plates], July 1814. Hand colored etching.

On June 2, 1814, the Prince Regent, on his way to the Drawing Room at Buckingham House, was hooted when his carriage entered the Park. This was on account of his exclusion of the Princess of Wales from the Drawing Room, at which Princess Charlotte made her first appearance.

It ends: The Regent sits at a writing-table, looking round to the left. “Worn with ennui—devour’d with spleen, / Yawn’d—trifled—cursed and drank between / Wrote to the square—got dressed once more, / New stay—new wig—new whiskers wore—”  Finally, the Regent’s empty chair stands at a dinner-table on which are decanters and glasses, some overturned or broken. The drunk Prince is being conducted from the room by McMahon and Yarmouth. “At eight my dinner table graced / With friends select—of kindred taste / I quaff’d till half were on the floor, / Then reel’d to bed—quite drunk—at four—”



George Cruikshank (1792-1878), American Justice!! or the Ferocious Yankee Genl Jack’s Reward for Butchering Two British Subjects!!!-, April 1819. Hand colored etching.

President Monroe (right) receives General Andrew Jackson, offering him “The Government of the Floridas.” Monroe says: “There’s your Reward! Where e’er you catch the English String ’em up like Herrings!—Go, Rob the Indians! Seize their Country! Sell ’em for Slaves! Liberty & Equality are only intended for the inhabitants of the United States! We’ll take care Nobody else shall enjoy any!”

Dorothy George comments that Andrew Jackson was sent in 1818 to attack Seminole Indians from Florida who were making trouble on the frontier. He followed them into Spanish territory, and, setting aside the sentence of a court-martial, hanged two British subjects, Robert Christian Ambrister and Alexander Arbuthnot, who had been exercising hostile influence with the Indians. The Report of a Committee of the Senate on the ‘Seminole War’ blamed Jackson for the execution of the two British subjects who were prisoners of war.



Attributed to Richard Newton (1777-1798), possibly after a design by George Moutard Woodward (ca.1765-1809), More Visitors to John Bull, or the Assess’d Taxes!!!, December 1, 1797. Hand colored etching.

John Bull (right) says: “What do you want you little Devils – an’t I plagued with enough of you already more pick poket Work, I suppose!!” They reply: “Please your Honor we are the assess’d Taxes.” It is a satire on the tripling of the assessed taxes proposed by Pitt in his famous budget speech on November 24, 1797, his ‘plan of finance’ to support the war without recourse to loans…

See more: Richard Cooper, “William Pitt, Taxation, and the Needs of War,” Journal of British Studies  22, no. 1 (Autumn, 1982), pp. 94-103.



Charles Jameson Grant (active 1830-1852), Taking the Boromongers Home, June 1832. Hand colored lithograph.

The devil is carrying off a group of political dignitaries or boroughmongers. What is that? The OED lists boroughmonger as “One who trades in parliamentary seats for boroughs. (A sarcastic designation coined about the end of the 18th cent., and very frequently used in the discussions on electoral reform up to 1832.) As in 1809   Sir Fr. the Reformer   “He swears eternal detestation to borough-mongers of the nation.”

Princeton, N.J., stopped being a borough on December 31, 2012, so there is no boromongering here.


Trombinoscopes of Franck

Franck, Cadets at the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, 1861. Albumen print from collodian negative. Patrick Montgomery’s History of Photography


Contrary to the social distancing we practice today, French photographer François Marie Louis Gabriel Gobinet de Villecholle (1816-1906, also known as Franck or Franck de Villecholle) gained a reputation for his jam-packed group portraits. Either cut and pasted then rephotographed as one assemblage (as seen below) or captured live, Franck’s work has been called trombinoscopes, or visual membership directories.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a book of ten photographic plates visually documenting the French National Assembly of 1874. In total, the volume presents 630 individual portraits of deputies sitting in the National Assembly, session 1871-1876, which was the first elected Assembly of the Third Republic in France following the 1871 Versailles armistice. According to my count, some plates hold up to 77 portraits, although each is different.

Franck learned to make daguerreotypes around 1845 and paper photographs soon after, working until the early 1880s in Barcelona and then Paris. He taught photography at the Ecole Impérale centrale des arts et manufactures in 1863 and worked as a professor at the Ecole Centrale in 1862. Read more in Elizabeth Anne McCauley’s Industrial Madness: commercial photography in Paris, 1848-1871 [only available in paper].

Thanks to Patrick Montgomery’s History of Photography pages, here are two other group portraits captured live. Below is Franck’s Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, Hôtel Salé, Paris, ca. 1855. Salted paper print. Montgomery notes: “This photograph comes from a set of documents relating to the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris. The building now houses the Picasso Museum and the professor standing at the bottom right of the photo, is probably Mr. Auguste Perdonnet who taught steam engine mechanics and everything related to railroads. Mr. Perdonnet was appointed director of the Central School in 1862, and remained in that position until his death in 1867.”


Here and at the top is Franck’s Cadets at the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, 1861. “The Ecole Polytechnique was established during the French Revolution in 1794 by Gaspard Monge, and it became a military school under Napoleon in 1804. It is still under the control of the French Ministry of Defence today. Initially, the school was located in the Latin Quarter of central Paris, and it moved to Palaiseau on the Saclay Plateau about 14 km southwest of Paris in 1976.”

The entire 1965 Album-contemporain: contenant les biographies sommaires de trois cents des principaux personnages de notre époque, with text by Justin Lallier and 304 photographic portraits by Franck can be found online here:


And the Musée d’Orsay offers this Franck assembly of literary figures:



Franck (1816-1906), Photographe de l’Assemblée natonale 1874. Paris: l’Assemblée natonale, 1874. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.

2020 Gillett G. Griffin memorial lecture cancelled

Kevin Barry talks to WNYC’s Brooke Gladstone. from Irish Arts Center on Vimeo.

Sadly, the Gillett Griffin memorial lecture scheduled for April 2020 is cancelled, along with our colleague’s New Irish Fiction panel at Columbia University. As a replacement, here’s a video of Kevin Barry talking with WNYC’s Brooke Gladstone at the NYC Irish Arts Center last fall when his novel Night Boat to Tangier first appeared in the US.

Here also is a section to read:

“Kevin Barry, one of Ireland’s most exciting novelists, reads from and discusses his latest work Night Boat to Tangier, a tragicomic Irish saga of menace and romance, mutual betrayals and serial exiles. Author and journalist Brooke Gladstone, of WNYC’s On The Media, moderates.”

See also:

A Midnight Modern Conversation and other online resources

Princeton University has recorded and offers a tremendous repository of online lectures, conversations, panels, and classes. For example in 2011, to open the Graphic Arts Collection’s exhibition Sin and the City: William Hogarth’s London, we organized a panel of amazing world experts including Tim Hitchcock, Linda Colley, Claude Rawson, and Mark Hallett. We called it “A Midnight Modern Conversation” in honor of Hogarth. The discussion was and is illuminating and highly recommended for students of art history, British history, city planning, and more. Here is the link:


Last fall, the Princeton University Art Museum hung a show entitled States of Health: Visualizing Illness and Healing. A wonderful full-day symposium was held with artists, doctors, historians, and more, which can be found at this link: A shout-out to Eric Avery, printmaker and M.D. specializing in infectious diseases.



Here is a thrilling conversation between Hugh Hayden and Chika Okeke-Ogulu about the artist’s life and work. Link to it here:



Poetry? Watch and listen to Paul Muldoon reading from his then new book, In the Horse Latitudes, on August 20th, 2013. Find it here:

Another interview and reading here:



A conversation with the great contemporary artist and calligrapher Shahzia Sikander:

Here’s a video with the brilliant Ghana sculptor El Anatsui:

And much more…


Gestes [Gestures]: Texte de Raymond Duncan. Bois dessinés, gravés, enluminés et tirés par Marc Roux ([Paris]: Raymond Duncan, 1921). Copy 30 of 100. “Tirages, 1 ex: spécial marqué A, 24 ex: grand luxe de B a Z, 100 ex: de 1 a 100 exemplaire”– t.p. verso/ “Achevé le 10 avril 1921.”–Colophon. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

In 1919 Raymond Duncan (1874-1966), wife Penelope, and their teenage son Menalkas, moved back to Paris where he reestablished his Akademia Raymond Duncan at 21 Rue Bonaparte.

With his long, flowing hair and Grecian robes, Duncan became a fixture along the streets of Paris and in the galleries and theaters. He organized international conferences each year at his université philosophique and developed a small following of disciples.

Students were taught to weave, print, and create the other decorative arts sold by the Akademia, in exchange for vegetarian meals and lessons in Duncan’s philosophy of a simple, holistic lifestyle. His sister Isadora Duncan did not appreciate the austerity of her brother’s commune and moved back to Russia where she established her own dance school in Moscow. Conversely, Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, became deeply immersed in Raymond’s Akademia and studied with him for several years.

Duncan collaborated on Gestes with his friend Marcel (here spelled as “Marc” on the cover and title-page) a year before Roux’s death. The artist suffered from an illnesses contracted while a medical orderly during World War I, and was forced to switch from his usual copperplate engraving to the softer woodcuts for this project but the style fit Duncan’s verse perfectly. Roux printed 100 copies of the book in his studio at 9 Rue Falguiere, published on April 10, 1921.

Only two other copies are held in institutional collections, one at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the second at the Houghton library, Harvard University. This would be a third known copy of an extraordinary book.

Raymond Duncan’s inspiration was the Antique, but his work needs to be set alongside the other stylistic influences of the era including Japonisme, …Indian and Persian art, His life and work should also be related to other contemporary international art movements operating throughout Europe: the Weiner Werkstätte, the Ecole Martine, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the Glasgow School, and Bloomsbury and the Omega workshops. His dress and textiles are part of an important group of hand-crafted objects created by artist-designers that include …Paul Poiret, who was patronized by Isadora, and is said to have copied designs from Raymond (L, Duncan 2014). –Charlotte Nicklas, Dress History: New Directions in Theory and Practice (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015)


Need a Project, no. 2? Chromolithography

This slideshow requires JavaScript. and samples from the Société Engelmann père et fils, ca. 1839. 3 vols. Chromolithography.

The Graphic Arts Collection holds a set of three elephant folios, which Michael Twyman calls, “the most interesting collection of its kind that I have ever come across.” These albums contain hundreds of specimens of early chromolithography from Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839) and his Société Engelmann père et fils.

Unfortunately, we have not yet indexed the albums. Will you help? The albums have been digitized and are available here: Permanent Link:

Here is a shared spreadsheet:

The plates in each album are numbered. Entries might look like this:

Album 1, plate 1: Proof sheet for the album Chromolithographique (1837)

Album 1, plate 2: 12 separate trade cards dated 1839, each printed: Engelmann, Pere & Fils à Mulhouse – J. Engelmann, Cité Bergere Paris. Chromolithographie ou impression lithographique en couleurs.

Album 1, plate 3: Uncut sheet with playing cards for different games: Loto graphique, Rebus, Jeu de la Mythologie, Jeu de cartes syllabaire Européen, and Jeu de cartes de l’histoire de France par un professeur d’histoire.
And so on

Duplication is good, so we can double check each other. Serious research is encouraged, but simple transcription is also wonderful as a start. Look for a page you enjoy and start. Work alone or in classes, **this is not always easy**

You can also simply mail results to if you don’t like shared docs. No hurry, take the next few weeks or months. Even if you don’t want to join, PLEASE REPOST. Thank you.


*special thanks to Michael Twyman who logged in to get us started on the shared doc..

engelmann volume11

Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839), biographic details from the British Museum:
“Lithographic printer, famed ‘Körner’ (grinder) for crayon-lithographs and patentee of chromolithography. Originally from Colmar; trained in Munich; set up press in Paris in June 1816. He improved lithography, particularly by developing lithographic wash in 1819. In 1825 he created a new company in association with Jérémie Graf and Pierre Thierry and named ‘Société Engelmann et Cie’. In 1826 an annex company is founded in London and named ‘Société Engelmann, Graf, Coindet et Cie’, which was dissolved in 1833. Then Engelmann returned to Mulhouse and created the company ‘Société Engelmann, père et fils’.

Mayakovsky carrying his “soul on a plate for the dinner of the future.”

Long before the movie Being John Malkovich, Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) wrote the play Vladimir Mayakovsky (Tragedy), performing the leading role himself. Originally titled Владимир Маяковский, the 20-year-old poet finished his script in October 1913 and the play premiered in December at the Luna Park theater in St. Petersburg, alongside the futurist opera Victory over the Sun. The following year 500 copies of his visually striking poetry were published.

This rare and amazing book is now in the Graphic Arts Collection. Here a little background in rough translation:

The play, which had two working titles, “The Railway” (Железная дорога) and “The Riot of Things” (Восстание вещей), was written in the summer of 1913, in Kuntsevo near Moscow . . . . Sister Lyudmila Mayakovskaya remembered: “Volodyi felt very lonely. For days he was wandering through Kuntsevo, Krylatsky and Rublyovo parks, composing his tragedy … [At the house] he scribbled words, lines and rhymes on pieces of paper and cigarette boxes, [pleading with] mom to not throw anything away. ” [By] 9 November 1913, the Mayakovsky presented the copy of the [play] to the Petersburg theater censorship commission, having cut off some of the [controversial] bits. —

Two days before the premiere the entire cast resigned because of rumors that they were going to be beaten up by the audience. Mayakovsky found a group of art students who agreed to take their places. There were only two performances, on Tuesday and Thursday. Eggs were thrown.

In the prologue Mayakovsky’s says he feels that “the wheel of a locomotive will hug my neck,” that is, he feels a lethal embrace of the dynamism and postrationality of daily life. …Feels like today. This is echoed in his explanation of why the play uses his name, to which he answered: “It is the name of the poet in the play who is doomed to suffer for all.” (Jangfeldt, Mayakovsky. A Biography, 2014, p. 65).

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930). Vladimir Mayakovsky, a tragedy (“Vladimīr Mai︠a︡kovskīĭ” : tragedīi︠a︡ ). Москва : Изд. 1-го журнала русских футуристов (Moscow: zhurnala russkikh futuristov), 1914. Seven prints by David and Vladimir Burliuk. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process



Please forgive the fuzzy images taken with my cell phone as we were leaving last week, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to post this amazing new addition to the Graphic Arts Collection.

Online content for printing history and art history

Here are some links to online content reposted from the museum computer network (MCN). There are, of course, many more links but it is a good start. My own favorite additions:

A 12 part class on the history of photography from the George Eastman House:

The history of printing with Richard Benson following his book: The Printed Picture.

Versailles on Paper from the Graphic Arts Collection:

How to make an etching:



Online Exhibits


Created for Kids




Research on CLOVID’s Impact on Museums


Morning at Princeton 10:00 a.m. March 16, 2020, for the archives

Rt. 1 to Princeton