Author Archives: Julie Mellby

Die Blumen-Monde

Carl, Count Brandis, Die Blumen-Monde. Zwölf Blumen-Bilder nach der Natur photographirt von Carl Grafen Brandis; mit Original-Dichtungen von Felix Dahn, dessen Gemalin und Schwester. [The Flower Months. Twelve Flower Pictures Photographed from Nature with Poems by Felix Dahn, his Wife and his Sister] (Wien: Lechner [1891]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

While a member of the Amateur Photography Club of Vienna, Carl Brandis prepared 13 heliogravures (including title page) on chine-collé for the Viennese publisher and university bookseller Rudolf Lechner (1822-1895).

Although they appear to be a trompe-l’œil trick, each still life is taken ‘from nature’ with flowers, ferns, and grasses arranged to frame a letterpress poem by Felix Dahn (1834-1912). One arrangement for each month of the year. The loose plates are housed in an elaborate publisher’s cloth portfolio approximately 2 ft tall (64 x 49.5 cm).

In 1893, Brandis received favorable notices for his still-life photography at a Salzburg exhibition, but no other mentions of the artist survive.

Felix Dahn was a German law professor, author, poet and historian. His wife, Therese von Droste-Hülshoff (1845-1929), was also a writer, and a relative of the poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. Dahn’s sister Constanze von Bomhard (1846–1933) was a writer, too, publishing under the pseudonym C. Hirundo.

Exhibition of the Salzburg Amateur Club. On 15 June, it was solemnly inaugurated by Sr. Kaiser Highness Archduke Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Toscana, and surprised the arrangement with its elegance, richness and many really excellent pictures. . . .The number of pictures exhibited is 2000, and since we have only a modest selection here, it may be considered which gigantic production corresponds to this collection. …We can confine ourselves here only to the most outstanding exhibits, and there deserve mention. …; Count C. Brandis with still life. – Photographische Korrespondenz, 30 1893


The rescue of Cardinal Vincenzo Maria Orsini, future Pope Benedict XIII, and other miracles


Two months after the Saint’s death, Drusilla, wife of Antonio Fantini, fell from a balcony at the height of twenty palms into a court-yard, striking her head against some pieces of iron which were lying on a table; her lower lip was cut through in three places, and her right eye protruded from the socket; both her eyes indeed were so much injured that her sight was entirely gone; her nose was crushed, and her teeth broken, and there was a deep gash in her left hand; moreover, great quantities of blood issued from her mouth, and she was to all appearance a corpse. …

In the meanwhile Antonio Franco, the surgeon, arrived, and when he had examined the wounds and injuries, he gave it as his opinion that it was quite impossible she should survive …

After these fifteen days, … the sick woman was left alone in the house, she recommended herself in her heart to S. Philip, who formerly was her spiritual father; and as she prayed she felt on a sudden a great weight in her breast, and it seemed as though a handkerchief were forced down her throat, and then gradually drawn up again; whereupon her sight was instantly restored, and she saw the holy father vested as a priest, with a glory around his head, and he was holding the handkerchief in his hand all covered with blood; he said moreover, “Do not be afraid, for thou wilt not die this time:” and in an instant she was cured …. [1847 English translation]

Pietro Giacomo Bacci (ca. 1575-1656), Vita di S. Filippo Neri Fiorentino, fondatore della Congregazione dell’Oratorio … con la notizia di alcuni compagni del medesimo santo, aggiunta dal P. Maestro Giacomo Ricci = Life of St. Philip Neri Fiorentino, founder of the Congregation of the Oratory … with the news of some companions of the same saint, added by Fr. Maestro Giacomo Ricci (Rome: Bernabò and Lazzarini, 1745). Graphic Arts Collection GAX -in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a lavishly illustrated edition of the popular hagiography (biography of a saint) of Filippo Neri (1515-1595), first published in 1622 and reissued continuously through the twentieth century.

The artists of the frontispiece, title vignette, and 45 engraved plates include:
Engraved portrait frontispiece by the German engraver Christian Sas (born 1648, active 1660) after the French painter Jacques Stella (1596-1657).
Engraved title vignette of the Virgin and Child on the half-moon and 41 plates are by the Italian engraver Luca Ciamberlano (born ca. 1570) after the Italian painter Guido Reni (1575-1642); three plates are by Sas after Stella; and one (no.45) is by the Italian artist Girolamo Frezza (1659-ca. 1741) after the Italian painter Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674-1755).

Dealers note: New to this edition is a plate (p. 45) depicting the miraculous rescue of Cardinal Vincenzo Maria Orsini, future Pope Benedict XIII, from the rubble of the church of the Annunziata in Benevento during the earthquake that devastated the area in 1688.

Read more about the iconography of the plates: Massimo Leone, Saints and Signs: A Semiotic Reading of Conversion in Early Modern Catholicism (2010) p. 292-300






A Roma vende i libri per aiutare i poveri = In Rome he sells books to help the poor.

Plan de la justice de Dieu sur la terre

Ç’est ici la jalousie de l’eternel = This is the jealousy of the Eternal

Affligée, tempetée, rejoui-toi, voici ton Roi qui vient t epouser, & se rendre victorieux sur tes ennemis = Sorrowful, Tempted, Rejoice; behold your King who comes to marry, and make himself victorious over your enemies

Quand vous aurez saccagé, vous serez saccagés, car la lumière est apparue dans les ténèbres pour les détruire = When you have ransacked, you will be ransacked, for the light has appeared in the darkness to destroy them.


Plan de la justice de Dieu, sur la terre dans ces derniers jours, et du relèvement de la chûte de l’homme par son péché. [Part 2:] Quand vous aurez saccagé, vous serez saccagé: car la Lumière est apparue dans les Ténèbres , signed Jean Allut, Charles Portalès, Nicolas Facio ([Place of publication not identified]: Imprimé par les soins de N. F. [Nicolas Fatio de Duillier], 1714). Graphic Arts Collection 2019 in process

This posthumous collection of sermons by the charismatic Camisard Élie Marion (1678-1713) includes a wonderful allegorical frontispiece to part two. Marion became a spokesman for “the armed rebellion of the mostly illiterate Camisards, clandestine Protestant groups in the mountainous redoubts of the Cévennes, whose strength continued to grow during the first few years of the 18th century.” Their revolt culminated in the War of the Cévennes, which “opposed no more than 3000 Camisards against 20,000 dragoons over a period of two years” (Oxford DNB).

At the engraving’s center a blindfolded woman (representing the true church) is being pulled in four different directions by four priests of Christian religions: Calvinism, Lutheranism, Rome, and Greek orthodoxy. Between the priests four unidentified monarchs draw their swords and stand ready to attack. The above translations are rough and if anyone has a better suggestion, they can be changed.

For more about Marion, see:

Clarke Garrett, Spirit possession and popular religion: from the Camisards to the Shakers (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987).  BR112 .G37 1987

The book that “induces a splendid rage.”

Learning from Las Vegas, designed by MIT’s Muriel Cooper, is almost always found on lists of the greatest publications of the 20th century, especially in terms of book design and production. It is priced accordingly.

Imagine the unhappiness and confusion today when someone noticed red flags on the copies held in Princeton University Library: two were missing and/or lost from the rarest large format, first edition and one of the semi-rare smaller second edition, more than most collections have in total.

A deep breath and some minutes later it was confirmed that our library holds 13 copies, only two of which are missing. An embarrassment of riches rather than the opposite.

Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press [1972]). Dust jacket, postcard, and prospectus included. Graphic Arts Collection NA735.L3 V4q


This winter, Design Observer listed Learning from Las Vegas at the top of their 2018 gift list, noting: “The reissue of Muriel Cooper’s out-of-print masterpiece, Learning from Las Vegas, authored by VSBA, tops my holiday gift list. This facsimile book exists like the original as a fearless object, is a testament to Cooper’s brilliance, and will now save design book connoisseurs thousands of dollars.

Writing for Archinect, Nicholas Korody commented:

“Nearly fifty years ago, Denise Scott Brown, her husband Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour brought nine architecture students, two planning students, and two graphic design students to Las Vegas. There they studied the famous, if often derided, Las Vegas Strip, discovering a wealth of meaning in its bright signage. Their findings, published four years later in 1972, became one of the seminal texts of architectural theory and influenced an entire generation of practitioners and thinkers.

“Learning from the existing landscape,” Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour begin, “is a way of being revolutionary for an architect.” Perhaps more than anything else, the research methods pioneered in Learning from Las Vegas have changed the way architects practice and study, recasting quotidian landscapes as objects to be analyzed rather than ignored or denigrated. “Withholding judgement may be used as a tool to make later judgements more sensitive,” they write. “This is a way of learning from everything.”

In Learning from Las Vegas, architecture appears as “decorated shed” or “duck”. The former relies on imagery and signage to convey its program. The latter expresses its program and meaning in its form. If much of the then-dominant “late Modernism” eschewed ornament, prior architectures acted more as “ducks”. With the publication of the book, Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour helped usher in a return to ornament and symbolism in architecture, as well as a new focus on the architecture of the everyday.

–continue reading at:



Mary Heebner, Cassandra, a poem by Stephen Kessler; images by Mary Heebner ([Santa Barbara, Calif.]: Simplemente Maria Press, MMXIX [2019]). 1 folded sheet (20 panels); approximately 26 x 500 cm folded to 26 x 26 cm + 1 booklet. Copy 10 of 25. Acquired with matching funds provided by the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019 in process

The illustrations are adapted from the collage series Veiled/Unveiled (2018). The poem is from “Garage Elegies”, Black Widow Press, 2018.

“Design by Simplemente Maria Press. All text is printed letterpress from polymer plates, typeset in Spectrum MT, by John Balkwill, The Lumino Press, Santa Barbara, California. The images are printed digitally, with some debossing on Legacy Etching cotton rag paper. Individual collage and hand-painting is added to each page by the artist.

The booklet containing the poem, colophon and notes on the mythological Cassandra is handsewn with a Legacy etching cover over Saint-Armand handmade cotton paper.

The accordion structure which opens out over 75 inches, and the booklet rest in a zinc box, made by David Shelton Studios, Santa Barbara, California, with a drawing etched on the lid of the powder-coated box by Joel Sherman, at M Studio, University of California, Santa Barbara.”–Colophon.


With your swampy voice, your electric hair,
rhythm of reeds tideswayed in the rivershallows,
sinuous strings, sidemen on the bank keeping the beat,
you sing bad news with a sound of sweet illusions, of doom
that is not a disaster but merely inevitable, what anyone would expect
if they took a deep look at the evidence everywhere, beauty and truth
entwined with death, cruelty on the loose, tenderness barely enduring
under the lash of chaos muted by coercion—those rules
even the stupid can understand—and out of such murky depths
some lovely myth may rise in song to beggar disbelief.
[selection of text]

Interview with Mary Heebner from Atelier Visit on Vimeo.

Elisabeth Sonrel


The Graphic Arts Collection recently added two small Catholic missals decorated with chromolithographs in the art nouveau style typical of Élisabeth Sonrel (1874-1951). Her portraits of pretty girls in soft pastels and floral wreaths are instantly recognizable from posters and other nouveau ephemera.

Sonrel only produced a few prayer books with the Tours publishing house known as A. Mame et Fils, under Paul Mame (1833-1903), son of Alfred Mame (1811-1893). Decorated bibles and illustrated books were the shop’s specialty where, according to one source, they published six million volumes yearly.

Missel, avec illustration par Mlle. Sonrel (Tours: A . Mame et Fils, [1900?]). Embossed leather with all-over cross motif within fleuron borders; elaborate gilt inner dentelles and marbled endpapers; in original marbled-pattern slipcase. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Missel des saintes femmes de France, avec illustration par Elisabeth Sonrel (Tours: Maison A. Mame et fils, 1900). Full morocco binding with four incised bands at the spine and the owner’s applied metal initials on the front board; all edges gilt over marbling; triple embroidered bookmark with metal piece reading “Credo.: In original hinged case with ruched ecru silk lining. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019 in process


What does the word ‘print’ mean?

Association of Print Scholars—picture

Modern Fine Printing—text

Print Council of America—picture

American Printing History Association—text

Print Club London—picture

Printing Historical Society—text

Princeton Print Club—picture


Out of print—text

Print collection—picture

Print on demand—text

First printing, Second printing—text

Get into print—text


Printed Matter—text


Print and then sign—text

Print Quarterly—picture

Print collector—picture

The print is too small—text

Nature print—picture

Print or online edition—text

New York After Dark in 1931

Charles G. Shaw, Nightlife: Vanity Fair’s Intimate Guide to New York After Dark (New York: John day Company, 1931). Decorated by Raymond Bret-Koch (1902-1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.  Note: Prohibition ended in 1933.

This indexed guide provides information on speakeasies, night clubs, dance halls, and more with specific chapters on Harlem, Greenwich Village, Lower East Side, and Yorkville. Restaurants are divided into luxury, foreign, chop suey with dancing, chop suey without dancing, chophouses, and grill rooms.

Decoration throughout is by Raymond Bret-Koch (1902-1996). The BnF lists him as French and continues “Architect, decorator, poster designer and illustrator. – Learn architecture with Mallet-Stevens, decoration with André Groult, advertising art with Tolmer. – After his military service, he specialized in decoration and advertising. He has had a great activity in the press, as a creator, editor, poster artist and in publishing as an illustrator.”


The fabulous Moscowitz Roumanian (correct spelling) restaurant  is described “the walls are garish, the decor cheap, there is no pretense to chic. but here is, mark you, a house of comfort, ease, and relaxation.” For more on this classic, see: . Happily Sammy’s Romanian is still open:

Print Catalogues and Databases: Past, Present, and Future

The Fourth Annual APS (Association of Print Scholars) Distinguished Scholar Lecture will be held today, January 25, 2019, at the City University of New York. Titled “Print Catalogues and Databases: Past, Present, and Future,” Antony Griffiths, FBA, is expected to speak to a standing-room audience of students, curators, historians, collectors, conservators, and dealers.

Griffiths will share his long-term work on the British Museum’s online print catalogue and the implications of this work for other institutions and future scholarship on the history of prints. As many collection databases are being merged with a broad range of other mediums in online databases, the loss of image specific information and art historical data is a serious concern to us all.

Antony Griffiths is the Former Keeper of the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, where he served from 1991 to 2011. He was also Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford for the 2014/2015 academic year, where he delivered a series of lectures in conjunction with his book, The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550–1820.

Please note that the lecture will be recorded and is to be made available online for APS members and the general public.

The Association of Print Scholars (APS) is a non-profit organization that encourages innovative and interdisciplinary methodological approaches to the history of printmaking. By maintaining an active website, sponsoring working groups, and hosting periodic symposia and lectures, APS facilitates dialogue and community among its members and promotes the dissemination of their ideas and scholarship. APS supports research grants and sponsors projects in the digital humanities that advance knowledge of printmaking. Membership is open to anyone whose research focuses on printmaking across all geographic regions and chronological periods.

The House Beautiful

William C. Gannett (1840-1923) and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), The House Beautiful (River Forest, Ill.: Auvergne Press, 1896-1898). Printed by William Herman Winslow. Copy 71 of 90. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

“In a setting designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and printed by hand at the Auvergne Press in River Forest by William Herman Winslow and Frank Lloyd Wright during the winter months of the year eighteen hundred ninety six and seven.” Includes a brochure sewn to 1st front fly-leaf containing 12 collotypes [not photogravure] of dried weeds. Completed at the end of 1898. Cf. Mary Jane Hamilton, Frank Lloyd Wright and the book arts, 1993.

“In 1895 the Auvergne Press … printed its first book, an edition of Keats’s The Eve of St. Agnes, for which [Frank Lloyd] Wright designed the title page. They then set to work on a second, Wright contributing photographic studies of dried weeds and several pen-and-ink designs of highly stylized flower patterns. The book’s title was The House Beautiful, a reprint of a sermon by William C. Gannett, editor of Unity and close friend of Jenkin Lloyd Jones. Gannett’s account of the construction of the Lloyd Jones family church made the first public mention of the family’s “boy architect.” Gannett’s sermon is not inspired, but his title was most up-to-date and symbolic, echoing as it did the central concern of the Arts and Crafts Movement.”

“The chance to experiment in a new field was obviously a great lure for Wright, but what seems to have meant most to him was the importance of the message being put forward by this old friend of his family, one that he could ‘clothe with chastity,’ as he noted in the book itself. Later, he explained to Gannett, ‘its [sic] good to catch a glimpse sometimes of what the world will be like when cultivation has mellowed harshness and gentle unselfishness is the rule of life.’” –Meryle Secrest, Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography (1998).