Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

“‘Everything will be remembered’, a palimpsest” by Ravikumar Kashi

Ravikumar Kashi, ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest. Bangalore, India, 2020. Unique edition. Etched copper plate filled with printing ink, copper wire. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection is honored to acquire Ravikumar Kashi’s ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest, one of four finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) Prize, selected by juror Betty Bright from 158 submissions sent from 18 countries. “Established in 2009, this biennial award is meant to represent the diversity of approaches to book art, honoring one winner and four finalists for their unity of form, material, and content.”

Born in Bangalore, India, Ravikumar Kashi ( studied painting, printmaking, and papermaking under masters in India, Scotland, and Korea. He received a National award from Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi in 2001 and two awards from Karnataka Lalita Kala Academy 1990, 1999 and one from Karnataka Shilpa Kala Academy for his works in 2000. He has also received first prize in ‘Ventipertrenta’, International Festival of Digital Art 2017, from Museo Internazionale Dinamico de Arte Contemporanea, Italy.


Note: “The type face of the second layer of the text is an English font called Samarkan, designed to look like a Sanskrit text, and is intended to act as a visual marker for the Indian right-wing practice of quoting ancient texts to gain validation. It is also a simulation of ancient handwritten palm leaf text manuals from India.”


Here is a portion of his artist statement for MCBA, beginning with the background for the work:

On 30th May 2019, the Indian right wing party BJP led by Mr. Narendra Modi formed the central government for a second time. Its election campaign was replete with anti- Muslim rhetoric and sloganeering. That same year, on the 12th of December, the Government of India enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In the weeks following, nationwide protests calling for the repealing the CAA and the foregoing of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was supposed to precede CAA, were held….

In early 2020, following speeches given by BJP leaders inciting their followers to attack and shoot anti-CAA protesters, riots occurred in North-Eastern Delhi. Beginning on 23 February, and caused chiefly by Hindu mobs attacking Muslims, there were multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting. Of the 53 people killed in three days, two-thirds were Muslims who were shot, beaten, or set on fire in the Indian capital’s deadliest Hindu-Muslim riot since 1950. …

The Work Concept:

My work is a combination of copper plates used historically for documentation and the idea of palimpsest.
Copper plates: In the Madras Museum, located in southern part of India, a series of copper plates from as early as 4th century AD have been preserved and displayed. These copper plates recorded various events of their time for posterity.
Palimpsest: a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing; something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

In the light of anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots, I wanted to create a copper plate palimpsest for my time , so that the erasure of our constitutional values will not be forgotten.

There are two layers of text in the work. In the partially erased layer seen beneath, is the preamble to the Indian Constitution, declaring its claim to secure justice, liberty, and equality to all citizens, and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. That layer is being eroded, and replaced with textual details of Delhi riots, narrating the incidents of murder and rampage. There are Slogans of violence like “We will enter the house and beat you up” or “Shoot the traitors”.

…The title for the work ‘Everything will be remembered’ comes from the title of the poem written by anti-CAA activist Aamir Aziz, lines of which were also recently recited by [Roger Waters] of Pink Floyd:

A section of “Everything will be remembered” by Amir Aziz.

Tum Raat Likho Hum Chand Likhenge,
Tum Jail Mein Dalo Hum Deewar Phand Likhenge,
You could write the night, but we will write the moon.
If you put us in jail, we would jump over the walls and still write.

Tum FIR Likho Hum Hain Taiyar Likhenge,
Tum Humein Qatl Kar Do Hum Banke Bhoot Likhenge,
Tumhare Qatl Ke Sare Saboot Likhenge,
If you would lodge an FIR against us, we are all set to write about the injustice we are suffering from.
If you murder us, we will come as the ghosts and still write. We will write mentioning the proofs unveiling the murders you have committed.
We will write mentioning the proofs unveiling the murders you have committed.

…Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega, Sab Kuch Yad Rakha Jayega,
Aur Tumhari Laathiyon Aur Goliyon Se,
Jo Qatl Huwe Hain Mere Yaar Sab,
Unki Yaad Mein Dilon Ko Barbaad Rakha Jayega,
We will remember everything. We will not forget it at all.
The dearest friends of mine who you murdered with lathis (or sticks) & bullets;
In the remembrance of them, we will keep our hearts broken-down. …

Additional reading: Indian antiquary. Bombay, Popular Prakashan [etc.]

Collection des cinquante-deux fresques du Vatican

Tableaux de la Sainte Bible ou Loges de Raphaël: collection des cinquante-deux fresques du Vatican, représentant les principaux sujets de l’Ancien & du Nouveau Testament, peintes par Raphaël, dessinées et lithographiées par MM. Barathier,… [et al.]. Sous la direction de Mr Hippolyte de Courval. Avec les textes extraits des livres sacrés. Dédiés à son altesse royale, monseigneur le duc de Bordeaux = Paintings from the Holy Bible or Raphael’s Lodges: A Collection of Fifty-Two Vatican Frescoes, representing the main subjects of the Old & New Testaments, painted by Raphael, drawn and lithographed by MM. Barathier,… [et al.]. Under the direction of Mr Hippolyte de Courval. With texts taken from sacred books. Dedicated to His Royal Highness, Monsignor the Duke of Bordeaux. (Paris: Chez Prodhomme et Cie, librairies, boulevard des Capucines N° 1. 1825). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Under the direction of Hippolyte de Courval, the frescos of Raphaël (1483-1520), were drawn by Barathier; A. Barincou;; Bouillon; Chrétien; Charles Achille d’Hardiviller (1795-18??); Antoine François Gelée (1796-1860); Henri-Joseph Hesse (1781-1849); Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (1795-1866); Paul Claude Michel Le Carpentier (1787-1877); and Weber; then lithographed by Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839) .

This is one of many attempts to reproduce the frescoes. Volume 2 of Le bibliophile belge (Bruxelles, 1845-1850) (Firestone Z1007 .B5354) has a “bibliographie des loges,” which begins as early as 1607. The very long list is abbreviated below to show how far down this lithographic presentation comes.


1. Historia del Testamento Vecchio, depinta in Roma nel Vaticano da Rafaelle di Urbino , et intagliata in rame da Ş. BADALOCCHIO ( Sisto Rosa) et 610. LANFRANCHI , Parmigiani. Al Sig. Annibale Caracci. Roma, appresso Giov. Orlandi, 1607….
2. Historia….. Urbino. Al Mto illo Sig. D. Giuseppe Bernagi Giov. Orlandi D. D. D. – BALDASS. Alois Bon. fe.- Si stampa in Roma appresso Giov. Orlandi, 1613.; Titre et cinquante feuilles avec un texte tiré de la Bible. H. 5 p. 5 1. L. 6p. 81. La première et la seconde planche sont en contre-partie comme dans la seconde édition du n° 1.
3. Les 52 sujets grávés par ORAZIO BORGIANT, de différente dimension, in-40 allongé et in-8′ H. B. 1615….
4. La Sacra Genesi figurata da Rufaele d’Urbino, intagliata da FRANCESCO VILLAMENA, dedicata al…. Card. Aldobrandino. Ronia appresso gli heredi del do Villamena, 1826. Dans la dédicace, la veuve de Villamena dit que son mari, qui avait dessiné toutes les loges de Raphaël, avait été interrompu par la mort tandis qu’il s’appliquait à les graver. …

10. Picturae Perystiti Vaticani Avec une dédicace au pape Pie VI par Montagnani. — Venit Romae apud Petrum Paulum Montagnani, 1790. 53 seuilles. H. 8 p. 81. L. 10 p. avec encadrement. Dessiné par LUIGI AGRICOLA , gravé par Luigi CuNEGO, Gio. PETRINI, GIROL. CARATTONI, G. MORGHEN, MOCHETTI , Pozzi, Cochini, Bossi , etc. ….
11. Loggie di Rafaele , gravé par J. VOLPATO et J. OTTAVIANI , d’après les dessins de C. Savorelli et P, Camporesi. Roma presso Marco Pagliarini, 1782, 43 feuilles, grand in-folio royal, publiées en 3 livraisons. La seconde porte ce titre : Seconda parte delle Loggie di Rafaele nel Vaticano che contiene XIII volte e i loro rispettivi quaddri, pubblicata in Roma, l’anno 1774, gravé par J. OTTAVIANI. Volpato avait pour objet spécial de représenter les arabesques, les stucs et les plafonds des loges.
12. Les loges du Vatican peintes par Raphaël, contenant 52 sujets avec le texte explicatif de la Bible, in-40, chez David, graveur (à Paris) et chez Treuttel et Wurtz (Journal général de la littérature de France, 1808, p. 60).

13. Collection des 52 fresques du Vatican, connues sous le nom de Loges de Raphaël, et représentant les principaux sujets de la Bible (lith. par Engelman), publiée par H. CASTEL DE COURVAL. Paris, 1825, in-fol. obl. Lithographies très-médiocres, copiées sur Chapron, et accompagnées des textes de la Bible correspondants à chaque sujet.

14. Au trait, in-8°, dans le Musée de peinture et de sculpture, dessiné et gravé à l’eau forte par Réveil, avec des notices descript., critiques et hist. par DoCHESNE aîné, in-8°.

Ein Deutsches Wörterbuch

Robert Andrew Parker, Ein Deutsches Wörterbuch (A German Dictionary) (Cornwall, CT: Robert Andrew Parker, 2011). A./P. (artist’s proof). 28 hand colored plates unbound as issued and housed in a cardboard and wood box fabricated by the artist, with “Wörterbuch” stenciled on the cover. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.

Robert Andrew Parker’s resume includes “hand double” in 1956 for Kirk Douglas’s Vincent van Gogh drawing and painting the art in Lust for Life. An accomplished jazz drummer, Parker not only performs but he wrote and illustrated a biography on jazz musician Art Tatum, Piano Starts Here.

Parker illustrated over 90 children’s books, poetry books, and literary classics. Princeton’s special collections holds around two dozen of these books, beginning with Marianne Moore (1887-1972), Eight poems, written by Marianne Moore; with drawings by Robert Andrew Parker hand-colored by the artist (New York: Museum of Modern Art, [1962]). Edition: 195. Rare Books PS3525.O5616 A17 1962.

Our most recent acquisition is Parker’s German alphabet book, editioned in only 10 copies. An adult alphabet, each letter is matched with a German word and ominous image. T is for Toten Kopf-Husaren (Death’s Head Hussars), other letters hold suggestions of war and pain. In his Print magazine profile “Robert Andrew Parker on Life and Illustration,” Michael Dooley notes:

The German series, originally produced as monotypes in the mid-1980s, is part of Parker’s lifelong preoccupation with war. Born in 1927, he was already sketching combat scenes by the age of ten. And it was his pictures of imaginary battlefields, published in “Esquire” in 1960, that first brought him to national attention. —


Parker is a prolific fine artist and illustrator, with work in hundreds of books and magazines, including the New Yorker, Life, and Forturne (above). Play the wonderful episode of Virtual Memories, no. 283 to hear an interview with Parker:

Pamětní spis

Born in Prague, capital of what used to be Czechoslovakia, Alois Senefelder (1771-1834) was educated in Germany where he invented a printing process–lithography–to help publish his play.

According to OCLC, only one book has been published on lithographic printing in Czechoslovakia and only three United States collections hold a copy. Now there are four. The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired Pamětní spis vydaný na oslavu sté ročnice vynálezu litografie / uspořádali a vydali zástupci Pražských sdružení litografických; redakci vedl V. Koranda = A Commemorative Volume Issued to Celebrate the Centenary of the Invention of Lithography / organized and published by representatives of the Prague Lithographic Associations; the editorial staff was led by V. Koranda (Prague: Pražská odborová sdružení litografická, 1899).

Written to honor Alois Senefelder, the book includes a biographical essay along with approximately 18 plates illustrating lithographic printing techniques and a chart outlining the development of graphic works of art in guilds = Nastin vyvoje grafickych praci umeleckých v cechach. Presses, tools, paper, inks, and other aspects of the process are discussed.

Call the apothecary

Since the Renaissance, apothecaries have turned up in plays, poetry, novels, and movies. Did you ever wonder what the apothecary used when she or he was called to someone’s home? The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a 19th-century, leather and brass apothecary’s travelling medicine case, manufactured by Savory & Moore, Chemist to the Queen & HRH Prince of Wales. It is a nice complement to the apothecary’s scale at the Princeton University Art Museum [bottom].

This hinged single layer case is lined in black morocco and has an inner hinged document compartment behind the cover, along with 20 compartments (one with hinged flap). One section is removable with further compartment beneath. Although we can’t be sure, this case is seemingly complete with 17 bottles, scales and weights, palette knife & mixer; one stopper broken, early leather repair to inside of lid.

Savory and Moore were established at 143 New Bond Street in 1797, finally closing their doors in 1968. This particular case appears to have traveled the West of England. Two of the medicine bottles are labelled, one with Henry Hodder & Co. Ltd. Bristol, Bath & Newport; the other with Young & Co., cash chemists, Bristol. Both labels are early 20th century but the case itself is 19th century.


Loosely inserted in the document compartment is a single sheet of laid paper with three manuscript medicine recipes, one for ‘Mrs Day’, another for ‘Master Day’. The leaf includes printed stamps for Steele & Marsh of Bath, and H. Jenkins, chemist, in addition to an embossed stamp for J. Robinson, operative, dispensing & family chemist. [c.1870]


What else is in the library collection?

The Robert H. Taylor manuscript collection from Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), includes correspondence listing fees paid to [among many others] apothecaries, and other employees of the Great Wardrobe; military officers in fortifications; and keepers of royal palaces.


Apothecary’s Balance and Weights, 1639. Princeton University Art Museum y1950-126. Gift of Frank Jewett Mather Jr. Note the scales being used in the print below.


“Mrs Lavement arriving back home late after the theatre with Captain O’Donnel causing Mr Lavement (an apothecary) much anger and jealousy, Roderick Random apprentice to Mr Lavement watches the scene with amusement.” Etching by T. Rowlandson after himself after T. Smollett. in The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett, M.D. (London: J. Sibbald, and sold by T. Kay, 1793): v.1, p. 116. Graphic Arts GA 2014.00633

Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) is the printer of the illustrated broadside The apothecary’s prayer!!. [London]: [s.n.], July 30, 1801. Graphic Arts GA 2014.00082

King Lear, Act 4, scene 6:
But to the girdle do the gods inherit,
Beneath is all the fiends’;
There’s hell, there’s darkness, there’s the
sulphurous pit,
Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie,
fie, fie! pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet,
good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.
There’s money for thee.


Watercolors by poet Archie Ammons

A.R. Ammons (1926-2001), Sagan Moonikin, ca. 1977. Signed by the artist. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.

Ammons’ friend Emily Wilson noted, “This is one of a few pictures that Ammons titled: Sagan Moonikin. It was made in a period in which Carl Sagan (1934-1996) had joined the Cornell faculty and was very much in the news of the scientific community. Ammons includes in this modernist watercolor the image of a small farmhouse, which he uses in a number of pictures as a reference to his North Carolina home [not Sagan’s], but he sets it in the granite landscape of Ithaca. Sagan moved to his house on the gorge after Ammons had made this picture and that requires more discussion and research.”

A.R. “Archie” Ammons (1926–2001) was among the first recipients of the MacArthur Fellows Program, unofficially known as the “Genius Grant,” when it was established in 1981. The poet, who taught at Cornell University from 1964 to 1998, received many awards for his writing, among them two National Books Awards, a National Book Critics Circle Award, the Library of Congress’s Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry. Less known or celebrated were Ammons visual arts, including the six watercolors recently acquired by Princeton’s Graphic Arts Collection.

Our continuing thanks to Susan Stewart, Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Princeton University and to Emily Herring Wilson, longtime friend of Ammons, for their help with this acquisition. In her remembrance of the poet, Wilson noted the year he took up painting with a vengeance:

“Moving back into their house on Hanshaw Road, Archie set up a table in the upstairs bedroom looking out into the backyard he loved so much and had written about so often, and he began painting water-colors. In 1977 he was painting as many as six or eight hours a day. In 1981, he described the process in one of the most revealing statements he ever made about the sources of his creativity:

‘The is a poetics of tears, of smiles, of ecstasy (sensual joy and the harsh inspirations of the religious heights): there is a poetics of quietude and deep study, a poetics of fear—and a poetics of anger. During Christmas vacation in 1976, I got the notion which I had had passingly but often before, to try watercolors. I’m sure I was attracted to the possibility of bringing together in one visual consideration the arbitrariness of pure coincidence with the necessity of the essential, the moving form the free, as the work of art begins, through the decisions of pattern and possibility, and into and through the demands of the necessary, the unavoidable, the inevitable. This “change” is in another from the oldest of journeys, that from exile to community.

Having had dozens of tries at real pictures, I began to feel what events on the paper “meant”—that is, I began to learn the joining of what happened on the paper to its emotional counterpart, the feelings generated and expressed by the events. I discovered that I was stirred by the thin, loud, and bright, the utterly blatant effect like a smack in the face, the anger felt, expressed, reacted to. And then I thought that not a very nice thing to be into. But I was angry, sizzlingly angry for whatever reasons, and I found myself, when I could endure the emotions at all, released by letting the anger go and become the splatters and the sheer control of the paint. And then I thought that since we must after all at times be angry, how fortunate we are that art allows us to transform blistering feelings int the brilliance, the sweep and curve, the dash and astonishment (along with the cool definition, judgment, and knowledge) of still completed things.’” –Emily Herring Wilson, When I go back to my home country: a remembrance of Archie Ammons (Fountain, NC: R.A. Fountain, 2019).

A.R. Ammons, Untitled [Abstraction in sections with pink, red, green, and yellow], ca. 1977. 9 x 12 inches. Signed by Ammons. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.

Note from Wilson “I love this. Because it seems to me to be the North Carolina landscape we have near black lakes in eastern NC and lots of red/pink clay used by potters. Also sandy coasts and sunshine and lots of creeks. For me he has his sizzling anger under control with the beautiful reds.”

See also: Literary Vision. November 1988, A.R. Ammons, John Ashbery, William Blake, William Burroughs, E.E. Cummings, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, D.H. Lawrence, Henri Michaux, Henry Miller, Kenneth Patchen, and Kenneth Rexroth (New York: Jack Tilton Gallery, 1988).




A.R. Ammons, Untitled [Abstraction with verse], 1977. Signed and dated by Ammons. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.

“Over a forty-five year span, A. R. Ammons gained readers, recognition, financial reward, and international acclaim for his verbal creations, not his visual ones. Although longtime subscribers to EPOCH may re member that one of his watercolors graced the 1986–87 cover of the magazine (35:3), most readers of Ammons’s twenty-five poetry collections remain unaware that he also painted more than one thousand watercolors. He did not hide that pursuit; in fact he was proud of his paintings, and from time to time, he promoted them.

From 1977 until 1993, he entered his work in twelve separate exhibits at sites from the Johnson Art Museum at Cornell to the Jack Tilton Gallery in New York City, where four of his paintings appeared in the show “Literary Vision,” along with [others]. He also exhibited his paintings in North Carolina, at the Reynolda Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem and at the University of North Carolina’s Morehead Gallery in Chapel Hill. More recently, in October 2002, The Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery at Wake Forest University, Ammons’s alma mater, presented an exhibit of fifty of the poet’s paintings; watercolors from that show subsequently appeared on the March and August 2003 covers of Poetry.” — Elizabeth M. Mills, “An Image for Longing,” Epoch 52 no.3 (2003).


A.R. Ammons, Untitled [Self-portrait, abstract], 1977. Signed and dated by Ammons. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.
Wilson notes “Ammons painted a number of these faces, which seem to be self-portraits but require more study to have a clearer understanding.”

See also: Jonathan Dembo, A.R. Ammons’s poetry and art : a documentary exhibit : exhibit catalog (Greenville, N.C. : J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, 2008).
Donald Friedman and John Wronoski, The writer’s brush : an exhibition of artwork by writers (New York, NY : Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation, 2014)

A.R. Ammons, Untitled [Abstraction with nature in blue, red, and brown], 1977. Signed by Ammons. Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process.


Please help put the pieces together

Thanks to Dickson Q. Brown ’1895, the Graphic Arts Collection holds this 18th-century engraving titled The Office Loungers, once published in a London magazine as the left side of a complete print. You can see the unfinished line at the top and bottom. It is not uncommon when clipping images over the years to mix them up and/or loose the matching plate. Individual copper plates were also reissued with new titles. Such is the case here. Do you know the complete scene?

A few similar questions have been solved, such as this print The Devil to Pay, which is one side of a set of engravings reproducing Samuel Collings (died 1795), Magnetic Dispensary, 1790, an oil on canvas owned by the Library Company of Philadelphia. The full engraving was printed by John Barlow after Collings in 1790 and published in The Attic Miscellany, 1791, vol. I, pictured on p. 121. Yale holds the original drawing by Collings and the Library of Congress has the complete engraving. Princeton holds the right side.



A few sheets were part of triptychs, such as this engraving on the left that was once published in the Carlton House Magazine as “Sunday Work which ought to be prohibited.” The individual engraving, retitled The Bakers Sunday Triumph, 1794, shows bakers rejoicing while the steam-powered Albion Mills burns (referenced in William Blake’s ”dark satanic mills”) and George III passes an act forbidding the baking of bread on Sundays.

The British Museum is fortunate to own this broadside [below] published 1791, after the Albion Mills burnt down. Their website notes “On 2 March 1791, the entire building burnt down. It was a dry night and a low tide, so it was difficult to access water to extinguish the flames. The east wind that night would have blown smoke towards the house of William Blake in Lambeth. A large crowd gathered to watch the fire, a scuffle broke out, and the insurer’s fire brigade tuned their hoses on the crowd rather than the building. Arson was strongly suspected, but nobody was prosecuted. The building remained derelict until it was pulled down in 1809.”

Art history involves detective work. Can anyone help us put the pieces together with our Office Loungers? Thanks very much.





Wind power rejected, 1767

Dickson Q. Brown, Princeton University Class of 1895, liked to collect (clip?) prints from the British journal Town and Country Magazine; or, Universal Repository of Knowledge, Instruction, and Entertainment. Approximately 75 of these plates were donated to the Princeton University Library. A surprising number offer scenes that take place in London taverns, such as the engraving titled The Battle of Cornhill, originally published in Town and Country, issue 1, March 1769, facing page 137, with story 137-38.


Charles Dingley (1711-1769) built a wind-powered sawmill in 1767 at Limehouse and in May of that year it was pulled down by “A large body of sawyers … on pretence [sic] that it deprived many workmen of employment.” On March 8, 1769, a number of London merchants were invited to the King’s Arms tavern in Cornhill to sign an address to the King. They were already unhappy, being charged one shilling to enter the room (to keep out the riffraff). Dingley punched John Reynolds (John Wilkes’ attorney) so hard he fell out of his chair and a fight ensued. Some of the others on site were Reverend John Horne, Peter Muilman, and Samuel Vaughan. Several satirical prints were quickly engraved and published, including The Addressers address’ …, The Inchanted Castle, or Kings Arms in an Uproar, and The Battle of Cornhill.

Note on the wall the reference to Matthew 24, v.28: “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together,” (modern translation: “Wherever the corpse is, the vultures will gather”).  Also on the wall is the announcement being highlighted: “Rewards for Sycophants / G.t Contracts, Securities / Lottery Tickets / Script / O Tempora O Mores.” (“Oh the times! Oh the customs!”, first recorded to have been spoken by Cicero–wikipedia). Several gentlemen ran out the back door as soon as the battle began. Through the window, you see a broken windmill (although Limehouse is miles away to the east).

Dingley died eight months later and was buried at St Helen’s Bishopsgate on 20th November 1769.


Artist unidentified, The Battle of Cornhill, March 1769. Engraving. Originally published facing p. 137 of The Town and Country Magazine. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2012.01799

Holiday Cards

As the trees come down and ornaments go back in their boxes, many of us carefully archive the beautiful works on paper created by artists and writers under the auspices of holiday cards. One of the masters of paper architecture is Werner Pfeiffer. Those fortunate few who receive his miracles of construction and design, editioned from 160 to 180, look forward each December to the small white envelope that brings his latest creation. Always colorful, each year is different and each card is unique. Here are a few recent gifts.

A brief biographical sketch:
Born in 1937 in Stuttgart, Werner Pfeiffer studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in his home town. In 1961 he emigrated to the United States and had a career as a designer and art director, receiving awards from The New York Art Directors Club, The New York Type Directors Club, the New York Society of Illustrators, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, among others. In 1969 he was appointed Professor of Art at Pratt Institute in New York and at the same time established the imprint Pratt Adlib Press. He currently lives and continues to publish from Red Hook, New York.

A part of Vassar’s lovely video portrait:

…based on Elias Canetti’s ‘Auto da Fé’

Ronald King and George Szirtes, The Burning of the Books. A poem sequence by George Szirtes based on Elias Canetti’s novel ‘Auto da Fé,’ illustrated by Ron King. Artist edition (London: Circle Press, 2008). No. 4 of 30. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Writer George Szirtes and artist Ronald King collaborated on this sequence of 14 poems and 15 etchings, inspired by Elias Canetti’s famously grotesque yet marvelous novel Auto da Fe set in pre-war Vienna. Quoting from the prospectus:

“Back in 1971 Ron King at the press in Guildford tried to obtain permission from the publishers to illustrate Elias Canetti’s great novel Auto da Fé. Permission was denied to him, as to all others who had requested it, as the author did not wish his work to be illustrated or made into a play or film. In 1981 the novel won Canetti the Nobel prize for literature but still the writer would not release his tight grip on the copyright. Canetti died in 1994 and ten years later King took it on himself to persuade George Szirtes winner of the Eliot prize for poetry 2004, to make a book with him on the theme of Auto da Fé. Within a short time poem after poem of a powerful sequence directly related to or inspired by his re-reading of the book, the poems living as it were, in the crevices of Canetti’s text, arrived at the press from Szirtes.”

George Szirtes, Introduction: “The sequence is titled ‘The Burning of the Books’ since that is what happens at the end of Auto da Fé. The scholar’s library burns in anticipation of the Nazi book-burnings to come. The poems are fuel for King’s visual symbiotic-organisms, joining them in a mutual homage-cum-conflagration.”

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Auto-da-fé [Blendung]; translated from the German under the personal supervision of the author by C.V. Wedgwood (New York: Stein and Day, 1946). ReCAP, 3437.27.313.9



Originally formed by Ron King in 1967, the Circle Press, is both part of a tradition and a breaker of tradition. The stages of its life are marked not only by the individual natures of those whose books and prints it has published but also by the differing character of the decades through which it has passed. “The name Circle Press was chosen by Ron to suggest his vision of a group of like-minded persons working within a shared, supportive framework, a circle which over the period of time has enlarged to include over 100 artists and poet.” Its past history is documented in Cooking the Books – Ron King and Circle Press. See also:



George Szirtes, “What being bilingual means for my writing and identity,” The Guardian Mary 3, 2014. Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes writes in both English and his native tongue. He contemplates bilingualism and belonging:

Sometimes language seems no more than a piece of tissue paper carried on the wind: flimsy, semi-transparent, endlessly vulnerable, like a deflated talks-bubble, almost weightless. At other times it is a brick wall, or worse still a room with dense walls and no exit, with only the sense of voices beyond the wall, faintly audible and never clear enough, everything they say immediately becoming part of the wall. Always provisional, language appears this or that way to us according to our own disposition and relation to it. …