Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Proofs of papal coins

A curious collection of proof etchings of coins and medals from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries from the Papal mint of Bologna, with a few coins depicting ‘temporal’ rulers such as Giovannni II Bentivoglio of Bologna, Giovanni Sforza (first husband of Lucrezia Borgia), and Charles V, the great enemy of the Papacy.

The manuscript notes that accompany a few of the plates, referring to books or noting prices, might suggest that the etchings were produced to document a private collection. It is also possible that these were proof etchings for a publication on the subject, although no numismatic reference book with such illustrations has been found.

“The mint of the Emperor Henry VI was established at Bologna in 1194, and nearly all of the coins struck there bear the motto BONONIA DOCET, or BONONIA MATER STUDIORUM. The baiocchi of Bologna were called bolognini; the gold bolognino was equivalent to a gold sequin. The lira, also a Bolognese coin, was worth 20 bolognini. These coins were struck in the name of the commune; it is only from the time when Bologna was recovered by the Holy See, under Clement VI, that Bolognese coins may be regarded as papal.”–

The Sun – El Astro Brillante

Invitacion al mundo filosofico para reconocer al sol. verdadero iman conocido [Invitation to the philosophical world to recognize the sun. The true known magnet] found in: J.L.T. .., Historia sucinta de un feliz descubrimiento hecho en uno de los paises del Asia (Madrid: [Don Tomás Jordan, impresor de camara de S.M], 1836). Cover: Descubrimiento oriental, representado en una lamina fina. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

This small, obscure brochure has one engraving by Esteban Boix (born 1774) after a design by D. Domingo presenting Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727); Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and others contemplating the sun with the author “J.L.T.”

The anonymous writer relates how “he grappled with the nature of light – its propagation, materiality, interaction with the eye etc. – by reading the theories of Lavoisier, ‘immortal’ Newton, Descartes, Huygens, Bernoulli, and Malbranche, but was left confused and dissatisfied.

So one night in summer 1832 he undertook to travel mentally into space to contemplate the sun (‘el astro brillante’), traveling for three quarters of an hour and being oblivious to a fire raging in his village. While the experience left him with a three-day headache, it revealed the sun to him as ‘elVerdadero Iman’, and a new science styled ‘Imanica’.”

This is the only recorded copy in the United States. Thanks to our dealer for the transcription/translation.

Leon Underwood

Thanks to the generous gift of Kristina Miller, our colleague for many years in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty at Princeton University, the Graphic Arts Collection is the proud new owner of The Siamese Cat written and illustrated by the British artist Leon Underwood.

Leon Underwood studied at the Royal College and the Slade School of Art, before founding the Brook Green School of Art in Hammersmith, London, where he trained such artists as Henry Moore in wood carving, and Gertrude Hermes and Blair Hughes Stanton in wood engraving.

By 1925 Underwood moved to New York City where he brought his School of Art to Greenwich Village and became active in the local wood engraving network. He supported his art with commercial jobs illustrating books and magazines while exhibiting his prints alongside John Taylor Arms, Charles Sheeler, and Wanda Gag among others. It was at this time that he wrote and illustrated The Siamese Cat for Brentanos.

Thanks to Elmer Adler, the Graphic Arts Collection also holds two self portraits by Underwood, shown here. [left] Leon Underwood (1890-1975), Self-portrait, 1922. Etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2005.00928.


Leon Underwood (1890-1975), The Siamese Cat (New York: Brentanos, 1928). Woodcut illustrations by the author. Gift of Kristina Miller. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process


A thought and an action or an object are synonymous to most cats.
Leon Underwood (1890-1975), Self-portrait in a landscape, ca. 1921. Etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2005.00927.



In 1931 Underwood and Joseph Bard, a Hungarian poet and an expatriot in Britain, co-founded The Island, a journal of art and literature, today only available at the Huntington Library and Emory University Library. He continued to travel, visiting West Africa in 1945 and returning with a large collection of African art, some of which he later sold to the British Museum.




See also the webpage below:

The Portraits of Leon Underwood by Simon Martin


Unpublished drawing by F. O. C. Darley


This angling drawing signed by F.O.C. Darley just turned up. It is not his usual work and we are having trouble matching it to a publication or project. Any thoughts would be appreciated at:


Some interesting links that have been consulted:

View Across the Rio Grande, the River of Death, from San Ygnacio, Texas




Eric Avery, View Across the Rio Grande, the River of Death, from San Ygnacio, Texas, 1983. Linoleum block print on handmade Okawara paper. 26 5/8 x 73¾ inches. 15/20. Gift of the artist. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Dr. Avery writes, “The image was drawn [in 1983] on linoleum on the Rio Grande River bank, two blocks from my San Ygnacio home. During this time with many undocumented persons, including refugees fleeing the war in Central America, were crossing the river, an occasional body would be found floating in the river. The ones found near San Ygnacio were buried in a paupers section of the cemetery.

On the right side of the print, Michael Tracy is lying on the riverbank, with Henry Estrada, his partner, and myself standing at his side. Fishermen are in their boats in the river. Armed fighters from Central America are crossing in the middle of the print.”


The Texas/Mexico border

The artist notes that he kept a house in San Ygnacio  for 40 years, while also living elsewhere for work.  “Moving back now, the crisis on the Border is much worse than when I made the print. Then, the wars in Central America are represented by the armed men coming north. Now, Trump’s Wall is proposed to be constructed on the Riverbank where I made the print.”


Eric Avery is an artist/printmaker who became a physician during the Vietnam War in the 1970’s. In 1974, he received his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas and then in 1978 completed his psychiatry training at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City. For forty years he has worked at the intersection of visual art and medicine, leaving the practice of medicine several times to concentrate on his art career. His social content prints explore issues such as Human Rights Abuses, and Social Responses to Disease (specifically HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases), Death, Sexuality and the Body. His body of work is more thoroughly represented at

This semester his work is highlighted in the exhibition: States of Health: Visualizing Illness and Healing on view at the Princeton University Art Museum through Sunday, February 2, 2020.

Tesoros musicales de la Nueva España: Siglo XVI. Tacámbaro de Codallos

María Isabel, Tesoros Musicales de la Nueva España: Siglo XVI. Tacámbaro de Codallos ([Mexico]: Taller Martín Pescador, 2018). One of 210 copies. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2019- in process

Publisher’s quote: “Dr. María Isabel Grañén Porrúa is Mexico’s leading scholar of 16th-century printing in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and Juan Pascoe of the Taller Martín Pescador is Mexico’s greatest living handpress printer.

Her scholarship, based on archival research and the minute study of early colonial-era printed musical texts, and his precise and meticulous presswork are here combined to give us a masterful study of a neglected area of the history of the book in Mexico, in a volume that is joy in the hand and a jewel to the eye.

Prior to publication here, the extended essay had been ‘presentado en el simposio ‘El libro en la Nueva España. Historiografía en Construcción.’ Dirección de Estudios Históricos del INAH, octubre de 2017.'”

Florencio Ramírez composed the text using Dante, Centaur, Poliphilus, and Blado type. Juan Pascoe and Martín Urbgina printed the work on Tamayo De Ponte paper using a Vandercook cylinder press and two Washington handpresses. The work was bound by Fermín Urbina.

Maxim Gorky and Zena Peschkoff, his adopted son

In clearing out an office recently, a platinum print was found signed by the American photographer Alice Boughton (1865-1943). It is a portrait of Maxim Gorky and Zena Peschkoff, his adopted son taken around 1910. This appears to be a slightly different moment than the print owned by the Metropolitan Museum:

The April 1914 issue of Wilson’s Photographic Magazine [Graphic Arts Collection HSV 2007 0005M] offers a biographical profile of Boughton written by Beatrice C. Wilcox that mentions the sitting:

While she is interested in illustrative work and in out-of-doors studies, Miss Boughton’s principal work is in portrait photography. Many celebrated men and women have sat to her for their portraits, and not the least interesting part of her work is in coming in contact with these various personalities. An experience never to be forgotten was the kindliness of Prof. William James, who had time for everybody, and the sympathetic touch and vivid personality of Ellen Terry.

Celebrities are not always kindly and sympathetic, or even interested in their own pictures, but the photographer must in some way try to get in touch with each one. For instance, Maxim Gorky, who spoke no language but Russian, sat gloomily absorbed in his own thoughts and expected the photographer to do everything. Miss Boughton finally penetrated his gloom and got a look of responsiveness through her interest in his young adopted son, who spoke French and acted as interpreter.

She has taken actors in small dressing rooms, on the roof, and fire escapes, and has overcome many obstacles and perplexities of lens and camera, but, in her opinion, handling the people is the hardest work of all. A photographer must have the social instinct, a sympathetic personality, tact and the infinite patience to make his sitters feel at ease and to bring out the best qualities of each one.

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) lived in Europe and then America from 1906 to 1913. In the United States he started his classic novel The Mother about a Russian Christian woman and her imprisoned son, who both joined revolutionaries under the illusion that revolution follows Christ’s messages. Here is the New York Times announcing Gorky’s visit:

GORKY’S ADOPTED SON TELLS OF WRITER’S PLANS. On His Way Here to Get Aid for the Revolutionists. TO SPEAK IN MANY CITIES Pleshkoff Says His Foster Father Will Show Russian Life as It Really Is. Nikolay Zavolzsky Pieshkoff, adopted son and protege of Maxim Gorky, the famous Russian writer, who is due here in a few days, talked with a TIMES reporter yesterday. For more than a year, the young man, who fled from Russia to escape persecution by the agents of the Government, has been living quietly on the east side and earning his living in the mailing room of Wilshire’s Magazine. [full article:]

Whilst Time is unveiling, Science is exploring Nature

Museum late Sir Ashton Lever’s Albion Place the Surry side of Black Fryers Bridge. Admission ticket engraved by William Skelton (1762-1848) after a design by Charles Reuben Ryley (1752?-1798) [London], ca. 1788. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

In William Hone’s 1838 The Every-day Book and Table Book; Or, Everlasting Calendar of Popular Amusements, Sports, Pastimes, Ceremonies, Etc, this ticket for the Leverian Museum is illustrated and the following explanation given:

“It seems appropriate and desirable to give the above representation of Mr. Parkinson’s ticket, for there are few who retain the original. Besides—the design is good, and as an engraving it is an ornament. And—as a memorial of the method adopted by sir Ashton Lever to obtain attention to the means by which he hoped to reimburse himself for his prodigious outlay, and also to enable the public to view the grand prize which the adventure of a guinea might gain, one of his advertisements is annexed from a newspaper of January 28, 1785.

J. R. Ashton Lever’s Lottery Tickets are now on sale at Leicester house, every day (Sundays excepted) from Nine in the morning till Six in the evening, at One Guinea each; and as each ticket will admit four persons, either together or separately, to view the Museum, no one will hereafter be admitted but by the Lottery Tickets, excepting those who have already annual admission. This collection is allowed to be infinitely superior to any of the kind in Europe. The very large sum expended in making it, is the cause of its being thus to be disposed of, and not from the deficiency of the daily receipts (as is generally imagined) which have annually increased, the average amount for the last three years being 1833l. per annum.

The hours of admission are from Eleven till Four. Good fires in all the galleries.

The first notice of the Leverian Museum is in the “Gentleman’s Magazine” for May, 1773, by a person who had seen it at Alkerington, near Manchester, when it was first formed. Though many specimens of natural history are mentioned, the collection had evidently not attained its maturity. It appears at that time to have amounted to no more than “upwards of one thousand three hundred glass cases, containing curious subjects, placed in three rooms, besides four sides of rooms shelved from top to bottom, with glass doors before them.” The works of art particularized by the writer in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” are “a head of his present majesty, cut in cannil coal, said to be a striking likeness; indeed the workmanship is inimitable—also a drawing in Indian ink of a head of a late duke of Bridgewater…”

The winner of the 1786 lottery was estate agent James Parkinson (1730-1813), who moved the collection to the “Rotunda” near Blackfriars Bridge. Our ticket dates from this time, notably the Blackfriar’s address appears in the title.

Below the image is the text: Whilst Time is unveiling, Science is exploring Nature.

Read more: J. C. H. King, “New Evidence for the Contents of the Leverian Museum,” Journal of the History of Collections, 8, no. 2 (1996): 167–86.

Adrienne Lois Kaeppler, Holophusicon–the Leverian Museum : an eighteenth-century English institution of science, curiosity, and art (Altenstadt, Germany: ZKF Publishers; Honolulu, HI: Distributed in the United States by Bishop Museum Press, 2011). Marquand Library Oversize AM101.L67 K34 2011q

Reynolds Stone

“Under God’s power she flourishes”

The Graphic Arts Collection just received a copy of Humphrey Stone’s new biography Reynolds Stone: a memoir (Stanbridge, Wimborne Minster, Dorset : Dovecote Press, 2019). GA 2019- in process. A small part of Stone’s legacy involved Princeton University Press and the design of the Princeton University Library’s bookplate, still used today [above].

Engraver and designer Reynold Stone (1909-1979), named after his ancestor, Sir Joshua Reynolds, went to Magdalene College, Cambridge to read history before starting work in 1932 as a graduate apprentice at Cambridge University Press. There he met their typographical adviser Stanley Morison who was to become a personal friend. Morrison later described Stone as the “best letterer in the country since Eric Gill died.” Stone already had a natural flair for typesetting winning the first prize of five guineas in 1931 for title pages set in Monotype in the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Industrial Design Competition. The following year he again took the first prize.

For more information on the many, many bookplates used over the years at Princeton, see:

This is a list of the shelf marks and ownership marks of the Princeton University Library. Here also is a listing of ownership marks of collections and libraries absorbed into the main collections.

See also Myfanwy Piper, Reynolds Stone ([London] Art and Technics, 1951). Graphic Arts Collection NE1217 .S78 P5 “First published 1951 by Art and Technics ltd. … London …”–t.p. verso.


El Río. The River: A Collaboration

Zoe Leonard and Dolores Dorantes, El Río. The River: A Collaboration (Mexico City: Gato Negro, 2018). Risography. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2019- in process

“The River is a collaborative project between Zoe Leonard and Dolores Dorantes, with photography by the former and text by the latter. Richly textured images of water highlight the dynamic nature of the element, with experimental writing focused on topics surrounding dislocation, desire and devastation in a rhythm that matches the ebb and flow of the photography. With Spanish writing accompanied by English translations, the reader is spatially situated in Mexico and is invited to reflect on water as a life force.”

“The book collects unpublished photographs that the American artist Zoe Leonard has taken along the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo) in 2017 and texts commissioned for this project from Dolores Dorantes, Mexican poet and activist, who has been exiled to the United States for years. The book is an immersion into the physical context, the actual barrier; the very heart of the border between Mexico and the United States: the waters of the Río Bravo or Rio Grande. A number of figures in the water recall something else: skin, scars, wrinkles, genitals, the writing of an unknown language. A poem made of photographs, and the depiction of that sequence with a poem made of words. Or rather, a broken bilingual, visual-textual attempt of conversation over the tensions in between a simple, ever-changing but always the same flow of water, and all the terrible complexities around, above, beneath it.

The argument could be simple: at the end and at the beginning, it is only water. As simple, complex, beautiful and terrible as that. Or maybe not: to complete the argument it is necessary to summon the ghost of the body that runs through it.

In the words of Dolores Dorantes: I’m going to walk on water. Say. Bring me all those parts of the body and put them here. Say. I’m the body and I’m on the table. Soy tu cuerpo y estoy sobre la mesa, en la estructura divisoria del mundo. Soy tu cuerpo y estoy sobre la mesa del mercado del mundo. Soy tu cuerpo y estoy sobre la mesa, donde se encausa la corriente del mundo. I’m the farce, arranged at strategic points of our territories. Between the face and neck, for example. Between the anchored ankle and satisfaction.

Interview: Gato Negro — Leon Muñoz Santini from MISS READ on Vimeo.


León Muñoz Santini is the founder of the publishing house Gato Negro Ediciones in his hometown of Mexico City. As a young man, Santini studied political science at the Mexico’s National University but left that field to developed his career in editorial design, with a special focus in the fields of children’s literature, social design, and photography.

He has received multiple awards, among them the New Horizons in Bologna Ragazzi Awards (2009 and 2013); 50 Books / 50 Covers of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (2009); Quorum Award (2009); and repeatedly Caniem Editorial Arte Award, the White Ravens in Germany and the Book Bank of Venezuela.