Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

Guillermo Deisler and the Peacedream Project


The Chilean-born visual poet Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995) was imprisoned in 1973 under the Pinochet government before being exiled to France, Bulgaria, and finally Germany. It was in Halle (Saale) that he began publishing the international mailart portfolio known as the Peacedream project UNI/vers(;) together with Hans Braumüller, Theo Breuer, David Chikladze (Georgia), Pedro-Juan Gutierrez (Cuba), Joseph Huber (Germany), César Figueiredo (Portugal), K. Takeishi-Tateno (Japan), Spencer Selby (USA) and many others.

“For the Latin Americans,” wrote Deisler, “including some of us right now, that voluntarily or driven by political circumstances are obligated to exile, those that work in ‘art by mail’ transform into a palliative that neutralizes this situation of ‘deceased citizens,’ the name coined by Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos for this massive emigration of cultural workers from the South American continent”

Published between 1987 and 1995 in 35 numbers, Deisler edited each issue focused on visual and experimental poetry. “The project encouraged visual and experimental artists to submit 100 works. 40 artists were put together in one issue, each artist receiving a copy of the magazine. Uni/vers (;) transmitted messages and poetry with simple matters. It was poetic communication bearing in mind the mass being available. In its best case an issue was simultaneous poetry in a collective form without censorship or borders.”–From;

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to acquire a partial run of UNI/vers(;) as well as a small group of his artists’ books and concrete poetry.

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Exclusivo hecho para usted (Juego) (Antofagasta, 1971). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Gregorio Berchenko, Knock-out: poemas visuales / Gregorio Berchenko; cubierto, Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: ediciones Mimbre, [1971?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poemas visivos y proposiciones a realizer (Antofagasta: Ediciones Mimbre, 1972). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Poesia visiva en el mundo / selección y notas de Guillermo Deisler (Antofagasta, Chile: Ediciones Mimbre, [1972?]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Le cerveau (Marseille: Nouv. Eds. Polaires, 1975). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Stamp, 1990. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), UNI/vers(;): visuelle und experimentelle Poesie international: Magazin 1 / 5 jahre 5 years peacedream project uni/vers(;) 1984 – 1992 / peacedream project uni/vers(;) visuelle und experimentelle … (Berlin, 1992-1994). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process
See all issues online:

Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), Everything I do is poetry (Cleveland, OH: Generator Press, 1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020 in process

Adler’s paper sample resources

Recently two paper sample cabinets owned by Elmer Adler (1884-1962) came back from off-site storage to our vaults, including this one housing sample books from the Alling & Cory Company.

“Alling and Cory was a privately owned printing paper and packaging distributor headquartered in Rochester, New York, [Adler’s hometown]. Founded by Elihu F. Marshall in 1819, the company was the first paper merchant in the U.S. The company remained independent until 1996 when it was bought by Union Camp. Assumed to be among its employees were two United States Presidents and other United States statesmen.

At its height, Alling and Cory owned more than 20 branch offices from Toledo, Ohio to New York City. At one point, it was the United States’ oldest privately owned company in continuous operation. In 1910-1911, they built the Alling & Cory Buffalo Warehouse and in 2010, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

See The New York Times article: “Alling & Cory Sold for $88 Million to Union Camp” from Dow Jones, April 16, 1996.

A second cabinet holds this wonderful color sample brochure. Here is a small part of the business history posted by the Beckett Paper Company:

With sales of less than $100 million, Beckett Papers is a rather small, yet distinctive, segment of the Fine Papers Division of Hammermill Paper Co., itself a subsidiary of $20 billion International Paper Co. Nevertheless, Beckett enjoys a long and distinguished heritage in the paper industry, stretching back 50 years earlier, in fact, than that of International Paper. Established in 1848, Beckett was controlled and managed by descendants of founder William Beckett until 1959, when it became a subsidiary of Hammermill Paper Co. Hammermill was in turn acquired by International Paper in 1984.

A well-established brand presence in the fine papers, stationery, and uncoated recycled stock segments enabled Beckett to retain its own identity and logo through the mid-1990s. But while its goods continued to be milled at the company’s birthplace in Hamilton County, Ohio, its headquarters was moved to East Granby, New Jersey, along with the rest of International Papers’ Fine Papers Group.

Beckett Papers was founded and eventually named for William Beckett. Born in 1821 and educated at southern Ohio’s Miami University, Beckett, along with a couple of partners, bought into an abandoned paper mill in the town of Hamilton in 1848. At first, the mill churned out newsprint made of rags for sale to newspaper publishers in nearby Cincinnati. Though the mill struggled to stay in the black during its first two years, efficiencies achieved through the addition of a second paper making machine led to a decade-long period of profitability. The Civil War helped to lengthen this prosperous period, as newspaper sales skyrocketed, fueled by public hunger for news from the battlefields. These high times subsided during the late 19th century, when panics and recessions hurt the company’s results.

Partners came and went over the course of the company’s first four decades in operation, and the business endured several name changes before its incorporation as The Beckett Paper Company in 1887. By this time Thomas Beckett, son of the founder, had joined the company. The second-generation leader brought new production methods to the company, including modern paper making machines that used wood pulp. Though his changes were vehemently resisted by some managers, modernizations kept the company’s costs competitive and eventually brought it out of the red. Thomas launched the Buckeye Cover brand of colored paper in 1894, a stock that soon gained a reputation for high quality. The buckeye, Ohio’s state tree, would serve as Beckett’s corporate logo for some 100 years, until the launch of a new logo in mid-1998.

Read more:



These resources were originally moved from Elmer Adler’s office in The New York Times annex to Princeton in 1940, when he established a graphic arts program at the university. Special thanks go to my colleagues Jen Meyer and Mike Siravo, who arranged the moving and new storage for these important resources back into the department.

Edward George Mevs, Photographer in Haiti

Born in New York City on October 18,1866, Edward George Mevs was registered as an American citizen while in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1877. The purpose of his visit is listed as business although he was 11 years old. There is no information about his father’s occupation.

Back in New York in 1893, now 26-year-old Mevs applied for a passport to travel to Port-au-Prince as a photographer, promising to return in two years. A second application was completed in 1895 when the two years ran out.

Mevs continued to travel between the two cities throughout his life, the last recorded trip at the age of 63 in 1930. We know he was 5’ 11’’ with brown hair and a fair complexion, although his nationality is listed as American, Haitian, and West Indian on various documents.

Mevs is the one photographer’s name that has been found in a small volume labeled Illustrated Souvenir Album of Haiti, Comprising the Leading Business Houses and Views of The Republic (Toronto: S. McCoy, 1895). Each recto has a cyanotype, most illustrating a Haitian business with text identifying the company on the opposite page. Several prints are further described in a written caption.



This is a curious album printed by A. S. Barham in Kingston, Jamaica, and published by S. McCoy from Toronto. Included are drugstores, hotels, banks, import/export merchants, suppliers of French goods, drugstores, coffee exporters, hardware stores, lumber mills, opticians, printers, a cooper, and an ice factory with diverse locations such as Port-au-Prince, Gonaïves, Cap Haitien and Jacmel.

It is not unusual for a photographer to use cyanotypes in this period, which is a relatively inexpensive process. Also called Blueprints, the image is made by painting iron salts on paper or cloth and then exposing the material to sunlight through a photographic negative. Long term, the image is susceptible to fading when given too much light exposure, but it is also surprisingly resilient, as the image may return when left in the dark.



Frances Mary Richardson Currer, important early bibliophile

Although she would not today be allowed to join the Club of Odd Volumes or the Rowfant Club, Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861) was an esteemed bibliophile, described by T.F. Dibdin “at the head of all female collectors in Europe” and owner of the fourth largest library in England.

In 1820 Robert Triphook compiled A Catalogue of the Library of Miss Currer at Eshton Hall, in the Deanery of Craven and County of York, of which fifty copies were printed. In 1833 a second catalogue was prepared by C. J. Stewart, on a modified system devised by Hartwell Horne for the British Museum (although not used) in an edition of 100 copies. The Stewart catalogue has been acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection, which includes an excellent index to her library.

C.J. Stewart, A Catalogue of the Library Collected by Miss Richardson Currer, at Eshton Hall, Craven, Yorkshire (London: Printed for private circulation only [by J. Moyes], 1833). 4 plates by S. Rawle after Frederick Mackenzie (1787 or 1788-1854), printed by McQueen. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process


The plates are printed by the McQueen company, “a copperplate printing and publishing family firm, founded by William Benjamin McQueen [thanks to the British Museum biographies]. At 72 Newman Street, Rathbone Place from 1817-33, having probably been in business from the 1790s. The firm moved to purpose-built premises at 184 Tottenham Court Road 1833, where it remained for a century. In 1956, his descendant Philip McQueen joined Thomas Ross & Sons (q.v.) taking with him the McQueen firm’s stock of old plates and prints.”

Frances Mary Richardson Currer, photograph of a portrait by Masquerier, 1807.

“John James Masquerier (1778-1855) was an accomplished portraitist who enjoyed a wide practice among the intellectual and artistic communities at the turn of the nineteenth century. Born in London to Huguenot parents, Masquerier returned with his family to Paris in 1789. He enrolled at the Académie Royale under the supervision of the director François André Vincent. Having witnessed many of the bloody events of the French Revolution, Masquerier escaped back to London in 1792. He entered the Royal Academy Schools, exhibiting for the first time in 1794, after which his services as a portrait painter were much in demand. Masquerier returned to Paris in 1800, where he was granted access to make drawings of Napoleon from life.”—National Portrait Gallery, UK

Currer is a fascinating bibliophile. Here is additional information quoting from the DNB:

Currer, Frances Mary Richardson (1785–1861), book collector, was born on 3 March 1785 at Eshton Hall, near Gargrave, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She was the posthumous daughter and sole heir of the Revd Henry Richardson (1758–1784) who, shortly before his death, took the name of Currer on succeeding to the estates of Sarah Currer. Her mother was Margaret Clive Wilson, the only surviving child and heir of Matthew Wilson of Eshton Hall; she was a niece of Clive of India.

‘She is’, wrote Mrs. Dorothy Richardson in 1815: in possession of both the Richardson and Currer estates and inherits all the taste of the former family, having collected a very large and valuable library, and also possessing a fine collection of prints, shells, and fossils, in addition to what were collected by her great grandfather and great-uncle. F. Dibdin considered that Currer’s collection placed her ‘at the head of all female collectors in Europe’ (Reminiscences, 2.949) and that her country house library was, in its day, surpassed only by those of Earl Spencer, the duke of Devonshire, and the duke of Buckingham. Seymour De Ricci wrote that she was ‘England’s earliest female bibliophile’ (De Ricci, 141).

Dibdin relates that the library had substantial holdings in natural science, topography, antiquities, and history, together with a collection of the classics. There were rarities, some early printed books, a collection of Bibles, and a fine gathering of illustrated books. Although ‘collected with a view to utility … The books individually are in the finest condition, and not a few of them in the richest and most tasteful bindings’ (Stewart). The manuscripts included the correspondence (1523–4) of Lord Dacre, warden of the Anglo-Scottish marches, the Richardson correspondence, and the Hopkinson papers. John Hopkinson (1610–1680) was secretary to Dugdale during his Yorkshire visitation. Dibdin first estimated the number of volumes at 15,000 and, later, 18,000. In 1852, Sir J. B. Burke put the number at 20,000 (Burke, 1.127).

  1. Lister, ‘The lady of Eshton Hall’, Antiquarian Book Monthly Review, 12 (1985), 382–9
  2. F. Dibdin, Reminiscences of a literary life, 2 vols. (1836), 949–57
  3. Myers and M. Harris, eds., Antiquaries, book collectors and the circles of learning (1996), 112 n. 80


This Hunger….

Anaïs Nin (born Neuilly, France, 1903-1977), This Hunger (New York: Gemor Press, 1945). No. 28 of 50 with 5 color woodcuts by Ian Hugo (Hugh Parker Guiler, born Puerto Rico, 1898-1985). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.

When Nin’s 1944 book, Under a Glass Bell sold out in three weeks, she and her lover Gonzalo More moved their printing press to a new home on East 13th Street, calling it Gemor Press after More’s initials. She wrote in her diary,

“As Gonzalo wanted the press to seem more businesslike, more impersonal, less like a private press run by writers, we had to find an appropriate place. The Villager had just moved out of 17 East Thirteenth Street. It was a small, two-story house. The ground level with a cement floor was suitable for the printing press. A narrow, curved iron staircase led to the second floor, which would be perfect for the engraving press. The house rented for sixty-five dollars a month, almost twice as much as the old studio on Macdougal Street.”


Their first book at the new location was This Hunger…., later expanded and incorporated into Ladders to Fire, She completed it in September 1945, noting in her diary that she “printed the one hundred and eighty-fourth page, the last of the de luxe edition of This Hunger” and went home exhausted. Although More wanted the business, Nin did the majority of the work, printing at least eight hours a day. The move was expensive and she owed money to everyone, saved in part by Henry Miller, another lover, who gave her $1,000, ”the first large amount he ever earned, which helped me pay off debts; with the rest he bought a cottage in Big Sur.”


According to volume 4 of The Diary of Anaïs Nin 1944-1947, in the mid-1940s Nin also had a relationship with Edmund Wilson (1895-1972). In reviewing This Hunger in The New Yorker November 10, 1945, he wrote:

“There is not much expert craftsmanship in This Hunger by Anaïs Nin but it is a more important book than either Marquand or Isherwood because it explores a new realm of material. Even Isherwood can do little more than add to an already long series another lucid and well-turned irony of the bourgeois world on the eve of war. But Anaïs Nin is one of those women writers who have lately been trying to put into words a new feminine point of view, who deal with the conflicts created for women by living half in a man-controlled world against which they cannot help rebelling, half in a world which they have made from themselves but which they cannot find completely satisfactory.”

He ends “I feel sure that Anaïs Nin has still hardly begun to get out of her intelligence and talent the writing that they ought to produce. This new book, like the one before it, has been published by Anaïs Nin herself. Anaïs Nin is at present a special cult, when she ought to have a general public.”

He sent her flowers and a set of Jane Austen. “He was hoping,” Nin wrote, “I would learn how to write a novel from reading her!”


Watch-Paper Printing Plates

If you were a person of sufficient means in the 18th century, you might own and carry a pocket watch. So treasured were these watches that many were designed with a second, outer case to protect the delicate mechanism. Between the inner and outer casing, it became fashionable to insert small circular engravings, printed on square sheets and then cut out and inserted.

By 1780, the various engraved portraits of beautiful women slipped into a gentleman’s pocket watch became the subject of “A Dissertation upon Watch-Prints” by Bob Short in The Westminster magazine, London (Dec 1780): 691-691.

While these circular prints have become collectables, few can boast the copper printing plates that produced them. We are proud to say the Graphic Arts Collection is the new owner of three copper printing plates for watch-papers. Each can be attributed to John June (active 1740-1770), after Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), and published by Robert Sayer in Fleet Street, ca.1766.

The female subjects are:

Miss Nelly O’Brien. Printed for Rob.t Sayer, at No 53 in Fleet Street. Plate: 164 164 x 1.15mm, barely rounded corners. On the back: punched for correction; engraved outline of a man in a large hat crossed through. Provenance: Iain Bain (1934–2018), Bewick scholar and printing historian.

Lady Selina Hastings. Sold by Rob.t Sayer in Fleet Street. Signed ‘J. June Sc.’ Plate: 63 x 70 x 1.27 mm, rounded corners. On the back: closely spaced lightly scratched lines: O’Brien by Reynolds, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

Countess of Waldegrave. Printed for Rob.t Sayer, at No 53 in Fleet Street. Plate: 63 x 55 x 1.27mm, barely rounded corners. On the back: makers stamp B.W. under a crown (B. Whittow of Shoe Lane) with burin trials around and filling in the letters; punched for correction; lightly scratched lines, traces of ink.

Copper plates with the digital image inverted below.

Each of these ladies were the subjects of paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, later reproduced in mezzotint and widely distributed. While John June is confirmed to have engraved only one plate, we can attribute the others to him as well. Robert Sayer’s catalogue of 1766 contains a list of sixty-one ‘Designs in miniature for watchcases’ engraved by Louis Philippe Boitard at 3d. plain and 6d, so it is possible the same portrait was reproduced by several engravers over the years. See more in London 1753 by Sheila O’Connell, et al. (2003). Marquand Library DA682 .O28 2003

Reynolds, Joshua; Nelly O’Brien (d.1768); Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow;

Maya Angelou and John T. Biggers

Maya Angelou (1928-2014), Our Grandmothers. Lithographs by John T. Biggers (New York: Limited Editions Club, 1994). Lithographs and letterpress. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

She stands
before the abortion clinic,
confounded by the lack of choices.
In the Welfare line,
reduced to the pity of handouts.
Ordained in the pulpit, shielded
by the mysteries.
In the operating room,
husbanding life.
In the choir loft,
holding God in her throat.
On lonely street corners,
hawking her body.
In the classroom, loving the
children to understanding.

Centered on the world’s stage,
she sings to her loves and beloveds,
to her foes and detractors:
However I am perceived and deceived,
however my ignorance and conceits,
lay aside your fears that I will be undone,

for I shall not be moved.
–Maya Angelou, Last stanzas from “Our Grandmothers” first published in I Shall Not Be Moved (1990).

When Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Annie Johnson) agreed to allow her poem “Our Grandmothers”  be used in a Limited Editions Club publication, she asked that it “be illustrated by her favorite artist, John T. Biggers, an internationally acclaimed muralist and printmaker. …And now, for the Maya Angelou poem, Biggers has created five monumental lithographs that synthesize his concepts for the soul of Black Africa and its American reincarnation, of ancient myth and contemporary reality.” [-prospectus]. In planning his contribution to the book, Biggers used several elements from his 1992 triptych entitled “Family Arc,” seen above.

Originally published in her fifth poetry book, I Shall Not Be Moved (1990), the poem’s 1994 printing had a limited run of 400 numbered copies signed by both the author and the artist. It was one of the largest-format books (17 3/4 x 22 inches) ever issued by the Club.

“Angelou had written four autobiographies and published four other volumes of poetry up to that point. Angelou considered herself a poet and a playwright and her poetry has also been successful, but she is best known for her seven autobiographies, especially her first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She began, early in her writing career, of alternating the publication of an autobiography and a volume of poetry. …[She grew up] with their grandmother in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas. In Stamps, the young girl experienced the racial discrimination that was the legally enforced way of life in the American South, but she also absorbed the deep religious faith and old-fashioned courtesy of traditional African American life. She credits her grandmother and her extended family with instilling in her the values that informed her later life and career. She enjoyed a close relationship with her brother. Unable to pronounce her name because of a stutter, Bailey called her “My” for “My sister.” A few years later, when he read a book about the Maya Indians, he began to call her “Maya,” and the name stuck.

An unsigned obituary for John T. Biggers, published on January 29, 2001 in the Washington Post, mentioned their collaboration, describing him as ”a pioneering black muralist who became known for the epic sweep of his work in profiling the African American experience.” The piece continues:

“Dr. Biggers, who lived in Houston, founded the art department of what is now Texas Southern University in Houston in 1949. He directed the department and served on its faculty until retiring in 1983 to devote his time to his artwork. He had gained national attention in 1943, when his mural “Dying Soldier” was included in the landmark exhibition “Young Negro Art” in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. After he settled in Houston, his artwork, which was inspired by Mexican political muralists, became part of the very landscape of Lone Star schools and businesses.

…In 1994, he illustrated Maya Angelou’s poem “Our Grandmothers.” She had said that his art “functions as delight and discovery. He sees our differences and celebrates them. And in so doing, he allows the clans of the world to come together in respectful appreciation.”



What happens when a play is a flop but the poster is a hit?

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872–1898), Avenue Theatre, A Comedy of Sighs! March 29, 1894. Printed by Stafford & Co. Ltd., Nottingham. Color lithograph and letterpress. Purchased by the Friends of the Princeton University Library in memory of Ben Primer. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Thanks to the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Graphic Arts Collection has a new lithographic poster by Aubrey Beardsley, purchased in memory of Ben Primer (1949-2019).

[William Butler] Yeats and {George Bernard] Shaw had a mutual friend in Florence Farr (1860–1917), who had created Blanche in Widowers’ Houses. She became manageress of the Avenue Theatre in 1894, and set out with a group of others to flout convention with the production of avant-garde plays. Their season opened with Dr. John Todhunter’s The Comedy of Sighs and Yeats’s The Land of Heart’s Desire in a double bill, but Todhunter’s play was a failure and was replaced by Arms and the Man, with Florence Farr as Louka….– W. B. Yeats, Autobiographies (London: Macmillan, 1955) pp. 281–4.

The poster (and program) announcing these two plays was design by the hot young illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, who Farr wisely commissioned to handle her advertising. It was his first and still, best known poster with a rare use of color. As soon as it was posted around town, all of London society began talking.

Already recognized for his infamous illustrations of Le Morte D’Arthur and Salomé (images first published in Pall Mall Budget magazine), Beardsley was seen as a controversial but hugely fashionable new artist. He associated with the British Decadents, inspired by the American expatriate James McNeill Whistler, along with the notorious Oscar Wilde.

The poster opened a Pandora’s box on the Decadents’ use of eroticism and sexual ambiguity in their imagery. Charles Hiatt described its initial reception “nothing so compelling, so irresistible, had ever been posted on the hoardings of the metropolis [of London] before. Some gazed at it with awe, as if it were the final achievement of modern art; others jeered at it as a palpable piece of buffoonery; everybody, …was forced to stop and look at it.” —Le livre, revue du Monde Littéraire 5 (November 1884): 356.

The Japanese influence in the title calligraphy and flatness of the overall design led to questions of racial blending, while the dot pattern over the female’s face and body were read as a suggestion of syphilis and sexual promiscuity. To research the topic further, see the soon to be released Picture World: Image, Aesthetics, and Victorian New Media by Rachel Teukolsky (Oxford University Press, 2020), selections already available on google books.

Here is one of several humorous pieces published in Punch, this one April 21, 1894. The magazine told the theater’s manager (in Cockney slang) to “ave a new poster,” obviously a pun on the word Avenue.

 See more:

La victoire remportée par l’armée du roi

Almanach pour l’an de grâce M. DCC VIII. La victoire remportée par l’armée du roi commandée par / monsieur le Duc de Barvick sur les anglois et portuguais pres Dalmanza le 25 avril [The Victory Won by the King’s Army Ordered by the Duke of Berwick on the English and Portuguese Near Almanza on April 25] Paris, chez P. Gallays, rue Saint Jacques a Saint Francois de Sales, [1707]. Engraving in two sheets. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process


This spectacular depiction of the French victory over the Hapsburgs at the 1707 Battle of Almanza is the second of two French almanac prints recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection. Although printed in large runs and sold at low prices, these broadsides were often destroyed at the end of each year to make room for the new almanac print, making them quite rare in collections today.


In the large scene, James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick (1670-1734), is seen with other officers after their victory. FitzJames was the illegitimate son of James Duke of York (later King James II) and Arabella Churchill (1648-1730, sister of John Churchill duke of Marlborough). On April 25, 1707, he won a great and decisive victory at the Almanza, where an Englishman at the head of a Franco-Spanish army defeated Ruvigny, a Frenchman at the head of an Anglo-Portuguese-Dutch army. Vignettes on either side of the almanac show the 1707 battle and the subsequent surrender.

The last great event of the War of the Spanish Succession occurred on September 11, 1714, when his soldiers stormed Barcelona after a long siege. In that year, he was appointed a Knight of the Golden Fleece. This scene appears in a later almanac print.

Pierre Gallays (1677?-1749) was an engraver who made a career out of publishing large runs of popular prints with dramatic historical scenes. The son of a Parisian merchant, in 1702 he married Élisabeth-Louise de Heuqueville (died 1735), daughter of the Parisian bookseller Louis II de Heuqueville and widow of the printer/publisher Pierre Landry (died 1701). Gallays inherited the business Landry established and continued his success in marketing these patriotic prints.


Fin de la guerre ou la paix conclue …

Almanach pour l’année M. DCC XIV. Fin de la guerre ou la paix conclue entre les Princes Chretiens par leurs Plenipotentiaires assemblez à Ultrach 11e avril mil sept cent treize. [End of the War or the Peace Concluded between the Princes Christians by their Plenipotentiaries Assembled in Utecht April 11th 1713]. Paris, chez Gerard Jollain rue St. Iacques a l’Enfant Iesus, 1713. Engraving in two sheets, Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process.



The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired two French almanach prints, the first of which is shown here. Thanks to curator Rachel Jacobs, Waddesdon Manor, and her exhibition “Glorious Years,” we know these almanacs were “created at speed, involving a team of artists, specialized engravers, poets, printers, and publishers. Printed in the thousands, they were relatively cheap and available to the middle classes. A calendar is essential for everyday life. …replaced annually [they] were not designed to last.”

During the height of their popularity, there may have been up to ten scenes published for a particular year by private presses, such as this one issued by the printer/publisher François Gérard Jollian (active 1684-1719). The scenes were sanctioned by the King to celebrate his victories. Here we see the signing of one of the treaties of Utrecht, also called Peace of Utrecht, which brought the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) to an end.

By the treaty with Britain (April 11), France recognized Queen Anne as the British sovereign and undertook to cease supporting James Edward, the son of the deposed king James II. At the top of the print are three allegorical figures of peace holding portraits of King Louis XIV and Queen Anne. Three personifications of war are at the bottom holding portraits of the failed rulers. Note the fireworks in the center cartouche. Along the sides are detailed borders presenting twelve different seals of European nobility.


Many of the same scenes turn up in a variety of popular prints, such as L’idée de la paix conclue entre les Hauts alliés et les françois dans la ville d’Utrecht le 11 avril et ratifiée le mai 1713, published in Amsterdam.