Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

Walks in Paris, 1894

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this lovely fin de siècle volume with color ornamentation by Alexandre Lunois (1863-1916), a lithographic framing of floral motifs on each page, a cover by Eugène Delâtre (1864-1938), and four etchings in colors by Albert Bertrand (born ca. 1855). It is one of only 180 copies, all on tinted vellum, and printed for the Société des bibliophiles contemporains, led by Octave Uzanne.

-in Luxembourg Gardens
-in Hôtel Drouot

Note this rare look at a 19th-century book auction at the Hôtel Drouot. This might be the 1894 sale of rare and precious books, manuscripts, and printed matter from the library of the late Raoul Leonor Lignerolles (1817-1893).

Established on June 1, 1852, Hôtel Drouot, 9, rue Drouot, is one of the oldest organizations for public auction house sales. Known for fine art, antiques, and antiquities, the Hôtel Drouot consists of 16 halls hosting 70 independent firms, which operate under the umbrella grouping of Drouot. The firm’s main location, called Drouot-Richelieu, is on a site once occupied by the Paris Opera’s Salle Le Peletier.

-At the nightclub, Moulin de la Galette


Balades dans Paris (Walks in Paris)
: Au Moulin de la Galette–À l’hotel Drouot–Sur les quais–Au Luxembourg. Texts by Paul Eudel (1837-1911), Bernard Henri Gausseron (1845-1913), and Adolphe Retté (1863-1930). (Paris: Academie des beaux-livres, Imprimé pour les “Bibliophiles contemporains”, 1894) Decorative borders. The plates consist of colored and black-and-white states of 4 illustrations. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process


Murder: Victim died of acute boredom in his own library. Body discovered surrounded by the past year’s best sellers.

John Riddell (pseudonym for Corey Ford, 1902-1969), John Riddell Murder Case, a Philo Vance Parody (New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1930). Caricatures by Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957). Recap 3742.68.351

 **Explanation of the title page: “Meaning No Offense” is the title of Ford’s 1928 book and “Salt Water Taffy” is his next book published in 1929.

Under the pseudonym S. S. Van Dine, Willard Huntington Wright (1888-1939) wrote crime fiction and introduced the popular detective Philo Vance. His novels later became radio dramas and motion pictures starring William Powell, all available today on YouTube.

The character and voice of Philo Vance was so beautifully written and so often repeated in New York society that in 1930, humorist Corey Ford (1902-1969) partnered with the Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) to write a parody, along with parodies in the voices of Will Rogers, Sherwood Anderson, and others. They followed this with In the Worst Possible Taste in 1832 (Recap PN6231.P3F47).

Covarrubias moved to New York in 1924 and was given an exhibition at the Whitney Studio Club shortly after he arrived. He charmed his way into New York literary circles with his satirical drawings, first published in The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans (1925) (Firestone ND259.C8 A3). Covarrubias went on to draw covers for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker before returning to Mexico in the mid-1930s.


See also: S.S. Van Dine, The Benson murder case (New York: A. L. Burt [c1926]). Recap 3998.46.316. Or watch it here:

The Clyde Mystery (September 27, 1931)
The Wall Street Mystery (November 4, 1931)
The Week End Mystery (December 6, 1931)
The Symphony Murder Mystery (January 10, 1932)
The Studio Murder Mystery (February 7, 1932)
The Skull Murder Mystery (March 1932)
The Cole Case (The Cole Murder Case) (April 3, 1932)
Murder in the Pullman (May 22, 1932)
The Side Show Mystery (June 11, 1932)
The Campus Mystery (July 2, 1932)
The Crane Poison Case (July 9, 1932)
The Trans-Atlantic Murder Mystery (August 31, 1932)

Sorting Out John William Orr and Nathaniel Orr, Part Two

Already an established engraver, Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908) moved to New York City around 1843, to begin working on The Illuminated Bible, embellished with sixteen hundred historical engravings… (Harper & Brothers, 1846. GAX Hamilton 198Q).

He is sometimes listed as Orr Jr. and worked at 75 Nassau Street, in the shop of John William Orr (1815-1887), presumed to be Nathaniel’s uncle.

75 Nassau Street in 2017.


In 1850, Nathaniel Orr took an office of his own around the corner at 151 Fulton Street but within a year, moved to 52 John Street where he stayed until his retirement in 1888. It is a large building and Nathaniel has a reputation for offering his fellow artists rooms to work whenever they were in need.

52 John Street is part of the central building.
Alfred Tallis (active 1860), Tallis’s New York Street Views (New York: Tallis and Company, 1863)


Orr’s business was two doors away from the Methodist Episcopal Church at 44 John Street, first built in 1768, then rebuilt in 1817 and 1841. One of Orr’s early prints (left) is an image of the first Church building, which has recently been painted onto the wall of the memorial park east of the current Church. This Church is famous for including both black and white members equally in their congregation:

“At the birth of Methodism in this country its handful of votaries were so simple and honest, and so free from any thought of race distinctions in the divine presence, that no special notice was taken of the fact that there were colored people present to their disparagement. When Captain Webb and his associates met in a sail loft in 1765, on what was then known as the Battery, at the south end of New York city, they thought not of the complexion of the attendants, but rather of the salvation of their souls. And four years later, when John Street Church was built to accommodate the congregation of that first formed Methodist Church in America, there were no Negro pews nor back seats nor gallery especially provided for the dark-skinned members. They were welcomed in common with other members to all the privileges of God’s house and worship.” –One Hundred Years of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Chapter I, Early Race Distinctions.

Painted mural in the memorial park, 48 John Street, next to the Methodist Episcopal Church

Nathaniel Orr was involved in many anti-slavery publications. In January 1853, he accepted a commission to engrave Frederick M. Coffin’s illustrations for Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup. The project was finished in less than six months, published August 1853.

Later that year, Coffin and Orr partnered with John McLenan (1827-1865) to illustrate the sensationalist bestseller Hot Corn: Life Scenes in New York Illustrated by Solon Robinson (1854). So great is Nathaniel’s popularity by now, that of the three artists only Orr, the wood engraver, is mentioned on the title page.


For some of Nathaniel Orr’s earliest work, see:
John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), Bible illustrations ([New York? 1846?]). Manuscript note on title page of vol. 1: “These proofs, from the original cuts, were taken by hand by the Engravers thereof, in course of execution for Harpers Family Bible-New York 1843.-44. 45- and are, so far as I know, the only complete set existing. Presented by me to my Daughter. Rome October 5. 1879. John G. Chapman.” The engravers whose works are mentioned are Roberts, Childs, Minot, Howland, Gordon, Butler, Morse, Nathaniel Orr, Hall, Hart, Henry Kinnersley, Augustus F. Kinnersley, Pekham, Bookhout, Holland, Weeks and Adams. (GAX) Oversize Hamilton 199q

Callot’s Vie de la mere de Dieu

Jacques Callot (1592-1635) and François Rennel, Vie de la Mère de Diev representée par emblesmes = Vita Beatae Mariae Vir. Matris Dei emblematib[us] = [The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God, represented in emblems]… ([Nancy: Antoine Charlot, 1628]). [4], 26 leaves of etched emblems.  Bound in a late nineteenth-century red morocco gilt, gilt edges, by Riviere. Provenance: Sir Henry Hope Edwardes, 10th Baronet (1829–1900), with his bookplate. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process


On each plate, below the Latin are four lines of French verse, as in the quatrain accompanying the figure of the salamander (symbol of the French king Francis I, representing the man who had been through fire and lived) in the opening emblem:

“Chaldaeo praevalet una Deo” (Chaldeans prevail with God):

Je vis sans me bruler au milieu de la flame:
Et la Vierge au milieu du crime original,
Par l’absolu pouvoir de l’Arbitre eternal,
Dans le brasier commun n’a point bruslé son Ame.
[note the last two lines are reversed in the second edition]

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired a rare first edition of this beautiful emblem book, one of two illustrated by Callot (the other being Lux claustri). The etchings are here in the unnumbered state. Paulette Choné convincingly established the place of printing, printer and date of the work, and also identified François Rennel as the author of the text (the initials ‘F. R.’ appear at the end of the preface; see P. Choné, Emblèmes et pensée symbolique en Lorraine (1525–1633), Paris, 1991, p. 725 ff.).


It was Callot’s close friend François Rennel (1583-1649), councillor at the Chambre des Comptes de Lorraine, who conceived the artist’s two emblem books. Both men were influential members of a Jesuit congregation in Nancy.

“The first works by [Maximilian van der Sandt] Sandaeus must have made a vivid impact; his inspiration, his sophisticated poetry and metaphorical vocabulary show a close affinity to the extreme delicacy of the Vie de la mere de Dieu and Lux claustri.” — P.Choné

“The publishing history of the Vita Beatae Mariae virginis. Vie de la bien-heureuse vierge Marie is complex. Whereas only one edition of the Lux claustra was published—Paris by François Langlois in 1646—three undated editions of the Vita beatae Mariae virginis… Vie de la bien-heureuse vierge marie were published in addition to that produced by Langlois in 1646 as a partner edition to the Lux claustra, and in all of these the text is different.”

“A further variant version of the work, (including the engravings but no text) exists in the Getty Museum. In the 1646 edition … each emblematic engraving is accompanied by a Latin motto, together with a Latin distich and a French quatrain. In one of the undated editions the mottoes are in French rather than in Latin, and there is a Latin distich, but no French quatrain, while the other two follow the pattern of the Lux claustra, and include both Latin and French mottoes, together with a Latin distich and a French quatrain. While the Latin mottoes remain the same in all editions that include them, the French mottoes in the undated Benoît Audran edition, in which they appear alone, are different from those which appear together with Latin mottoes in the other two undated editions.”—Alison Saunders, The Seventeenth-century French Emblem: A Study in Diversity (2000)


Zozimus (Dublin: A.M Sullivan, 1870-1872). Complete run bound in one volume. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017-in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a complete run of the Irish satirical weekly Zozimus (1870-1872).

Zozimus was the pseudonym for Michael Moran (ca. 1794-1846), a beloved blind Dublin street personality who recited poetry, sang ballads, and gave advice. His memory was revived in 1871 with a biography by Dubliniensis Humoriensis Gulielmus, Memoir of the Great Original, Zozimus (Michael Moran), the Celebrated Dublin Street Rhymer and Reciter.


When Alexander M. Sullivan (1830-1884) started a weekly satirical magazine, he called it Zozimus after Moran and John Fergus O’Hea (1838-1922), his chief artist, designed a portrait of Moran for the cover. Each issue included one full-page satirical plate by O’Hea, several smaller cartoons, and humorous doggerel, not unlike the British Punch or Vanity Fair.

Zozimus only lasted a little over two years but in 1876 O’Hea returned with Zoz: The Irish Charivari, a weekly with milder social satire. This also folded after two years.

Here are a few samples of O’Hea’s caricatures from the pages of Zozimus.

Alpha Beta

Ines von Ketelhodt, Alpha Beta. Text by Michel Butor (Flörsheim am Main: I. v. Ketelhodt, 2017). Two volumes, in French and German. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2017- in process

Investigating the visual and conceptual structure of the printed page, Alpha Beta is designed, printed, and bound by the German artist Ines von Ketelhodt. Her matrix is the writing of Michel Butor (1926-2016), a French novelist whose experiments with narrative and structure put him at the forefront of the literary trend known as le nouveau roman (the new novel).

Von Ketelhodt has letterpress printed a passage in which Butor offered a portrait of a universal library: Itinéraire: les bibliothèques. In the first volume, it is in Butor’s original French and in the second volume, it has been translated into German. Each letter of the alphabet is confined to one transparent page so that, as the pages are turned, a single letter disappears throughout. By the end, only the punctuation remains on the right, with Butor’s text in reverse on the left.

Transparency is at the core of this volume, printed from polymer plates on to cellophane sheets and housed in a plexiglass slipcase. The text is fluid, both in its narrative and here, even in its physical format. Here is the French text:

Rangés dans leurs casiers comme des bouteilles les volumes fermentent à l’intérieur de la grande cave aux lampadaires doux sur les fronts ridés ou bouclés qui se penchent dans le déchiffrement de leurs annotations. Par ici les dictionnaires, l’espalier des langues; dans cette galerie les cristallisations des sonnets et des haïku, la joaillerie des ballades. On ouvre une grille et c’est la haute salle de lecture avec ses verrières qui répercutent les somnolences, les feuillettements, les émerveillements. Comme une vrille de volubilis la longue phrase s’entortille autour de la rambarde qui longe les balcons des romans-fleuves avec leurs péniches de familles, d’héritages, d’affrontements, d’effondrements, d’écoeurements et de baisers. Plus loin les rayons de l’Histoire Naturelle avec les herbiers et les flores; les oiseaux, s’envolant quand on tourne les pages, virent autour des colonnes de fer, effleurent les crânes et reviennent dormir dans leur volière de cuir ou de toile; les rugissements des fauves et le passage des poissons devant ces fenêtres d’aquarium.

Here are two possible English translations I have found for this complex text:

Placed in their lockers like bottles, the volumes ferment inside the large cellar with soft lamps on the wrinkled or curled fronts that lean in the decipherment of their annotations. Here the dictionaries, the espalier of languages; In this gallery the crystallizations of sonnets and haiku, the jewelry of ballads. It opens a grid and it is the high reading room with its stained glass that reverberates drowsiness, leaflets, wonders. Like a twist of volubilis the long sentence is wrapped around the railing that runs alongside the balconies of the novels-rivers with their barges of families, inheritances, confrontations, collapses, disgustings and kisses. Further on are the rays of Natural History, with herbals and floras; The birds fly away when they turn the pages, look round the iron columns, brush their skulls and come back to sleep in their leather or canvas aviaries; The roar of the wild beasts and the passage of fish in front of these aquarium windows.

Arranged like bottles on their shelves, the volumes age in the large cellar, soft lamps hovering over creased or ringleted foreheads lowered in their attempts to decipher the comments. Here are the dictionaries, the espaliers of languages; in that aisle over there, the crystalline sonnets and haikus, the gemlike ballads. Opening a grating, you find yourself in a lofty reading room with a glass ceiling that reflects back the drowsiness, the leafing, the ecstasies. Like a climbing plant, the long sentence twines around the railing that runs along the galleries of the Romans-fleuves with their barges full of families, inheritances, conflicts, collapses, wearinesses and kisses. A bit farther on: the natural history shelves with their plant posters and flora; the birds that fly upward when you turn the pages and circle around the iron columns, touch their skulls and then return to their leather and linen aviaries to sleep; the beasts of prey roaring and the fish gliding by the aquarium windows.


See also Vieira da Silva (1908-1992), Vieira da Silva: peintures. Includes Butor’s Itineraire (p. 7-19) (Paris: L’Autre musée, 1983).

Terms and Conditions


One of the best things about Robert Sikoryak’s new edition of Terms and Conditions (self-published in April 2015 and posted on Tumblr between September and December 2015) is the index.

How many of the 101 illustrators and cartoonist parodied in this volume can you identify without cheating, i.e. using the index? By my count, the earliest is Winsor McCay from 1905 and the most recent are several from 2014.

More information on the project can be found here and in the dozens of other reviews that have appeared before and after the book’s release this week.



[left] Winsor McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905). [right] Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Incredible Hulk (1962)


[left] Ian Boothby and John Costanza, Simpsons Comic (2002). [right] Stan Lee and John Buscema, Silver Surfer (1968)


Tom Wilson, Ziggy (1976)

Robert Sikoryak, Terms and Conditions (Montreal, Québec: Drawn & Quarterly, 2017). Graphic Arts Collection GArecap 2017- in process

James Allan: Gypsy, Musician and Thief

The first criminal given a royal pardon signed by the prince regent, afterwards George IV, was James (Jimmy or Jemmy) Allan, musician and thief. Unfortunately, it arrived several months after his death at the age of 76.

James Allan (1734–1810) was the son of the performer Will Allan and a woman called Betty, frequently described as a Gypsy. Thanks to his mother, James Allan believed he was a member of the Faas, a clan of Gypsies noted for roving the Anglo-Scottish border. Although official piper to Elizabeth Percy, countess of Northumberland, for two years, the majority of Allan’s life was spent on the road playing music and stealing.

According to Keith Gregson’s entry in the DNB, “Most of Allan’s adult life was taken up with rambling and it is here that ‘the line between fact and fiction becomes thin’. He made his livelihood out of piping and stealing and, beyond that, by ‘enlisting as a soldier and deserting—often having received his bounty money’. He was eventually arrested in 1803 . . . tried and sentenced to death [but] the death sentence was commuted . . . .”

“Allan was remembered as a virtuoso on the bagpipes, an expert at the double hornpipe played at 3/2 or 9/4 pace, and closely associated with the music of his native Cheviot Hills. Woodcuts of his playing both the Northumbrian small pipes and the highland pipes have survived but the veracity of any surviving sketches of him was brought into question by the researches of the bagpipe historian Gilbert Askew in the 1930s.”

We were recently asked for a history of the language of the Gypsies, which can be found in this biography of Allan, illustrated with designs by Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), engraved by J. Knox. We are fortunate to have the rare volume thanks to our donor, Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888.

“The life of this singular character has all the air of a romance, the incidents being so various and extraordinary; but the relation possesses such genuine marks of authenticity as must satisfy the most scrupulous. Allan was extremely illiterate, and utterly incapable of perusing the narratives of the adventurous voyager and the curious traveller, much less of collecting and arranging their scattered remarks on the manners and customs which prevail in distant and unfrequented countries, with a view to impose upon the public. Yet his observations in China, in India, in Tartary, and in other countries, exactly correspond with those published by the most learned, accurate, and esteemed travellers, and afford such presumptive and internal evidences of the substantial veracity of this history, as must dissipate the most marvellous and obstinate credulity.”

James Thompson (active 1828), A New, Improved, and Authentic Life of James Allan: the Celebrated Northumberland Piper, Detailing His Surprising Adventures in Various Parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, including a Complete Description of the Manners and Customs of the Gipsy Tribes, Collected from Sources of Genuine Authority, by James Thompson; with Explanatory Notes by E. Mackenzie … ; and Illustrated by Fine Engravings from Designs by [Robert] Cruikshank (Newcastle upon Tyne: Mackenzie and Dent … 1828). In the original parts (20 in 14 numbers) with original light brown printed wrappers. Gift of Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888. Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Cruik 1828.3 Robert

See also [below]: History of James Allan, the celebrated Northumberland piper (Newcastle: W. Fordyce [1840]). (Ex) 3580.999 v.32

Soon after Allan’s passing, the following lines were written to his memory:

All ye whom Music’s charms inspire
Who skilful minstrels do admire,
All ye whom bagpipe lilts can fire
’Tween Wear and Tweed,
Come, strike with me the mournful lyre
For ALLAN’s dead.

No more where Coquet’s stream doth glide
Shall we view JEMMY in his pride,
With bagpipe buckled to his side,
And nymphs and swains
In groups collect at even-tide
To hear his strains.

When elbow moved and bellows blew,
On green or floor the dancers flew,
In many turns ran through and through
With cap’ring canter,
And aye their nimble feet beat true
To his sweet chanter.

The Trial of Elizabeth Canning 1754

The Trial of Elizabeth Canning, Spinster, for Willful and Corrupt Perjury; at Justice Hall in the Old-Bailey, held by Adjournment, on Monday the 29th of April, Wednesday the 1st, Friday the 3d, Saturday the 4th, Monday the 6th (London: printed by the authority and appointment of the Right Honourable Thomas Rawlinson Esq; Lord Mayor, for John Clarke under the Royal Exchange, and sold also by M. Cooper in Pater-Noster Row, [1754]).

Bound with Crisp Gascoyne, An Address to the Liverymen of the City of London, from Sir Crisp Gascoyne, Knt. Late Lord-Mayor, relative to his conduct in the cases of Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires (London: printed for James Hodges at London-Bridge, [1754]).

Bound with additional trials. Graphic Arts Collection 2017- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this volume of several trial transcripts bound together and extra illustrated with a hand colored etching entitled The Gypsy’s Triumph, a satire on the Elizabeth Canning affair. The print depicts Crisp Gascoyne and Mary Squires (the old gypsy) carried in triumph by four old gypsies with broomsticks and wearing pointed hats.


There are many versions of this curious story. A brief description was posted on The Londonist’s site:

“It’s 1 January 1753, in the City of London. An 18 year old maidservant disappears on the way back to her mother’s house near St Mary Aldermanbury. She wasn’t seen or heard from until nearly a month later, when she reappeared, dirty and bloodied, in ripped clothing. The maidservant was Elizabeth Canning. She claimed to have been kidnapped from near Bedlam Hospital and taken to a house on Hertford Road in Enfield. Here, a woman tried to force her into prostitution. When she refused, she was kept prisoner until she escaped through a window and managed to return home. Her disappearance has been the source of speculation and theories ever since. She identified Enfield woman Mary Wells and Romany woman Mary Squires as her captors. They both went to trial — despite Squires having an alibi, she was sentenced to hanging, while Wells was sentenced to branding on the thumb and six months in prison. Sir Crisp Gascoyne, who was Lord Mayor of London and Chief Magistrate, opened his own inquiry which led to the King granting a pardon. Canning herself was then indicted for perjury, found guilty and sentenced to one month imprisonment, after which she was sent to America. The truth about the case was never revealed.”



See also: Sir Crisp Gascoyne (1700-1761), An address to the liverymen of the city of London: from Sir Crisp Gascoyne … relative to his conduct in the cases of Elizabeth Canning and Mary Squires (London: Printed for James Hodges, 1754). Rare Books (Ex) Oversize HV6248.C15 G3q

“I dare do all that may become a man, Who dares do more is none.”

“Sweet Mercy is Nobility’s true Badge.”


A 17th-century journey to the pyramids and elsewhere

Cornelis de Bruyn (1652-1726 or 1727), [Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn. English] A Voyage to the Levant: or, Travels in the Principal Parts of Asia Minor, the Islands of Scio, Rhodes, Cyprus, &c. With an Account of the Most Considerable Cities of Egypt, Syria and the Holy Land (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson and Thomas Bennet, 1702). First English edition. Rare Books (Ex) 2010-0277Q

Dr. Deborah Vischak’s class FRS 144, Archaeology in Egypt: Reconstructing the Past visited RBSC today to examine several items including this volume by Cornelis de Bruyn. The travelogue follows the Dutch artist’s journeys through the Levant, Persia and the Far East illustrated with 215 engravings spread throughout a narrative text.

De Bruyn left for Rome on November 1, 1674 and after two and a half years in Italy, continued his journey to the Near East. His voyages took him to Turkey, several Greek islands, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Cyprus.

Returning to Italy, De Bruyn settled this time in Venice where he studied painting with Carl Loth. Finally, on March 19, 1693, De Bruyn arrived back in the Hague and spent the next five years writing his narrative and preparing the engravings to illustrate it. Particularly striking are the multi-sheet panoramas, including Smyrna, Rhodes, the Bosphorus, Tyre, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Aleppo, Palmyra and others.


De Bruyn and his companions are seen in most of the panoramas on horseback at the far left.