Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

Alfred Döblin’s “Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod”

Alfred Döblin (1878-1957) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod: eine Novelle (=The Canoness and Death) (Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer; printed by Paul Knorr, 1913). Five woodcuts. Graphic Arts Collection 2007-0658N.

As a student, Alfred Richard Meyer (1882-1956) made the unusual switch from the study of law to literature and philosophy. He moved to Berlin and joined a circle of intellectuals developing radical new forms of music, theater, painting, and poetry, later known as German Expressionism. Initially Meyer found work at the Otto Janke publishing house and wrote for the Berliner Neueste Nachrichten and the Berliner Allgemeine Zeitung but in 1907 he formed his own publishing company: Alfred Richard Meyer Verlag, Berlin Wilmersdorf.

Years later, Meyer remembered, “It is impossible to imagine our excitement in the evening, when at the Café des Westens or sitting out on the street in front of Gerold’s, at the Gedächtniskirche, we waited for Sturm or Aktion [to appear]. Who was in, who out? The stock market reports were not interesting. We ourselves were the quotations. Who was this new star?”—Stanley Corngold, Franz Kafka (2018).

Meyer launched a series a small but seminal publications under the title: Lyrische Flugblätter (Lyrical leaflets) including some of the most important authors of the expressionist period. One of these, Alfred Döblin’s novella Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod was also the first book that Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) illustrated.

“Kirchner had met Döblin in Berlin in 1912 through Herwarth Walden, the publisher of the avantgarde periodical Der Sturm. Döblin was a psychiatrist by profession but would go on to become one of the most successful writers of the Weimar Republic, best known for his 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz.”

Like Meyer, Kirchner was drawn to Berlin, together with his own circle of artists known as Die Brücke. Around 1912, the group was quarreling (more than usual) and Kirchner looking for other outlets, when he met Alfred Döblin and painted several portraits of the author. They also worked together on a short story about an elderly women living an isolated, monastic life who becomes convinced that she was about to die. Over a tortured few days, her fear increases until “One night, death brutally climbs into her bed and forcibly grabs her body. Her lips were begging. A gag came. The tongue fell back into the throat. She stretched. Then Death got up and pulled the Missus out of the window by her cold hands behind her.”

Among the “Lyrische Flugblätter” series held at Princeton University Library are:

1. Hebräische Balladen / von Else Lasker-Schüler. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, [between 1900 and 1999]

2. Ahrenshooper Abende: fünf lyrische Pastelle / von Alfred Richard Meyer. Berlin: Privatdruck der Verfassers, 1907. Cover image by Richard Scheibe.

3. Fünf Gedichte / Heinrich Lautensack. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1907.

4. Sechs Sonette: Städte und Menschen / Sophie Hoechstetter. Berlin: A.R. Meyer, 1907.

5. Stella mystica: Traum eines Toren / Hans Carossa; Leo Greiner zugeeignet. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1907.

6. Verse / Toni Schwabe. Berlin: A.R. Meyer, 1907.

7. Fünf Gedichte / Ernst Bartels. Berlin: A.R. Meyer, 1907.

8. Jud und Christ, Christ und Jud: ein poetisches Flugblatt / von Heinrich Lautensack. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1908.

9. Lieder der Liebe / von Edmund Harst. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1908.

10. Lieder eines Knaben / Hans Brandenburg. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1908.

11. Rote Nacht: Ballade / von Waldemar Bonsels; für Detlev von Liliencron. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1908.

12. Von einer Toten: Herrn und Frau Karl Wolfskehl in Verehrung / Maximilian Brantl. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1908.

13. Das frühe Geläut: Gedichte / von Paul Zech, Christ. Gruenewald-Bonn, L. Fahrenkrog, Julius August Vetter. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1910.

14. Nasciturs: ein lyrisches Flugblatt / von Alfred Richard Meyer. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1910.

15.Wir alarmieren uns: lyrische Funksprüche / von Fritz Wilhelm Schönfeld ; [den Titel zeichnete Bruno Krauskopf]. Berlin: A.R. Meyer, 1910.

16. Felix und Galathea / Frank Wedekind. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1911.

17. Die frühe Ernte: Gedichte / von Christian Gruenewald-Bonn. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1911.

18. Kleine Balladen / von Leo Sternberg. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1911.

19. Das Schlafzimmer: ein neues poetisches Flugblatt / von Heinrich Lautensack.
Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, [1911?]

20. Ailleurs / Léon Deubel. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1912.

21. Ballhaus: ein lyrisches Flugblatt / von Ernst Blass … [et al.]; mit einem Prolog von Rudolf Kurtz und einem Titelblatt von Walter Roessner. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, [1912]

22. Entelechieen / von Paul Paquita. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1912.

23. Die Dämmerung: Gedichte / von Alfred Lichtenstein (Wilmersdorf). Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1913.

24. Frauen: ein Zyklus Gedichte / von Robert R. Schmidt; in Verehrung für Paul Zech. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1913.

25. Rokoko; ein lyrisches Flugblatt anonymer Autoren, von Resi Langer. Berlin; Wilmersdorf, A.R. Meyer [1913]

26. Das schwarze Revier / Paul Zech. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, [1913]. Titelblatt mit Zeichnung von Ludwig Meidner.

27. Das Stiftsfräulein und der Tod / Alfred Döblin; Schnitte von E.L. Kirchner. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1913.

28. Und schöne Raubtierflecken–: ein lyrisches Flugblatt / von Ernst Wilhelm Lotz; [das Titelbild zeichnete R. Scheibe, Wilmersdorf]. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, 1913.

29. Leonardo … / Meinke, Hanns. [Pritzwalk, Merlin-presse, 1918]

30. An allegra; gedichte aus dem jahrzehnt 1908-18 … [Pritzwalk] Merlin-presse, 1919.

31. Bibergeil: pedantische Liebeslieder / von Edgar Firn. Berlin: A.R. Meyer, [1919]

32. Wir alarmieren uns: lyrische Funksprüche / von Fritz Wilhelm Schönfeld; [den Titel zeichnete Bruno Krauskopf]. Berlin-Wilmersdorf: A.R. Meyer, [1919?]


Hamlet in your pocket


Around 1909, Saul L. Kowarsky formed the Knickerbocker Leather & Novelty Company at 314 Broadway in New York City. Also on the board were Barnett Epstein as secretary, Morris Epstein, treasurer, and William Tager, director.

As an advertising promotion, Kowarsky printed a series of leather-bound miniature books, with plays by William Shakespeare; 24 in all, each measuring 3 x 2 inches, housed a tiny leather box. Seen here is Hamlet.

As the company grew, it leased 34,000 square feet in the Knickerbocker Building at 79 Fifth Avenue and 16th street, where they remained from 1914 to 1933.

Meanwhile the Cluett Peabody Company, famous for their Arrow shirt collars, suffered after the stock market crash and had to give up their Manhattan headquarters. The Knickerbocker Company moved into their space in the Cluett Building at 32 West 19th Street, continuing to print and sell the miniature Shakespeares.

Eventually, interest in the leather business also waned and Knickerbocker filed for bankruptcy in 1956. The palm-size books continue to appear here and there online.

Digital Shakespeare:

Vulgar notes in almanacs 1768 to 1795

Full online digital access to a number of 18th-century American almanacs can be found in the Princeton University catalog; including:
The New York pocket almanack, for the year 1768 : … Calculated for the use of the province of New York, and the neighbouring provinces by Richard Moore, philo. (New York: Printed and sold by Hugh Gaine, [1767]). 4 v. in one. [with New-York pocket almananck for the year 1772 — New-York pocket almanack for the year 1773 — Gaine’s New-York pocket almanack for the year 1795]. Graphic Arts Collection, Hamilton 60s. Full text:

The Journals of Hugh Gaine (1902) provides a rich biography of the Belfast-born printer publisher, which tells us that when Hugh Gaine (1726 or 1727-1807) emigrated to New York City in 1745, “without basket or burden, he secured employment from James Parker, whom Benjamin Franklin had established as a printer in that city in 1742. It is stated that his wages were equivalent to a dollar and a quarter a week, which was later increased by a small allowance for board.” The book continues,

“Gaine also began in 1755 the issue of the “New York Picket Almanac, by Poor Tom,” “handsomely printed in red and black,” written, pretendedly, by one More, or Moore, but really by Theophilus Grew, and this series he also continued till long after the Revolution. This, too, met with popular favor, though of the first he notified his patrons, December 20, 1755, that “There are yet a few of the New-York Pocket Almanacs on Hand, neatly bound in Letter-Cases, which well be sold to those that call first; therefore those that are disappointed must blame themselves.”

The overplus did not last, for in The Mercury he later reprinted a table from this Almanac, “by desire,” “the Almanac itself being out of print from the Great Number sold the Beginning of the Year.” In advertising Moore’s Almanac for 1757 Gaine informed the purchasers that “The Printer has procured a few very neat Letter-Cases, handsomely gilt, just the Size of the above Almanack, with Pockets very convenient for Stuffing in Things that is useful for any Day in the Year.

With the next year’s issue, he warned them that “Many Gentlemen were disappointed of the Use of this Almanack, for the Year 1757, by their not sending for the same in Time: ‘Tis therefore requested they wou’d be less dilatory this Year. It is properly interleaved with fine Paper, on which Memorandums may be made for eery Day in the Year. It contains Twelve Pages more than any other Almanck [sic] of the Kind.” Of the issue for 1774 Gaine gave notice on November 22, 1773, that “The Run for the New-York Pocket Almanack has been so great for a Week past, that no less than one Third of the whold Impression are already sold.”

The Journals of Hugh Gaine, Printer, Vol. 1 (Dodd, Mead, 1902). Graphic Arts Collection 2006-2490N, temporarily online through HathiTrust.

Gaine’s shop was located on what is today Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, formerly known as Queen Street.

Besides the usual calendars, weather, politics, and financial information, each of these volumes include vulgar notes: “The usual method for determining Easter was through the use of a perpetual calendar and a table of “domnenical letters” and “golden” numbers. New England almanacs printed the domenical letter and golden number for the particular year of publication, usually under the heading, “vulgar notes,” but did not supply the necessary tables. For an explanation of the system, see John James Bond, Handy-Book of Rules and Tables for Verifying Dates … (New York: Russell and Russell, 1966), 115-41. –James P. Walsh, “Holy Time and Sacred Space in Puritan New England,” American Quarterly 32, no. 1 (Spring, 1980), pp. 79-95

The legall proceeding in Man-shire against sinne

Richard Bernard (bap. 1568, d. 1642) by Wenceslaus Hollar, pubd 1644 © National Portrait Gallery, London


Reading 17th-century English books online can be difficult, even when they are available on a 21st-century tablet. A good example is Richard Bernard’s best-selling allegory The isle of man: or, The legall proceeding in Man-shire against sinne. Wherein, by way of a continued allegorie, the chiefe malefactors disturbing both church and commonwealth, are detected and attached; with their arraignement, and iudiciall tryall, according to the laws of England. A necessarie direction for waifaring Christians, not acquainted with those perillous wayes they must passe, before they happily arriue at their wished hauen (London: Printed for Edw. Blackmore, at the great South doore of Pauls., 1626).

The English Puritan clergyman and writer Richard Bernard (1568–1641) was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, receiving MA in 1598. His most popular book, The Isle of Man (1626) reached its sixteenth edition in 1683. According to the DNB, some commentators have suggested that this allegory influenced John Bunyan, particularly his trial scene in The Holy War.

Written in two parts, Bernard first describes the searching, the attaching, and imprisoning of Sin (and its relationship with witches). The second part is the trial of Sin. Google books and Hathi Trust have both loaded copies of Isle of Man, and the University of Michigan offers a transcribed plain text version here:

“THE AVTHORS earnest requests. FIRST, to the Worthy Reader, whosoeuer, to whom let me but say thus much of this Discourse and allegorical narration; that in it sunt bona, sunt quaedam mediocria, sunt mala nulla: Yet if any thing may seeme distastfull, let thy minde be to take it well, as Caesars was, to interpret well the seeming offensiue carriage of one Accius the Poet towards him, and thou wilt not be displeased. Thy good minde will preuent the taking of an offence, where none is intended to be giuen. In discouery, attaching, arraigning and condemning of finne, I tax the Vice, and not any mans person: so as I may say with one,
Hunc seruare modum no∣stri nouere libelli,
Parcere personis, discere de vitijs.
Thou hast heere towards the end of this discourse, the tryall and iudgement vpon foure no∣torious Malefactors. Two of them the very prime Authors of all the open rebellion, or se∣cret * Conspiracies, which at any time euer were in that land: The other two were the principall Abettours and the chiefest Supporters of them. Their names, their natures, and their mischieuous practices, thou mayest find at large in the narration.”
Note: Sunt bona, sunt quaedam mediocria, sunt mala nulla = Some are good, some but middling, and a decided majority bad.

Some online books can be converted to plain text but that can be even more difficult, as in this 1628 is in google books:
Plain text:


Although most sources list 1626 or 1627 as the date of the first edition, this google book shows an early, possibly misprinted copy dated 1617


James Franklin (1697-1735), older brother of Benjamin Franklin and founder of the New England Courant; the second newspaper in America, chose Bernard’s text to reprint in 1719. He used a small format, approximately 5 inches high, that could easily be carried in your pocket and read throughout the day. We have digitized this Boston edition:

Richard Bernard (1568-1641), The Isle of Man, or, The legal proceeding in Man-Shire against sin Wherein, by way of a continued allegory, the chief malefactors disturbing both church and commonwealth, are detected and attached; with their arraignment and judicial tryal, according to the laws of England. To which is added, the contents of the book for spiritual use; with an apology for the manner of handling, most necessary to be first read, for direction in the right use of the allegory throughout by Richard Bernard, Rector of Batcomb in Somersetshire. Sixteenth edition (Boston: Reprinted by J. Franklin, for B. Eliot, 1719). Graphic Arts Collection, Hamilton 13s

Not only did Franklin print and publish this edition, he also designed the woodcut frontispiece [above] for the volume, along with small cuts throughout. See Sinclair Hamilton’s American Illustrated Books, (1968 ed.), no. 13. Here are a few more pages. The entire volume can be read at Identifier:

Need a Project, no. 4? Book covers

Do you have a favorite book cover or jacket? Each year AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) holds a contest to find the 50 best book covers created over the previous year. “This survey of book design represents perhaps the longest-standing legacy in American graphic design. Beginning in 1923, the Fifty Books of the Year competition was a yearly mainstay of AIGA. As dust jackets became more common, covers were added to the competition. From 2012–2018 Design Observer hosted the competition with AIGA through a joint venture. AIGA is delighted to usher in another year of amazing book and cover design.”

Although entries for the 2019 competition are closed, selections from past competitions have been added to the AIGA Design Archives—one of the richest online resources available to those who practice, study, and appreciate great design—as well as the physical archives at the Denver Art Museum (1980–2012) and at the RBML at Columbia University’s Butler Library in New York City. Winners from 2011–2017 can be seen on Design Observer. and

Like many awards, sometimes our favorites are not included. This week, (1) Send us your favorite book covers from your own book shelf. (2) Draw your own book jacket, still or moving. send to or anyone with this link:
can upload large files into our cloud.

Everyone has seen book cover gifs, like the Great Gatsby cover at the top. There are many sites that offer selections. Michele Debczak posted a set on Mentalfloss several years ago under the title “Classic Book Covers Come to Life With Subtle GIFs”

The site Giphy has a number of selections:

and Fastcompany did an assortment here:

It is more fun to find your own and google image can help. Try searching Great Gatsby images:

Then limit the images to books and covers, and GIFs:

You will find several variations, including:

Here are others:

Why not make your own? Derek Murphy posted “How to make an ANIMATED book cover that blows people’s minds” in 2015 here:

Also the Lovecraft Middle School posted this step by step guide:

Ask your kids for help. Then send your favorites.


Gestes [Gestures]: Texte de Raymond Duncan. Bois dessinés, gravés, enluminés et tirés par Marc Roux ([Paris]: Raymond Duncan, 1921). Copy 30 of 100. “Tirages, 1 ex: spécial marqué A, 24 ex: grand luxe de B a Z, 100 ex: de 1 a 100 exemplaire”– t.p. verso/ “Achevé le 10 avril 1921.”–Colophon. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

In 1919 Raymond Duncan (1874-1966), wife Penelope, and their teenage son Menalkas, moved back to Paris where he reestablished his Akademia Raymond Duncan at 21 Rue Bonaparte.

With his long, flowing hair and Grecian robes, Duncan became a fixture along the streets of Paris and in the galleries and theaters. He organized international conferences each year at his université philosophique and developed a small following of disciples.

Students were taught to weave, print, and create the other decorative arts sold by the Akademia, in exchange for vegetarian meals and lessons in Duncan’s philosophy of a simple, holistic lifestyle. His sister Isadora Duncan did not appreciate the austerity of her brother’s commune and moved back to Russia where she established her own dance school in Moscow. Conversely, Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, became deeply immersed in Raymond’s Akademia and studied with him for several years.

Duncan collaborated on Gestes with his friend Marcel (here spelled as “Marc” on the cover and title-page) a year before Roux’s death. The artist suffered from an illnesses contracted while a medical orderly during World War I, and was forced to switch from his usual copperplate engraving to the softer woodcuts for this project but the style fit Duncan’s verse perfectly. Roux printed 100 copies of the book in his studio at 9 Rue Falguiere, published on April 10, 1921.

Only two other copies are held in institutional collections, one at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the second at the Houghton library, Harvard University. This would be a third known copy of an extraordinary book.

Raymond Duncan’s inspiration was the Antique, but his work needs to be set alongside the other stylistic influences of the era including Japonisme, …Indian and Persian art, His life and work should also be related to other contemporary international art movements operating throughout Europe: the Weiner Werkstätte, the Ecole Martine, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the Glasgow School, and Bloomsbury and the Omega workshops. His dress and textiles are part of an important group of hand-crafted objects created by artist-designers that include …Paul Poiret, who was patronized by Isadora, and is said to have copied designs from Raymond (L, Duncan 2014). –Charlotte Nicklas, Dress History: New Directions in Theory and Practice (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015)


Mayakovsky carrying his “soul on a plate for the dinner of the future.”

Long before the movie Being John Malkovich, Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) wrote the play Vladimir Mayakovsky (Tragedy), performing the leading role himself. Originally titled Владимир Маяковский, the 20-year-old poet finished his script in October 1913 and the play premiered in December at the Luna Park theater in St. Petersburg, alongside the futurist opera Victory over the Sun. The following year 500 copies of his visually striking poetry were published.

This rare and amazing book is now in the Graphic Arts Collection. Here a little background in rough translation:

The play, which had two working titles, “The Railway” (Железная дорога) and “The Riot of Things” (Восстание вещей), was written in the summer of 1913, in Kuntsevo near Moscow . . . . Sister Lyudmila Mayakovskaya remembered: “Volodyi felt very lonely. For days he was wandering through Kuntsevo, Krylatsky and Rublyovo parks, composing his tragedy … [At the house] he scribbled words, lines and rhymes on pieces of paper and cigarette boxes, [pleading with] mom to not throw anything away. ” [By] 9 November 1913, the Mayakovsky presented the copy of the [play] to the Petersburg theater censorship commission, having cut off some of the [controversial] bits. —

Two days before the premiere the entire cast resigned because of rumors that they were going to be beaten up by the audience. Mayakovsky found a group of art students who agreed to take their places. There were only two performances, on Tuesday and Thursday. Eggs were thrown.

In the prologue Mayakovsky’s says he feels that “the wheel of a locomotive will hug my neck,” that is, he feels a lethal embrace of the dynamism and postrationality of daily life. …Feels like today. This is echoed in his explanation of why the play uses his name, to which he answered: “It is the name of the poet in the play who is doomed to suffer for all.” (Jangfeldt, Mayakovsky. A Biography, 2014, p. 65).

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930). Vladimir Mayakovsky, a tragedy (“Vladimīr Mai︠a︡kovskīĭ” : tragedīi︠a︡ ). Москва : Изд. 1-го журнала русских футуристов (Moscow: zhurnala russkikh futuristov), 1914. Seven prints by David and Vladimir Burliuk. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process



Please forgive the fuzzy images taken with my cell phone as we were leaving last week, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to post this amazing new addition to the Graphic Arts Collection.

Lesson’s Hummingbirds and Birds of Paradise

René Primevère Lesson (1794-1849), Histoire naturelle des oiseaux-mouches (with:) Histoire naturelle des colibris, suivie d’ un supplément a l’histoire naturelle des oiseaux mouches (with:) Les trochilidées ou les colibris et les oiseaux-mouches (with:) Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des épimaques (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, 1829-1835).  GAX 2020- in process.


The French surgeon René Primevère Lesson (1794–1849) served as “pharmacist and botanist on Duperrey’s round-the-world voyage of La Coquille between 1822 and1825. On the voyage he was responsible for collecting natural history specimens with his fellow surgeon Prosper Garnot and officer Dumont d’Urville. … On returning to Paris, Lesson spent seven years preparing the vertebrate zoological section of the official account of the expedition, Voyage autour du monde sur La Coquille (1826–39). …He also compiled several monographs on hummingbirds and one book on birds of paradise.”

Lesson’s three volumes on the hummingbirds and final book on birds of paradise from tropical Central & South America, the Moluccas and New Guinea are filled with 261 hand-colored plates by Jean-Gabriel Prêtre (1768-1849), Paul-Louis Oudart (1796–1850) and Louis Victor Bévalet.

To see the influence with Robert Havell Jr.’s birds of paradise:

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired a handsome set of Lesson’s treatise, not in pristine condition but perfect for research and class use. Although there is foxing throughout, the colors are strong and the birds lively.


And they sound as beautiful as they look.






Recently Princeton University researchers discovered how “Hummingbirds dive to dazzle females in a highly synchronized display”:



Savage Impressions

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, P22 Publications released Savage Impressions: An Aesthetic Expedition Through the Archives of Independent Project Records & Press, founded by Bruce Licher. The Graphic Arts Collection just received one of the 350 deluxe editions that include: 12” gold vinyl record titled Tape Excavation consisting of previously unreleased recordings spanning Bruce Licher’s recording career (1980-2019); special letterpress-printed stamp sheet tipped into the book; perforated chipboard letterpress bookplate tipped in, signed and numbered by Bruce Licher; and a letterpress wrap sleeve to hold the book and record together as a set.

Bruce Licher founded Independent Project Press in 1982 after learning the art of letterpress printing at the Women’s Graphic Center in downtown Los Angeles. His initial projects centered around creating album covers, postcards and promotional stamps for his band Savage Republic and for releases on his Independent Project Records label. It didn’t take long before he was producing work for other L.A. underground music groups, along with a growing number of clients in the Los Angeles design community and an array of better-known musicians such as R.E.M, Harold Budd, and Stereolab.

Licher continues to translate his signature artistic design aesthetic to other products: book, magazine, catalog design, elegant and creative business stationery, wedding invitations, wine labels, promotional stamp sheets and booklets, and other letterpress-printed ephemera for clients large and small.

Licher currently works out of his studio on WIllow Street in the Eastern Sierra town of Bishop, California.–


Savage impressions: an aesthetic expedition through the archives of Independent Project Records & Press, compiled by Bruce Licher and Karen Nielsen Licher. Deluxe edition (Rochester, NY : P22 Publications, 2020). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Mixing tints

Theodore Henry Adolphus Fielding (1781-1851), the elder son of Nathan Theodore Fielding, was a painter, printmaker, and teacher. He published collections of landscapes in aquatint such as: A Picturesque Tour of the English Lakes (1821), Picturesque Illustrations of the River Wye (1822), and Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire Illustrated (1822).

Beginning in 1830, while still a painting instructor to the “senior classes at the Honourable East-India Company’s military Seminary” at Addiscombe, Surrey, Fielding began publishing manuals on painting, perspective, and art theory. In particular, his expertise on mixing color pigments was beautifully documented in physical sample of brightly printed color, as seen here.

The books were so popular and went through so many editions that it is often difficult to put dates to them. For instance, there were “enlarged, 2nd editions” of his On the Theory of Painting in both 1835 and 1836.  Thanks to the generous donation of Dickson Q. Brown, Princeton Class of 1895, the Graphic Arts Collection has two now rare examples:

Theodore Henry Fielding (1781-1851), An introduction to painting in water colors: in theory and practice: with an index of mixed tints, remarks on the chemical properties and permanency of colours, etc., and a manual of lithography (London : D. Bogue, 1852). Graphic Arts Collection Rowlandson 671.2

Theodore Henry Fielding (1781-1851), On the theory of painting; to which is added and index of mixed tints, and an introduction to painting in water-colours, with precepts (London, W.H. Allen, 1836). Graphic Arts Collection Rowlandson 671


Fielding included this quote from Sir Joshua Reynolds on the title page of many of his volumes: “The rules of art are not the fetters of genius, they are fetters only to men of no genius.”

Of the nature of colours, nearly all we know is, that they exist in various tinted rays, which combined make pure or colourless light. Could the artist be made acquainted with their physical or first cause, and how objects receive their colours, he might obtain some advantages, for they are not so splendidly and lavishly displayed throughout the works of Nature without some great meaning, otherwise their existence would seem only for our amusement instead of instruction.