Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

Le Grand Écart

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963). Le Grand Ecart. Roman illustré par l’auteur de vingt deux dessins dont onze en couleurs (Paris: Librairie Stock, 1926). First illustrated edition, with reproductions of 22 drawings by Cocteau, 11 in color. Copy 18 of 20 on imperial Japan paper. A fine inscribed copy with a large original drawing by Jean Cocteau (profile of a male head): “à Parisot Souvenir très amical de Jean Cocteau.” Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process


This novel has a small album of drawings bound inside between chapters. Cocteau wrote:

Ce petit roman est composé comme un album de dessins. C’est ce que nous invite à penser une lettre de Cocteau à sa mère le 19 juillet 1922 : « Tout est écrit. Il faut maintenant dessiner chaque page. La reprendre jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit ressemblante comme je fais pour mes portraits ou mes caricatures. » En réalité, à cette date rien n’est vraiment écrit : Cocteau a juste commencé, il a surtout le plan en tête (sauf l’épilogue, trouvé en octobre seulement). Et, comme l’album graphique qu’il compose en même temps (Dessins, publié en 1923), le roman se présente dans son esprit comme une suite de planches à composer l’une après l’autre. Dans ses entretiens à la radio avec André Fraigneau en 1951, Cocteau dira qu’il a composé Le Grand Écart « par petits blocs ».

This little novel is composed as an album of drawings. This is what invites us to think of a letter from Cocteau to his mother on July 19, 1922: “Everything is written. We must now draw each page. Repeat it until it looks like I do for my portraits or caricatures. In reality, at this date nothing is really written: Cocteau has just started, he has the plan especially in mind (except the epilogue, found in October only). And, like the graphic album he composes at the same time (Drawings, published in 1923), the novel appears in his mind as a series of plates to compose one after the other. In his radio interviews with André Fraigneau in 1951, Cocteau said that he composed Le Grand Écart “in small blocks”.–


Cocteau wrote six novels: 1919: Le Potomak; 1923: Le Grand Écart; 1923: Thomas l’Imposteur; 1928: Le Livre blanc; 1929: Les Enfants terribles; and 1940: La Fin du Potomak.

During the 1920s Cocteau also devoted his time to writing several novels, a new genre for him. These novels are usually concerned with protagonists who cannot leave their childhoods behind them. In Le Grand Ecart, for example, Jacques Forestier finds that beauty always brings him pain, a pattern established when he was a child.

As a young man, the pattern continues when he loses his first love to another man, leading Jacques to attempt suicide. Germaine Bree and Margaret Guiton note in The French Novel from Gide to Camus that Jacques is “the most directly autobiographical of Cocteau’s fictional characters.” In addition, as McNab pointed out, the novel anticipates Cocteau’s later obsession with childhood. —


Puckle’s Club in Satin

“In Wine [there is] Truth”
James Puckle (1667?-1724), The Club; in a Dialogue between Father and Son. Edited by Edward Walmsley ([London, Imprinted by J. Johnson, St. James Street, Clerkenwell] 1817). One of seven copies. Imperial paper watermarked “J Whatman 1817.” Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

This edition includes a frontispiece portrait of Puckle engraved by T. Bragg (active early 19th century) after an engraving by George Vertue (1684–1756) after a painting by John Baptist Closterman (ca. 1656–ca. 1713).

To pair with Princeton’s 1817 paper edition of The Club, the Graphic Arts Collection has acquired one of seven copies printed on satin and mounted within gold borders on rectos of Imperial paper watermarked “J Whatman 1817. The satin is pasted on the inside of the regular border, the joint being hidden by a broad gold line. It is bound in 19th century full red morocco, elaborately gilt, by Wilson, 19 Foley Place [Mary-le-bone, London], gilt spine in 6 compartments, wide inner gilt dentelles (probably John Wilson. See Charles Ramsden, London book binders 1780-1840 (London 1956), p. 151).

The illustrations by John Thurston (1774–1822) are wood engraved by Robert Branston (1778–1827), John Thompson (1785–1866), Henry White (ca. 1790–1861), William Hughes (1793–1825), Charlton Nesbit (1775–1838), Mary Byfield (baptized 1795–1871), G. Thurston, Jun. (active early 19th century), and William Harvey (1796–1866).

Inventory, lawyer, and author James Puckle (1667?–1724), wrote these dialogues between a father and son in 1711 (Gentleman’s Magazine, 1822, pt. i. p. 204). The son tells his dad about two dozen or so club members he met, each one described as a character type: antiquarian, buffoon, critic, rake, etc.  The father gives his son advice about each, adding a moral to every chapter.

It is, perhaps, surprising to see such a luxury edition of this work but the Puckle morals were extremely popular and the various editions widely distributed, this one printed by John Johnson and sold by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown; J. Major; John and Arthur Arch; and Robert Triphook (active 1814–23).


“When did people start coloring their nails and making other body transformations?” Answered in 1650



J.B. (John Bulwer, 1606-1656), Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d; or, the artificial changeling : Historically presented, in the mad and cruel gallantry, foolish bravery, ridiculous beauty, filthy finenesse, and loathsome lovelinesse of the most nations, fashioning & altering their bodies from the mould intended by nature. With a vindication of the regular beauty and honesty of nature. And an appendix of the pedigree of the English gallant (London: J. Hardesty, 1650). Rare Books 2011-0065N [right]

J.B. (John Bulwer, 1606-1656), Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d, or, The artificiall changling historically presented, in the mad and cruell gallantry, foolish bravery, ridiculous beauty, filthy finenesse, and loathsome loveliness of most nations, fashioning and altering their bodies from the mold intended by nature : with figures of those transfigurations. To which artificiall and affected deformations are added, all the native and nationall monstrosities that have appeared to disfigure the humane fabrick. With a vindication of the regular beauty and honesty of nature. And an appendix of the pedigree of the English gallant (London: Printed by William Hunt, 2653 (i.e. 1653)). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process. [left]



The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired the second edition of Man Transform’d, greatly enlarged and illustrated with numerous woodcuts along with an elaborate allegorical engraved half-title by Thomas Cross (active 1632-1682) and engraved frontispiece portrait of the author by William Faithorne (1616-1691). This complements the first edition in Rare Books with an elaborate title page designed by Cross but no other illustrations.

“Where it is the fashion to make the Nailes of their hands red, and to paint them of several colours, or to gild them, this being the beauty of the country.”


“God makes, and the Tailor Shapes”



“The frontispiece of this book, which faces a portrait, engraved by Faithorne, of the author (Bulwer), comprises a representation of Nature, with many breasts, like the Diana of Ephesus, seated upon a throne, which is formed of the back of two sejant monsters, crowned, holding an orb of sovereignty (without the cross) in her left hand and a sceptre in her right hand: her feet rest on celestial and terrestrial globes. Behind Nature rise, over the back of her seat, emblems of the sun and moon; on her right and left sit Adam and Eve, naked. These are under a pavilion, on the front of which is the title of the book “Anthropometamorphosis.”

Above, two hands appear, of which the right holds a sceptre with a crown upon it; near these is “Per Leges Natura.” The left hand holds a paper sealed with the sun, and inscribed, “Magna Charta Natura.” The hands issue from a cloud, from which a ray likewise proceeds, and is inscribed, “Non noui illos nec sunt opera manuum mearum.” On our left an angel approaches, saying, “Deus fecit hominem rectum”; on our right a devil goes away, saying, “Ha ha, he ad imaginem.”

Below the angel are an ape, leopard, dog and ass, the last saying, “Ecce homo quasi unus er nohis;” below the devil are, “Testes jurati,” several men in foreign costumes adapted to their climates. Below the animals, an open book bears “De usu partium”; below the men, “De Abusu partium.” Before the last, as if approaching the throne of Nature, appears a man in a lawyer’s costume (? the author), bearing a paper inscribed “Defatio abusu partium.” Behind him a bearded personage says, “Quid de abusu partium.” To the opposite side of the throne approach “Juratores,” whose foreman presents “Billa rera.”

Before a bar which is placed in front of the pavilion appear many persons who have more or less deformed their shapes by artificial means: one wears a mask, another a crown of feathers, the skull of a third has been pressed backwards; a woman wears patches cut like the moon and stars, and a farthingale; one man has painted his skin with flowers and birds, the next shows a striped skin; after this stands a woman in the then correct costume and a “salvage man,” an Indian with suns and moons painted on his skin, others who have deformed their ears, mouths and noses.”–Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Volume 1 (1870)




The Ball once struck off,
Away flies the Boy
To the next destin’d Post,
And then Home with Joy.

Thus Seamen, for Lucre
Fly over the Main,
But, with Pleasure transported
Return back again.

Now online is a digital copy of Sinclair Hamilton’s: A little pretty pocket-book: intended for the instruction of amusement of little Master Tommy, and pretty Miss Polly. With two letters from Jack the Giant-Killer: as also a ball and pincushion: the use of which will infallibly make Tommy a good boy, and Polly a good girl: To which is added, A little song-book, being a new attempt to teach children the use of the English alphabet, by way of diversion . . . First Worcester edition (Printed at Worcester, Massachusetts: By Isaiah Thomas, and sold wholsesale and retail at his bookstore, MDCCLXXXVII [1787]). 11 cm, 64 woodcuts. Digital: Graphic Arts Collection Hamilton 115s; also in Cotsen Eng 18 8136

Compare Princeton’s copy to the Library of Congress:

This is a reprint of Newbery’s edition originally published in London in 1744; first published in the United States by Hugh Gaine in 1762 as A Little Pretty Book. According to Hamilton, the mention of baseball on p. 43 might be the first. It predates other possible baseball “firsts.”

“The earliest known mention of baseball in the United States was in a 1792 Pittsfield, Massachusetts by law banning the playing of the game within 80 yards of the town meeting house. Another early reference reports that “base ball” was regularly played on Saturdays on the outskirts of New York City (in what is now Greenwich Village) in 1823. …The booming port city of New York had more than 120,000 residents in 1823, according to the census, and its warren of cobblestone lanes had pushed as far north as present-day Canal Street. The Retreat mentioned in the article was a two-acre rural estate that in 1822 became the site of a tavern run by a man named William Jones.–

It also pre-dates the mention of the first game at The Retreat in New York City. “… articles appeared April 25, 1823; they indicate that some form of the game was even then being called ”base ball” and was played in Manhattan. … The game was played on the west side of Broadway between what is today Eighth Street and Washington Place in Greenwich Village, long before anyone dreamed of putting on a pinstripe uniform.–


New York Daily Times December 19, 1854: 3.

More on the Gotham Club:

Corrado Govoni, with and without teeth

Carrado Govoni’s “Diver” (La Palombaro) first appeared in the February 11, 1915 issue of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s Parole consonanti vocali numeri in libertà. Then on March 27, 1915, the Futurist journal Lacerba published Govoni’s self-portrait, drawn with visual poetry.

Not long after this, Govoni’s book Rarefazioni e parole in libertà was published by the Marinetti’s Milan imprint Edizioni futuriste di “Poesia.” (SAX PQ4817.O8 Z4852 1915q), which included both Govoni’s Driver and his Self-portrait but this time, with slight variations in each. Why are they different? Did he decide not to have teeth for a reason? Which versions are the final, definitive work?

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944) began the entrepreneurship [Parole] as “a disinterested love of art which was combined with his wish to address the need for an alternative space that could sustain the talents he wished to launch into the marketplace of art and literature: the painters Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Gino Severini, Ardengo Soffici, Fortunato Depero, Enrico Prampolini, as well as the writers Aldo Palazzeschi, Corrado Govoni, Paolo Buzzi, Luciano Folgore, Francesco Cangiullo, and many others.

The “Futurist Editions of Poesia” were perhaps the most important embodiment of Marinetti’s desire to create an alternative cultural space, becoming an experimental laboratory in the true sense of the term, where the canons of a new writing, the “words-in-freedom,” were successively elaborated and consecrated for the first time …’We reserve the ‘Futurist Editions of Poesia’ for those works that are absolutely Futurist in their violence and intellectual extremism and that cannot be published by others because of their typographical difficulties.—Claudia Salaris, “Marketing Modernism: Marinetti as Publisher,”.Modernism/Modernity 1.3 (1994): 109-27.

Corrado Govoni’s book, Rarefazioni e parole in libertà (Rarefactions and Words in Freedom) is divided into two parts:

“The first presented a series of experiments in visual poetry, while the second featured applications of the poetical techniques suggested by F.M. Marinetti in the “Manifesto della letteratura futurista” (Manifesto of Futurist Literature, 1912). In both instances, however, the Futurist method provided Govoni a pretext for his eclectic analogical imagery. These works were often illustrated by the poet’s own sketches or drawings, which constituted in integral part of his verse.” —Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies (2006)

Tuppenny Rhymes

Attributed to Arthur James Hervey Wyatt (1861-1938), Tuppenny Rhymes. Illustrated manuscript dedicated to Raymond Benedict Hervey Wyatt “on his [16th] birthday 15th Decr. 1906.” 38 illustrated pages. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process


The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this wonderful illustrated manuscript written for the teenager Raymond Benedict Hervey Wyatt (1890-1977) by one of his parents, likely his father, the engineer Arthur James Hervey Wyatt.

Educated at Bedford Grammar School, Wyatt Sr. went on to become an expert in sighting devices for heavy guns working for over twenty years for Morris Aiming Tube and Ammunition Company, Ltd. During the War, he joined the Ministry of Munitions and became assistant inspector for the East Midlands Area, with headquarters at Bedford.


This comic and affectionate gift to his son interposes humorous verse with nine full page and four half page illustrated comic advertisements for faux companies.

These include “Bovrox. The strongest thing on earth. Prepared only in our Chicago factory from the oldest and most delicate cows. In fragile bottles 2/6”; “Petrach’s Cheese Chocolate. Delicious! Scrumptious! Made from pure chocolate and ripe old Stilton cheese”; “Boko for the nose. Ensures a luxurious nasal organ.”

Of the nine manuscript poems, the second, Raymond’s Life. After W. S. Gilbert, follows the path of Raymond’s life from his ambitions to be an engine driver, his education as a Bedford Scholar, his love of cricket, and his ambition for various careers.

It ends: “With engineering, law and Greek / And many another rum thing, / With half the world’s pursuit’s to seek/ Let’s hope he sticks to something./ Mid agriculture, bank or school- / The crowded court – museum cook, / The bar – the bench / Or chemic stench/ Let’s hope he sticks to something.”

In real life, Raymond went on to be a successful pathologist and coroner, working at Bedford County Hospital in 1926 and the Coroner for the South-Western Division in London. In 1941, Wyatt carried out the inquests into the deaths of Karl Drucke and Werner Walti who were executed as spies by Alfred Pierrepoint at Wandsworth Prison on August 6,1906.


Print Archaeology

A number of people helped today to match a set of unmarked prints to a published book. The prints are some of the many sheets that have been sitting in the department for many years unidentified and uncatalogued. Stop here if you want to try it yourself before reading the answer below.

Success came first to Nicola Shilliam, Marquand Library’s Western Bibliographer, who was able to match the recognizable scenes of Jerusalem with the correct edition and illustrator.

Torquato Tasso (1544-1595), La Gerusalemme liberata di Torquato Tasso; con le annotationi di Scipion Gentili e di Giulio Guastauini: et li argomenti di Oratio Ariosti [=The Liberated Jerusalem of Torquato Tasso; with annotations by Scipion Gentili and Giulio Guastauini: and the topics of Oratio Ariosti] (Genoa: Giuseppe Pavoni ad instanza di Bernardo Castello, 1617). Full page engraved plates facing the opening of each of the 20 cantos, engraved by Camillo Cungi (ca. 1597–1649) after designs by Bernardo Castello (1557–1629). EXOV 3137.34.197


We all felt foolish. Gerusalemme Liberata of Torquato Tasso, published in 1581, is considered one of Italy’s great contribution to epic poetry and should be easily recognized. Three illustrated editions were prepared by the Italian painter Bernardo Castello, the largest and most successful this 3rd edition in 1617.

The sheets discovered in the Graphic Arts Collection, while in poor condition, may have been early proofs as the engraver Camillo Cungi worked to reproduce Castello’s drawings. On the other hand, they may have been prepared for a pirated edition. Below is one example of the proof and the published engraving.


Close up of proof copy
Close up of the final published engraving, note the artist’s initials in the bottom left. B.C.I. stands for Bernardo Castello invenit (designer)

Here is an open library edition, if you want to see or read the whole book:

Here is a lecture on the various illustrated edition of Gerusalemme Liberata.


Finally, here are several more of the proofs in the Graphic Arts Collection, so you can compare them to the published book.

La Galatea poema lirico, ca. 1625

Attributed to Girolamo Priuli (1476-1547), La Galatea: Poema Lirico con l’Allegorie dell’Academico Veneto Sconosciuto ([Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified], 1620? Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2910- in process

An unexpected treasure came this week in an unusual first edition of La Galatea. Poema lirico con l’allegorie dell’accademico Veneto sconosciuto cavalleresco (pseudonym of the Venetian poet Girolamo Priuli), variously dated 1620 to 1625. An unidentified artist created sixteen engravings illustrating the poetic epic of Acis and Galatea. Strangely, the first six plates are all of the same scene with Galatea in the water, looking left, looking right, in the rain, in the sunshine, etc. Readers must look twice to realize they have subtle differences.

Once while Galatea let Scylla comb her hair, she addressed these words to her, sighing often: ‘At least, O virgin Scylla, you are not wooed by a relentless breed of men: and you can reject them without fear, as you do. But I, whose father is Nereus, and whose mother is sea-green Doris, I, though protected by a crowd of sisters, was not allowed to flee the love of Polyphemus, the Cyclops, except through sorrow’, and tears stopped the sound of her voice. When the girl had wiped away the tears with her white fingers, and the goddess was comforted, she said: ‘Tell me, O dearest one: do not hide the cause of your sadness (I can be so trusted)’ The Nereid answered Crateis’s daughter in these words: ‘Acis was the son of Faunus and the nymph Symaethis, a great delight to his father and mother, but more so even to me, since he and I alone were united. He was handsome, and having marked his sixteenth birthday, a faint down covered his tender cheeks. I sought him, the Cyclops sought me, endlessly. If you asked, I could not say which was stronger in me, hatred of Cyclops, or love of Acis, both of them were equally strong.

Oh! Gentle Venus, how powerful your rule is over us! How that ruthless creature, terrifying even to the woods themselves, whom no stranger has ever seen with impunity, who scorns mighty Olympus and its gods, how he feels what love is, and, on fire, captured by powerful desire, forgets his flocks and caves. Now Polyphemus, you care for your appearance, and are anxious to please, now you comb your bristling hair with a rake, and are pleased to cut your shaggy beard with a reaping hook, and to gaze at your savage face in the water and compose its expression. Your love of killing, your fierceness, and your huge thirst for blood, end, and the ships come and go in safety.

The title page is especially appealing with its architectural frame [recycled?] topped with the word Resistit (Withstands). The allegorical figures have been described elsewhere as “the Temperance that resists Love, Apollo with the nine Muses; below the Aurora brand; adorned with little heads, large initials and xylographed endings.”

Which is larger: Double Elephant or Grand Eagle?

Size is relative. John James Audubon (1785-1851) liked to include insects and other small animals to put the size of his birds in context, such as this White Heron and red lizard.


It is often written that Audubon used the largest paper available for his Birds of America but in fact, the “double elephant” was only one of several Imperial size papers made at that time.

Below this plate from Birds is compared to a plate from the Description de l’Égypte and suddenly, it’s not quite so big.


It is a tragedy that libraries only measure and record the binding size, with no regard to the paper size (except for a note that the edges have been trimmed). Prints and drawings curators, on the other hand, measure the plate mark, the sheet, and the support (meaning a binding, a mat, or a frame). While many collections around the world regard both Birds and Description as “Double Elephant,” in fact the atlas of Description is closer to the “Grand Eagle” size.

Here are two of the many charts delineating paper sizes:


By the way: While both Birds and Description were created in the early 19th century, both were acquired by Princeton in the early 20th century:

Description de l’Égypte, ou, Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française, publié par les ordres de Sa Majesté l’empereur Napoléon le Grand (Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1809-22). 8 v. in 9: 41 cm; and atlas of 14 v. (73-110 cm.). Rare Books Oversize EX 1821.358e. The Princeton copy is “… the deluxe printing. Penciled in the margins of several of the astronomical line drawings is the name, comte de Pourtalès. …[I}n 1865 [this copy] was sold. Together with other works on Egypt and the ancient Near East, the set was presented to Princeton University in 1921 by the sons of Ralph E. Prime, Jr., of the Class of 1888, after the latter’s death. He had inherited it from a great-uncle, William Cowper Prime (1824-1905), of the Class of 1843. It was evidently he who acquired [this copy] at the Pourtalès sale or soon afterwards.”– Charles C. Gillispie, Monuments of Egypt (1987), p. 42.

John James Audubon (1785-1851), The Birds of America: from original drawings by John James Audubon ... (London: Pub. by the author, 1827-38). 4 v. CCCCXXXV col. pl. 100 cm. Rare Books Oversize EX 8880.134.11e. The Princeton copy “was presented … in 1927 by Alexander van Rensselaer (Princeton, class of 1871), a charter trustee of the University. It had formerly belonged to Stephen van Rensselaer (Princeton, class of 1808) of Albany, New York, one of the original subscribers to the work. The latter’s name appears as no. 32 in Audubon’s list of subscribers.” — Howard C. Rice, An Aububon Anthology, page 16.


Trumpeter Swan

This Swan feeds principally by partially immersing the body and extending the neck under water, in the manner of fresh-water Ducks and some species of Geese, when the feet are often seen working in the air, as if to aid in preserving the balance. Often however it resorts to the land, and then picks at the herbage, not sidewise, as Geese do, but more in the manner of Ducks and poultry. Its food consists of roots of different vegetables, leaves, seeds, various aquatic insects, land snails, small reptiles and quadrupeds. The flesh of a cygnet is pretty good eating, but that of an old bird is dry and tough.

Race, Gender, and Anatomy

Most early anatomies focused their attention on the white male body, with female dissection included only to illustrate the stages of childbirth. Non-white cadavers might have been less expensive but were not considered proper models for published medical atlases.

When the practice of hands‐on anatomical dissection became popular in United States medical education in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, demand for cadavers exceeded the supply. Slave bodies and thefts by grave robbers met this demand. Members of the public were aware that graves were being robbed and countered with various protective measures. …Slave owners sold the bodies of their deceased chattel to medical schools for anatomic dissection. Stories of the “night doctors” buying and stealing bodies became part of African American folklore traditions. The physical and documentary evidence demonstrates the disproportionate use of the bodies of the poor, the Black, and the marginalized in furthering the medical education of white elites.

–Halperin EC. “The Poor, the Black, and the Marginalized as the Source of Cadavers in United States Anatomical Education,” Clin Anat. 2007; 20:489–495.


One significant except was Joseph Maclise’s Surgical Anatomy, first published in 1851 with 35 partially colored lithographic plates, followed by a revised and enlarged second edition in 1856, containing 52 plates. The lithographs were printed by M. & N. Hanhart lithographers, founded by Michael Hanhart, and the volume published by John Churchill, a medical bookseller in Soho.

Two plates [above] feature an adult African Englishman, “Two heads of men, showing dissection of muscles and blood-vessels of the subclavian region of the chest” and “Dissection of the trunk of a seated black man, showing major blood-vessels.” Although female models are illustrated, their faces are always obscured.


The Irish artist, Joseph Maclise (ca.1815-1880) was a younger brother of the painter Daniel Maclise (1806-1870), with whom he sometimes shared a house in Bloomsbury and Chelsea when they were both in London. Joseph was both a professional surgeon and artist, illustrating a number of medical texts.


Joseph Maclise (ca.1815-1880), Surgical Anatomy (London: Churchill, 1856). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process