Category Archives: Illustrated books

illustrated books

Fritz Eichenberg

When Robert Brown asked Fritz Eichenberg (1901-1990) [left] about his dramatic book illustration, the artist answered,

“Well, it solves, also, my own problems. Some people have to take it to a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst. I was able to use art as a kind of purifier, or as a kind of a safety valve for my own problems. Because to leave your so-called “native country” and come into a completely new civilization and adjust yourself to it – raise children here – presents a problem which is not insurmountable. But it’s psychologically difficult. You don’t want to be a rebel in your new country. You want to show your gratitude, in a way. You also try to do your share to improve conditions wherever they can be improved by your knowledge, or by your work, or by your contribution to society. And, I think, through my work, I could reach people, which has always been very important to me. …

…Man is a very fragile being. He does his best to corrupt the environment in which he lives. We have now the problems of pollution and nuclear energy and we have gone through a disastrous war. We lost more than the war. We lost our integrity and our standing in the world to a large degree. Whatever I could do as a kind of conciliator coming from the other side I tried to do.

…And since I have been lucky enough to be commissioned to do the imagery accompanying the works of great writers, it makes me a kind of a mediator – a kind of interpreter – a visual interpreter – and has helped many people to read Dostoyevsky who’ve never read Dostoyevsky before. Or the Brontes. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are probably the most popular books I have done.

–Smithsonian Archives of American Art Oral history interview with Fritz Eichenberg, 1979 May 14-December 7.

St. Toirdealbhach’s Tale (from The Once and Future King)

Thanks to the friendship between former Graphic Arts Curator Dale Roylance and Eichenberg, Princeton holds complete proof sets for most of the wood engravings Eichenberg printed as book illustrations. This includes the unpublished illustrations planned for an edition of T.H. White (1906-1964), The Once and Future King (New York: Collins, 1939)

The Maid and the Unicorn (from The Once and Future King)

Merlyn and Archimedes (from The Once and Future King)

The Boar Hunt (from The Once and Future King)

The Wart and the Hawks (from The Once and Future King)


Drawn with Craniological Inspection by George Cruikshank

Don Juan Asmodeus, A Political Lecture on Heads, alias Blockheads!! A Characteristic Poem: Containing the Heads of Derry Down Triangle, the State Jackal … [etc.] Drawn from Craniological Inspection, after the Manner of Doctors Gall and Spurzheim, of Vienna (London: J. Fairburn [1818?]). Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1815.5. Frontispiece fold out by George Cruikshank.

The anonymous author of this small book [King of the Demons] states his purpose on the title page:

I prophesy on each man’s skull
The heavy, thick, the dark, or dull;
O’ver politics supreme I reign,
Explore the labyrinths of the brain:–
To show how little, great men are
Is Asmodeus constant care!

John Gay (1685–1732). The Beggar’s Opera. 1922.
Act I
Scene 1.
Scene, Peachum’s House.
PEACHUM sitting at a Table with a large Book of Accounts before him.

AIR I.—An old Woman clothed in Gray, &c.

Through all the Employments of Life
Each Neighbour abuses his Brother;
Whore and Rogue they call Husband and Wife:
All Professions be-rogue one another:
The Priest calls the Lawyer a Cheat,
The Lawyer be-knaves the Divine:
And the Statesman, because he’s so great,
Thinks his Trade as honest as mine.


Here are a few of the ten blockheads.

Identified by Dorothy George as Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (1770-1828), Prime minister 1812 to 1827. Also known as Liverpool. His verse reads in part:
Jack Jenkinson, secure as fate,
A stupid pillar of the State;
Whose father, o’ve the Atlantic wave,
In days of yore both got and gave,
Got places, money, meat, and fuel,
And fed the poor with water gruel;


Isabella Anne Ingram Shepherd, 2nd Marchioness of Hertford (1760-1834), married Francis Ingram Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, later 2nd Marquess of Hertford.
The lecture goes:
Her sparkling eyes, where Cupids muster,
Outshine the ruby’s polish’d lustre.
Yet crows’ feet, underneath her lashes,
Have mark’d her jolly cheeks with gashes;
And spite of dress, of airs, and pride,
Proclaim the age she fain would hide.

Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (1769-1822). Better known as Viscount Castlereagh. As Chief Secretary for Ireland (1798-1801) was instrumental in the passage of the Act of Union in 1800, but his attempt to achieve subsequent political emancipation of Roman Catholics was unsuccessful. Pictured with ass’s ears and the motto Eiren-go-bray [Ireland Forever].
His lecture ends:
That head joust now consumed in smoke,
Around our necks has placed a yoke,
Which many a painful year ‘twill take
Either to lighten or to break;
And ages yet unknown to fame,
Shall curse the Irish Statesman’s name.

Cruikshank letter

George Cruikshank (1792-1878), [Cries of London] ([London, Dublin; J. Robins, 1827-29?]). Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1827.4 (9 pl. by R. Cruikshank, and the remainder by G. Cruikshank). Autograph letter written and signed by G. Cruikshank, to J. Hawkins, esq. June 1850, inserted at beginning. Gift of Richard Waln Meirs, class of 1888

This small volume of Cries of London by Robert and George Cruikshank has no title page. In its place is pasted a letter from George to J. Hawkins:

[George Cruikshank] 48 Mornington Place. June 12th, 1850
Sir. I was in the country when your note arrived here – and since my return I have been expecting any day to be able to call upon you – but have been prevented by a [?pressure] of enjoyments. Shall however visit upon you now in the course of a few days,

Might this be a note to the print collector mentioned in the British Museum database:

John Heywood Hawkins (1802/3-1877). Major British print collector and member of Parliament; of Bignor Park, Sussex. Gave some prints in 1849. Part of collection in sale of prints and drawings, Sotheby’s, 29.iv. -8.v.1850. Hawkins retained many of the rest. In 1854/5 he sold his Netherlandish prints to Colnaghi’s who gave the first refusal to the BM (see 1855,0114.206 to 229, and 1855,0414.231 to 280, purchased for £508 1s). In 1857 he sold his early Italian prints to Colnaghi, who again gave the first refusal to the BM. Carpenter successfully asked the Trustees to purchase 58 for £450 (1858,0417.1571 to 1628). Hawkins sold a number of drawings directly to Sotheby’s in 1861, whence the BM purchased 31. Others of his prints and drawings came to the BM later via other routes.

Ce n’est pas la girouette qui tourne, c’est le vent

Edgar Faure (1908-1988) wrote “Ce n’est pas la girouette qui tourne, c’est le vent” = “It’s not the weathervane that turns, it’s the wind”

The comment might fit this nineteenth-century satirical dictionary, published by the bookseller Alexis Eymery under the anonymous “Society of Weathervanes.” Contributors are said to include the singer and poet Pierre-Joseph Charrin, the printer Joseph Tastu, the writer René Perin, and the Count César Proisy of Eppe. The book has been described as “stigmatizing the flip-flops and successive loyalties of personalities under the different regimes of the Revolution to the Hundred Days.” At the front is a wonderful allegorical plate, in which a colorful gentleman signs any and all proclamations, from the constitutional monarchy to the second return of King Louis XVIII. Note the blade with a declaration from the government of the year 2440, waiting to be signed.

“Only a few weeks after the publication of the Dictionary, an essay is published under the title of Censeur des girouettes, ou les honnêtes gens vengés. The author tries to justify the opportunism of this period by the higher interest of the fatherland and thinks to see in the Dictionnaire des girouettes a threat against the civil peace and the necessary reconciliation between all the French people:

“Si ces auteurs, étrangers au bonheur de leur patrie, n’ont pas réfléchi aux dangers de leur compilation dans un moment de tout ce qui existe en France a besoin de tout oublier ; s’ils n’ont point calculé que la haine de tel individu n’attend souvent qu’un léger signal pour se venger d’une injure personnelle ; ces auteurs dis-je d’imprudens Français que seule l’ineptie de leur ouvrage peut seule excuser. » Cette contre-attaque se révèle totalement inefficace ; au contraire, des livres inspirés du dictionnaire des girouettes sont édités, tel le Dictionnaire des immobiles, par un homme qui jusqu’à présent n’a rien juré et n’ose jurer de rien, par Adrien Beuchot.

A. Carrière-Doisin, Le censeur du Dictionnaire des girouettes, ou, Les honnêtes gens vengés (Paris: Chez Germain Mathiot, 1815). Recap DC145 .E964 1815

Alexis Eymery (1774-1854), Dictionnaire des girouettes, ou Nos contemporains peints d’après euxmêmes; ouvrage dans lequel sont rapportés les discours, proclamations, chansons, extraits d’ouvrages écrits sous les gouvernemens qui ont eu lieu en France depuis vingt-cinq ans; et les places, …. par un Société de girouettes. 3. éd., rev., cor., et considérablement augm.; ornée d’une gravure allégorique (Paris: A. Eymery [etc.] 1815). Recap DC145 .E964 1815

Voyages à Peking

In preparation for the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, which kicks off at 1:00 on February 17, 2019, on Mott Street in New York City (complete details at, here are some plates of celebration and working life in China over 200 years ago.

Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes (1749-1845), Voyages à Peking, Manille et l’Ile de France, faits Dans l’intervalle des années 1784 à 1801, par M. de Guignes, Résident de France à la Chine, attaché au Ministère des Relations extérieures, Corrspondant de la première et de la troisième Classe de l’Institut (Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1808). Atlas volume holds 97 engravings on 65 leaves by Jacques Eustache de Sève (1790-1830) after sketches by de Guignes. Rare Books 1722.418 and 1722.418f. The complete volume can be found on Gallica:

After 17 years living and traveling in China, Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes returned to his native Paris in 1801 and began organizing his notes and sketches. He collaborated with the young artist Jacques Eustache de Sève (1790-1830) to engrave over one hundred drawings of 18th-century China, including architecture, street life, local events and costumes. The number and order of plates seems to vary between editions of this popular book.

See more De Sève art:
J. B. (Jean Baptiste) Pujoulx (1762-1821), Le naturaliste du second âge: ouvrage destiné à servir de suite et de complément au Livre du second âge (Paris: Chez Gide, libraire, rue Christine, no 3, an XIII–1805). Cotsen Children’s Library Euro 18 12320

Charles Perrault (1628-1703), Histoires, ou, Contes du temps passé: avec des moralités (A La Haye, & se trouve a Liege: Chez Bassompierre, libraire & imprimeur, MDCCXXVII [1777]). Cotsen Children’s Library Euro 18 25153

The rescue of Cardinal Vincenzo Maria Orsini, future Pope Benedict XIII, and other miracles


Two months after the Saint’s death, Drusilla, wife of Antonio Fantini, fell from a balcony at the height of twenty palms into a court-yard, striking her head against some pieces of iron which were lying on a table; her lower lip was cut through in three places, and her right eye protruded from the socket; both her eyes indeed were so much injured that her sight was entirely gone; her nose was crushed, and her teeth broken, and there was a deep gash in her left hand; moreover, great quantities of blood issued from her mouth, and she was to all appearance a corpse. …

In the meanwhile Antonio Franco, the surgeon, arrived, and when he had examined the wounds and injuries, he gave it as his opinion that it was quite impossible she should survive …

After these fifteen days, … the sick woman was left alone in the house, she recommended herself in her heart to S. Philip, who formerly was her spiritual father; and as she prayed she felt on a sudden a great weight in her breast, and it seemed as though a handkerchief were forced down her throat, and then gradually drawn up again; whereupon her sight was instantly restored, and she saw the holy father vested as a priest, with a glory around his head, and he was holding the handkerchief in his hand all covered with blood; he said moreover, “Do not be afraid, for thou wilt not die this time:” and in an instant she was cured …. [1847 English translation]

Pietro Giacomo Bacci (ca. 1575-1656), Vita di S. Filippo Neri Fiorentino, fondatore della Congregazione dell’Oratorio … con la notizia di alcuni compagni del medesimo santo, aggiunta dal P. Maestro Giacomo Ricci = Life of St. Philip Neri Fiorentino, founder of the Congregation of the Oratory … with the news of some companions of the same saint, added by Fr. Maestro Giacomo Ricci (Rome: Bernabò and Lazzarini, 1745). Graphic Arts Collection GAX -in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a lavishly illustrated edition of the popular hagiography (biography of a saint) of Filippo Neri (1515-1595), first published in 1622 and reissued continuously through the twentieth century.

The artists of the frontispiece, title vignette, and 45 engraved plates include:
Engraved portrait frontispiece by the German engraver Christian Sas (born 1648, active 1660) after the French painter Jacques Stella (1596-1657).
Engraved title vignette of the Virgin and Child on the half-moon and 41 plates are by the Italian engraver Luca Ciamberlano (born ca. 1570) after the Italian painter Guido Reni (1575-1642); three plates are by Sas after Stella; and one (no.45) is by the Italian artist Girolamo Frezza (1659-ca. 1741) after the Italian painter Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674-1755).

Dealers note: New to this edition is a plate (p. 45) depicting the miraculous rescue of Cardinal Vincenzo Maria Orsini, future Pope Benedict XIII, from the rubble of the church of the Annunziata in Benevento during the earthquake that devastated the area in 1688.

Read more about the iconography of the plates: Massimo Leone, Saints and Signs: A Semiotic Reading of Conversion in Early Modern Catholicism (2010) p. 292-300






A Roma vende i libri per aiutare i poveri = In Rome he sells books to help the poor.

Plan de la justice de Dieu sur la terre

Ç’est ici la jalousie de l’eternel = This is the jealousy of the Eternal

Affligée, tempetée, rejoui-toi, voici ton Roi qui vient t epouser, & se rendre victorieux sur tes ennemis = Sorrowful, Tempted, Rejoice; behold your King who comes to marry, and make himself victorious over your enemies

Quand vous aurez saccagé, vous serez saccagés, car la lumière est apparue dans les ténèbres pour les détruire = When you have ransacked, you will be ransacked, for the light has appeared in the darkness to destroy them.


Plan de la justice de Dieu, sur la terre dans ces derniers jours, et du relèvement de la chûte de l’homme par son péché. [Part 2:] Quand vous aurez saccagé, vous serez saccagé: car la Lumière est apparue dans les Ténèbres , signed Jean Allut, Charles Portalès, Nicolas Facio ([Place of publication not identified]: Imprimé par les soins de N. F. [Nicolas Fatio de Duillier], 1714). Graphic Arts Collection 2019 in process

This posthumous collection of sermons by the charismatic Camisard Élie Marion (1678-1713) includes a wonderful allegorical frontispiece to part two. Marion became a spokesman for “the armed rebellion of the mostly illiterate Camisards, clandestine Protestant groups in the mountainous redoubts of the Cévennes, whose strength continued to grow during the first few years of the 18th century.” Their revolt culminated in the War of the Cévennes, which “opposed no more than 3000 Camisards against 20,000 dragoons over a period of two years” (Oxford DNB).

At the engraving’s center a blindfolded woman (representing the true church) is being pulled in four different directions by four priests of Christian religions: Calvinism, Lutheranism, Rome, and Greek orthodoxy. Between the priests four unidentified monarchs draw their swords and stand ready to attack. The above translations are rough and if anyone has a better suggestion, they can be changed.

For more about Marion, see:

Clarke Garrett, Spirit possession and popular religion: from the Camisards to the Shakers (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987).  BR112 .G37 1987

The book that “induces a splendid rage.”

Learning from Las Vegas, designed by MIT’s Muriel Cooper, is almost always found on lists of the greatest publications of the 20th century, especially in terms of book design and production. It is priced accordingly.

Imagine the unhappiness and confusion today when someone noticed red flags on the copies held in Princeton University Library: two were missing and/or lost from the rarest large format, first edition and one of the semi-rare smaller second edition, more than most collections have in total.

A deep breath and some minutes later it was confirmed that our library holds 13 copies, only two of which are missing. An embarrassment of riches rather than the opposite.

Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press [1972]). Dust jacket, postcard, and prospectus included. Graphic Arts Collection NA735.L3 V4q


This winter, Design Observer listed Learning from Las Vegas at the top of their 2018 gift list, noting: “The reissue of Muriel Cooper’s out-of-print masterpiece, Learning from Las Vegas, authored by VSBA, tops my holiday gift list. This facsimile book exists like the original as a fearless object, is a testament to Cooper’s brilliance, and will now save design book connoisseurs thousands of dollars.

Writing for Archinect, Nicholas Korody commented:

“Nearly fifty years ago, Denise Scott Brown, her husband Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour brought nine architecture students, two planning students, and two graphic design students to Las Vegas. There they studied the famous, if often derided, Las Vegas Strip, discovering a wealth of meaning in its bright signage. Their findings, published four years later in 1972, became one of the seminal texts of architectural theory and influenced an entire generation of practitioners and thinkers.

“Learning from the existing landscape,” Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour begin, “is a way of being revolutionary for an architect.” Perhaps more than anything else, the research methods pioneered in Learning from Las Vegas have changed the way architects practice and study, recasting quotidian landscapes as objects to be analyzed rather than ignored or denigrated. “Withholding judgement may be used as a tool to make later judgements more sensitive,” they write. “This is a way of learning from everything.”

In Learning from Las Vegas, architecture appears as “decorated shed” or “duck”. The former relies on imagery and signage to convey its program. The latter expresses its program and meaning in its form. If much of the then-dominant “late Modernism” eschewed ornament, prior architectures acted more as “ducks”. With the publication of the book, Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour helped usher in a return to ornament and symbolism in architecture, as well as a new focus on the architecture of the everyday.

–continue reading at:


Elisabeth Sonrel


The Graphic Arts Collection recently added two small Catholic missals decorated with chromolithographs in the art nouveau style typical of Élisabeth Sonrel (1874-1951). Her portraits of pretty girls in soft pastels and floral wreaths are instantly recognizable from posters and other nouveau ephemera.

Sonrel only produced a few prayer books with the Tours publishing house known as A. Mame et Fils, under Paul Mame (1833-1903), son of Alfred Mame (1811-1893). Decorated bibles and illustrated books were the shop’s specialty where, according to one source, they published six million volumes yearly.

Missel, avec illustration par Mlle. Sonrel (Tours: A . Mame et Fils, [1900?]). Embossed leather with all-over cross motif within fleuron borders; elaborate gilt inner dentelles and marbled endpapers; in original marbled-pattern slipcase. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Missel des saintes femmes de France, avec illustration par Elisabeth Sonrel (Tours: Maison A. Mame et fils, 1900). Full morocco binding with four incised bands at the spine and the owner’s applied metal initials on the front board; all edges gilt over marbling; triple embroidered bookmark with metal piece reading “Credo.: In original hinged case with ruched ecru silk lining. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019 in process


New York After Dark in 1931

Charles G. Shaw, Nightlife: Vanity Fair’s Intimate Guide to New York After Dark (New York: John day Company, 1931). Decorated by Raymond Bret-Koch (1902-1996). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.  Note: Prohibition ended in 1933.

This indexed guide provides information on speakeasies, night clubs, dance halls, and more with specific chapters on Harlem, Greenwich Village, Lower East Side, and Yorkville. Restaurants are divided into luxury, foreign, chop suey with dancing, chop suey without dancing, chophouses, and grill rooms.

Decoration throughout is by Raymond Bret-Koch (1902-1996). The BnF lists him as French and continues “Architect, decorator, poster designer and illustrator. – Learn architecture with Mallet-Stevens, decoration with André Groult, advertising art with Tolmer. – After his military service, he specialized in decoration and advertising. He has had a great activity in the press, as a creator, editor, poster artist and in publishing as an illustrator.”


The fabulous Moscowitz Roumanian (correct spelling) restaurant  is described “the walls are garish, the decor cheap, there is no pretense to chic. but here is, mark you, a house of comfort, ease, and relaxation.” For more on this classic, see: . Happily Sammy’s Romanian is still open: