Category Archives: painting and watercolors

paintings

Buffalo Bill Novel Magazine Covers

Robert Prowse, Jr (1858-1934?), Collection of 71 pieces of original cover art for the Buffalo Bill Novels Magazine series. [London: Aldine Publishing Company, 1918-1932]. Watercolor and gouache paintings, about 14 x 11 in. each. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

 

With the much appreciated support of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, the Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a remarkable group of original cover art for the Buffalo Bill Novels, a British pulp magazine for boys and girls, published from 1916 to 1932 by the Aldine Publishing Company in London. Despite its name, the stories were not always about Buffalo Bill, though they were always set in the American West and featured plenty of cowboys and Indians (and even female heroes!).

The paintings are all signed by Robert Prowse (R.P.), who did artwork for this and other similar projects; some are dated below his initials. The series ran for 342 issues, though the last cover in this collection is for No. 344, possibly an unpublished issue, as we could find no trace of this title associated with the Buffalo Bill Novels. See more here: http://john-adcock.blogspot.com/2014/08/robert-prowse-jr-sketches-and.html

 

This acquisition will allow students and researchers to study the cover art along with the text, given the large number of these books already owned by Princeton. As outlined on the Special Collections website, “the Library’s extensive holdings relating to Dime Novels are divided chiefly among two collections. https://rbsc.princeton.edu/topics/dime-novels

One major portion, about 1,700 individual issues, is in the Cotsen Children’s Library. Some details about these are covered in the exhibition “Cheap Thrills,” mounted in Cotsen during the fall of 2006. The second major portion is in the general rare books collection, chiefly in three sub-units thereof, namely The Stanley Lieberman Memorial Collection (900 individual numbers); The Mary Robinson Memorial Collection of Hero Fiction (400 individual numbers); The John Murray Reynolds ’22 Collection, consisting of 111 issues of various dime-novel, mystery, and other such pulp magazines published in the United States between 1925 and 1947.

Each issue contains a story or contribution by John Murray Reynolds of the Class of 1922. A checklist is available here: https://library.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/aids/BIB_70767.pdf. The Stanley Lieberman Memorial Collection and the Mary Robinson Memorial Collection of Hero Fiction complement each other to form a fine collection of Hero Fiction, with a total of about 1,300 volumes. There is also the John Murray Reynolds ’22 Collection, which consists of 111 issues of various boys, dime-novel, mystery, and other such pulp magazines published in the United States between 1925 and 1947.”

 

 

Above: original painting for cover.       Below: published volume with printed cover.

American publishers weren’t the only ones cashing in on the pulp magazines craze and this collection offers a good example of international hegemony of the genre. The Aldine Publishing Company of London produced, from the late 1880s onwards, reprints of American dime novels, such as the adventures of Buffalo Bill, eventually opening a subsidiary in New York.

Complementing the watercolors, Princeton also holds proof covers for the first 51 numbers of the Aldine Publishing Company’s “O’er Land and Sea” Library. These single octavo leaves, rough trimmed, some mounted on thin card, others showing signs of mounting. [London, 1890-1891], available at (Ex) Item 4697736.

See also:
Chambliss, Julian and William Svitavsky (2008), “From Pulp Hero to Superhero: Culture, Race, and Identity in American Popular Culture, 1900–1940,” Studies in American Culture 30 (1) (October)
Dinan, John A. (1983) The Pulp Western : A Popular History of the Western Fiction Magazine in America. Borgo Press, ISBN 0-89370-161-0.
Goulart, Ron (1972) Cheap Thrills: An Informal History of the Pulp Magazine, Arlington House, ISBN 978-0-87000-172-7.
Gunnison, Locke and Ellis (2000). Adventure House Guide to the Pulps (Adventure House) ISBN 1-886937-45-1
Lesser, Robert (2003). Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines (Book Sales) ISBN 0-7858-1707-7
Locke, John-editor (2004). Pulp Fictioneers – Adventures in the Storytelling Business (Adventure House) ISBN 1-886937-83-4
Robbins, Leonard A. (1988). The Pulp Magazine Index (Six Volumes). Starmont House. ISBN 1-55742-111-0.
Robinson, Frank and Davidson, Lawrence (2007). Pulp Culture (Collector’s Press) ISBN 978-1-933112-30-5
Sampson, Robert (1983) Yesterday’s Faces: A Study of Series Characters in the Early Pulp Magazines. Volume 1. Glory figures, Vol. 2. Strange days, Vol. 3. From the Dark Side, Vol. 4. The Solvers, Vol 5. Dangerous Horizons, Vol. 6. Violent lives. Bowling Green University Popular Press, ISBN 0-87972-217-7.
Springhall, John (1994), “‘Disseminating Impure Literature’: ‘The ‘Penny Dreadful’ Publishing Business Since 1860,” The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 47, No. 3. (August), pp. 578.
http://john-adcock.blogspot.com/2014/08/robert-prowse-jr-sketches-and.html

Tingatinga School of Art

Nguta (active 2000s). [Hippopotamus, Tropical Birds ] and [Three Gazelles, Tropical Birds ]. [ca. 2006]. Enamel paint on muslin cloth. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02320, Gift of John Delaney

 

The Graphic Arts Collection holds two examples from the Tingatinga (also spelt Tinga-tinga or Tinga Tinga) School of Painting, originally found in the Oyster Bay area in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) but later spread to most of East Africa. These are signed by the artist Nguta.

Sometimes relegated to the category of “tourist art” sold in markets and airports in Tanzania, Kenya and neighboring countries, the style was derived from Tanzanian painter Edward Said Tingatinga (active 1970s) who often used Masonite and commercial enamel paints for his work.

Today the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society (TACS) is a recognized collective but only represents a small number of the artists working in this style, see: www.tingatingaArt.com

Hawkeye in Edinburgh

John Syme, John James Audubon, 1826, oil on canvas. White House Historical Association.

Within the first six months of John James Audubon’s arrival in Great Britain, he was immortalized with two portraits: an oil painting by John Syme and a life mask cast under the supervision of George Combe. James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans was taking Europe by storm and Audubon was everyone’s image of an American woodsman.

For the oil painting, he was instructed to wear his wolf-skin coat and later wrote, “if the head is not a strong likeness, perhaps the coat may be. …It is a strange-looking figure, with gun, strap, and buckles, and eyes that to me are more those of an enraged Eagle than mine.”

Still the portrait had lasting effect:Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans, released September 25, 1992.


N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945), Last of the Mohicans, 1919. Oil painting reproduced as the endpapers of James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1919).

https://library.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/aids/C0770/

November 27, 1826: …at nine was again with Mr. Lizars, who was to accompany me to Mr. Combe’s, and reaching Brower Square we entered the dwelling of Phrenology! Mr. Scot, the president of that society, Mr. D. Stewart, Mr. McNalahan, and many others were there, and also a German named Charles N. Weiss, a great musician. Mr. George Combe immediately asked this gentleman and myself if we had any objection to have our heads looked at by the president, who had not yet arrived. We both signified our willingness, and were seated side by side on a sofa. When the president entered Mr. Combe said: “I have here two gentlemen of talent; will you please tell us in what their natural powers consist?” Mr. Scot came up, bowed, looked at Mr. Weiss, felt his head carefully all over, and pronounced him possessed of musical faculty in a great degree; I then underwent the same process, and he said: “There cannot exist a moment of doubt that this gentleman is a painter, colorist, and compositor, and I would add an amiable, though quick-tempered man.”

Monday, December 18: At five I dined with George Combe, the conversation chiefly phrenology. George Combe is a delightful host, and had gathered a most agreeable company. . . . Mr. Combe has been to see me, and says my poor skull is a greater exemplification of the evidences of the truth of his system than any he has seen, except those of one or two whose great names only are familiar to me; and positively I have been so tormented about the shape of my head that my brains are quite out of sorts. Nor is this all; my eyes will have to be closed for about one hour, my face and hair oiled over, and plaster of Paris poured over my nose (a greased quill in each nostril), and a bust will be made.

Wednesday, December 20: Phrenology was the order of the morning. I was at Brown Square, at the house of George Combe by nine o’clock, and breakfasted most heartily on mutton, ham, and good coffee, after which we walked upstairs to his sanctum sanctorum. A beautiful silver box containing the instruments for measuring the cranium, was now opened … and I was seated fronting the light. Dr. Combe acted as secretary and George Combe, thrusting his fingers under my hair, began searching for miraculous bumps. My skull was measured as minutely and accurately as I measure the bill or legs of a new bird, and all was duly noted by the scribe. Then with most exquisite touch each protuberance was found as numbered by phrenologists, and also put down according to the respective size. I was astounded when they both gave me the results of their labors in writing, and agreed in saying I was a strong and constant lover, an affectionate father, had great veneration for talent, would have made a brave general, that music did not equal painting in my estimation, that I was generous, quick-tempered, forgiving, and much else which I know to be true, though how they discovered these facts is quite a puzzle to me.

January 14, 1826: After receiving many callers I went to Mr. O’Neill’s to have a cast taken of my head. My coat and neckcloth were taken off, my shirt collar turned down, I was told to close my eyes; Mr. O’Neill took a large brush and oiled my whole face, the almost liquid plaster of Paris was poured over it, as I sat uprightly till the whole was covered; my nostrils only were exempt. In a few moments the plaster had acquired the needful consistency, when it was taken off by pulling it down gently. The whole operation lasted hardly five minutes; the only inconvenience felt was the weight of the material pulling downward over my sinews and flesh. On my return from the Antiquarian Society that evening, I found my face on the table, an excellent cast.–https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Audubon_and_His_Journals/The_European_Journals

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), Last of the Mohicans (Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, [February 1826]).
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), Last of the Mohicans (London: John Miller, [March] 1826).
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), Last of the Mohicans (Paris: L. Baudry, [April] 1826).

In the Aberlian manner

Johann Heinrich Meynier, Die Kunst zu Tuschen und mit Wasserfarben: sowohl in Miniatur, als in Gouache und in Aberlischer-oder Aquarell-Manier, Landschaften, Porträte, und andere Gegenstände zu mahlen: nebst Vorausgeschickten Bemerkungen über die Kunst zu zeichnen (Leipzig: Bey Heinrich Gräff, 1799). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

As an added incentive to the young artists using this late-18th-century painting manual, a final hand-colored plate purports to offer 784 different color options. This is particularly interesting because Meynier’s text promoted coloring “in the Aberlian manner.” The technique was made famous by the Swiss painter Johann Ludwig Aberli (1723-1786) who designed line etchings printed in black ink and then, hand colored the scene to make each print seem unique. The method was quick and easy, not unlike modern color by numbers. These paintings were promoted to the popular print market.

Meynier went on to write and published a number of dictionaries, grammars, and training manuals. Sources indicate he wrote under various pseudonyms that included the surnames Jerrer, Sanguin, and Renner.

See also: Johann Heinrich Meynier, Erzählungen für Kinder : zur Erweckung eines feineren moralischen Gefühls und zur Bildung milderer Sitten (Nürnberg: bei Friedrich Campe, 1817). Cotsen Children’s Library Euro 18 46196

Varley’s List of Colours



Watercolorist John Varley (1778-1842) helped to establish the first Watercolour Society in London, and later the Society of Painters in Oil and Watercolours, serving as one of the leading instructors in the medium. In his cottage at Twickenham, Varley’s students learned to draw and paint from nature, among them William Mulready, John Linnell, and Samuel Palmer.

This sheet, recently placed on deposit in the Graphic Arts Collection, is assumed to have been created for his students rather than the general public. Eighteen colors are illustrated with hand-painted samples and explanations of their qualities along with recommendations for use. The upper nine painted in pure pigment colors are Prussian blue, indigo, lake, gamboge, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, Venetian red, vermilion and burnt umber. The lower nine painted in mixed tints are warm grey, purple grey, neutral tint, dark warm grey, warm green, olive green, orange, roman ochre and sepia.

The copy of Varley’s list held by the British Museum illustrates nineteen colors, beginning with cobalt blue, not found on the sheet in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton.

The Art Journal, 1841 Vol. 3-5

In conjunction with his classes, Varley published a number of instruction manuals including:

A Practical Treatise on the Art of Drawing and Perspective, 1815.
Precepts of Landscape Drawing, exemplified in fifteen views, 1818.
Varley’s List of Colours, 1818 (Princeton’s 1816)
A Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Design, illustrated by sixteen views on eight aquatint plates, issued in eight parts at 5s., between 20 Feb. 1816 and 1 May 1821.
A Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy (five illustrations), 1828.

The final volume was developed with his closest friends John Linnell (1792-1882) and William Blake (1757-1827). The two portraits above are by Linnell.

The works that brought Blake most notoriety in his lifetime, and were most responsible for accusations that he was mad, were the ‘Visionary Heads’ he did for the delectation of the landscape watercolourist John Varley, whom he had met in 1818 through one of Varley’s pupils, John Linnell, the great patron of Blake’s later years. These Heads … portray biblical and historic individuals such as David, Socrates and Richard Coeur de Lion, semi-historical characters such as Wat Tyler’s Daughter and imaginary beings such as The Man who built the Pyramids. They were executed from 1819 onwards, mainly in the evenings at Varley’s house. –selection from “Blake, Linnell and Varley and A Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy” by Martin Butlin.



 

John Varley (1778-1842), J. Varley’s List of Colours, 1816. Letterpress and watercolor. Graphic Arts Collection. On deposit from Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986.

See also:
John Varley (1778-1842), A Practical Treatise on Perspective [adapted for the study of those who draw from nature … by] (London: The author, 1815). Rare Books » Oversize NC730 .V43f

John Varley (1778-1842), A Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Design; with general observations and instructions to young artists ... (London: Sherwood, 1821). Rare Books » Oversize NC730 .V42f

John Varley (1778-1842), A Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy : illustrated by engravings of heads and features, and accompanied by tables of the time of rising of the twelve signs of the Zodiac : and containing also new and… (London: Published by the author … ; and sold by Longman and Co. … , 1828). Rare Books 2005-2238N

Before you build a wall, remove the art

As Firestone Library comes to the end of a ten year (or so) renovation, we are still finding collections in unexpected places. This morning, a six-foot framed canvas was uncovered behind a storage closet for emergency preparedness supplies. Happily, the canvas and the frame have been retrieved thanks to our wonderful security and maintenance staff.

Poems by the Knight of Morar, See Princeton

Detail

The British Museum holds an etching [left] by George Cruikshank (1792-1878) designed as a frontispiece to Sir William Augustus Fraser’s Poems by the Knight of Morar, with the inscription “Designed & Etched by- George Cruikshank- September 27th 1870- 78 years of age.” At the bottom someone has written “See Princeton…”.

Princeton University’s Graphic Arts Collection holds a watercolor sketch [below] for this print but no book, since the proposed volume with this 1870 frontispiece was never published.

 

Thanks to the gift of Richard Waln Meirs (Class of 1888), the Graphic Arts Collection does have two editions of Fraser’s book from 1867 with other Cruikshank’s designs, both particularly rare unpublished copies: Sir William Fraser (1826-1898), Poems by the Knight of Morar (London: Printed by Whittingham and Wilkins, 1867). Copy 1 has three steel engravings by Gustave Doré (1832-1883) and one etching by G. Cruikshank.  Copy 2 uses that Cruikshank print as a frontispiece, described here:

Verse:
“Or on the sundial’s polished face
Round and round the circle trace,
Now to the gnoman’s point they climb
Mocking the Moon’s mistaken time”

Unidentified pickpocket

Detail

This pen and ink and watercolor drawing by George Cruikshank (1792-1878) in the Graphic Arts Collection has been mislabeled for a number of years. In trying to attribute it to the correction book or print a number of other pickpocket scenes were consulted, along with Rictor Norton’s text on Georgian raggamuffins and thieves. http://rictornorton.co.uk/gu11.htm

Richard Newton after Thomas Rowlandson, A Frenchman Plundered, 1792. Etching.

Isaac Robert Cruikshank, Dandy Pickpockets, Diving, December 2, 1818. Etching

Henry Heath, The Rule of Three, 1827. Etching.

Butler Clowes after John Collet, Female Bruisers, 1770. Mezzotint.

In 1820, Cruikshank was working out the plates for Pierce Egan’s Life in London, featuring the adventures of protagonists Tom, Jerry and Logic, three men about town. Although these figures are not as elegant as the published versions, it may be this watercolor was an early attempt to work out a scene never included in the final book. See more: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/tom-and-jerry-life-in-london

Pierce Egan (1772-1849), Life in London; or, The day and night scenes of Jerry Hawthorne, esq., and his elegant friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their rambles and sprees through the metropolis. By Pierce Egan … Embellished with thirty-six scenes from real life, designed and etched by I. R. & G. Cruikshank; and enriched also with numerous original designs on wood, by the same artists (London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1821). Graphic Arts Collection Cruik 1821

Do you have another theory?

 

 

 

 

Jesse Jackson Sr.

On the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 11/11 at 11:11 am, a multi-faith service for peace was held in the Princeton University chapel to mark the end of WW1, with a sermon by guest preacher, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Rev. Jackson is the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious, and political figures. Over the past fifty years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.

This was a reminder of the painting held in the Graphic Arts Collection of Jackson’s sermon thirty years ago at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.  Franklin McMahon (1921-2012), Reverend Jesse Jackson, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga. 1988. Graphite, charcoal, and acrylic paint on paper. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2015

As reported in the New York Times, “The Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Ebenezer Baptist Church to preach from the pulpit that once belonged to Martin Luther King Jr. and to cloak his Presidential campaign in the glory of the movement that Dr. King led. It was a rich mix of God, politics and history, of civil rights movement veterans, political leaders and average churchgoers, all crammed into the narrow wooden pews of Ebenezer Baptist, two days before the Super Tuesday primaries across the South. . . ”

 

“. . . Then Mr. Jackson took his place at the simple white pulpit. He noted that it was the 23d anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday,’ when civil rights demonstrators were beaten on a bridge in Selma, Ala., as they tried to march for the right to vote. He then paid tribute to John Lewis, now an Atlanta Congressman, who had led that march and been savagely beaten and on this Sunday morning was in a front pew. Mr. Jackson went on to present Super Tuesday as the outgrowth of the bloodletting on that Selma bridge. ‘Tuesday, 23 years later, we can transform the crucifixion,’ he said. ‘And on Tuesday roll the stone away, and on Wednesday morning have a resurrection: new hope, new life, new possibilities, new South, new America.’

‘I’m proud of the the New South,’ Mr. Jackson said. ‘No more governors standing in the school house door, no more dogs biting children.’ But, he continued, ‘It’s not enough to have kind governors and tame dogs. It’s not enough.’ He argued that ‘the fight for economic justice’ was the principle challenge before the South and the nation. It was a fight for the economic rights of garbagemen, Mr. Jackson noted, that drew Dr. King to Memphis, where he was assassinated in 1968. When Mr. Jackson had finished, the congregation sang him on his way with ‘I’m on the Battlefield for My Lord.’ And Mr. Roberts adlibbed, ‘And I promise not to serve him just ’till Super Tuesday but until I die.’”–Robin Toner, “Hosannas to God and Votes for Jackson,” Special to the New York Times, March 7, 1988.

 

Following yesterday’s service at Princeton University, the 39th Annual Conference and Multifaith Service for Peace sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and co-sponsored by 31 religious and civic groups in the region (see www.peacecoalition.org) with Rev. Jackson and Ambassador Wendy Sherman.

Sherman led the U.S. negotiating team and was a central player in reaching a successful conclusion of the Iran nuclear agreement. In recognition of her diplomatic accomplishments, she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Barack Obama. Amb. Sherman’s latest book Not for the Faint of Heart, is on order. Here is a preview.

 

“I have a great weakness for these little sheets of paper” -Rodin

(grainy image due to low light during hanging)

It is a great privilege to have work from the Graphic Arts Collection included in an exhibition at the Musée Rodin in Paris. Opening November 6, 2018, and running through February 24, 2019, the show entitled Rodin, Dessiner, Découper, includes nearly 250 drawings by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), of which 90 are his rare and often surprising cut and assembled figures, 6 loaned by Princeton University’s Graphic Arts Collection. “Jouant de la mise en espace de ces corps,” writes curator Sophie Biass-Fabiani, “ce procédé révèle des silhouettes découpées audacieuses et un dynamisme d’une grande modernité. Cette exposition annonce un des modes d’expression novateurs du XXe siècle.”

http://musee-rodin.fr/fr/exposition/rodin-dessiner-decouper

The museum’s site goes on to quote Rodin, who said,

“‘I have a great weakness for these little sheets of paper.’ This is how Rodin showed his attachment to his drawn work. From his beginnings, Rodin realized–independently of his sculptures–drawings that he executed according to the living model. He presents his drawings in all exhibitions devoted to him, first in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague in 1899, then Paris in 1900, Prague in 1902 or Düsseldorf in 1904. The museum retains most of this drawn work, about 7500 leaves.

An unprecedented mode of operation: drawing, cutting. Rodin submits his drawings made from a first throw to various metamorphoses. He decodes his drawings, identifies the line that suits him, sets the color using watercolor, cuts out his figures, puts them back, assembles them to other figures and gradually builds an unexpected device. In his early years, Rodin cut drawings and sketches that he pasted into albums. Between 1900 and 1910, he cut a hundred drawings of watercolor nudes which are the heart of this exhibition. By cutting them out, Rodin likes to manipulate them, to situate them in space in multiple ways, to cut them off voluntarily.”

(c) Musée Rodin

More information on how Rodin’s work made it to Princeton can be found here: https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2018/03/10/auguste-rodin-cutouts/. Hanging and lighting will be completed this week and their beautiful exhibition catalogue with full color images will be available at Princeton next Monday.

“He plays with the small figures of paper which are the equivalent of his plaster figures. By relating these carvings to the three-dimensional character of the sculpture, the carved figures appear as a new “object” between the two-dimensional design and the sculpture. In another series, Rodin executes from his cut-out figures real assemblages that he fixes himself on a new support, interweaving the bodies in a new composition. Drawn and cut, these drawings are not mere technical accessories: they have conquered their status as full-fledged works. The dynamism of the silhouettes announces the modernity of Matisse.” –Sophie Biass-Fabiani, curator

http://www.musee-rodin.fr/fr/visiter/informations-pratiques-paris