Category Archives: prints and drawings

prints and drawings

Whilst Time is unveiling, Science is exploring Nature

Museum late Sir Ashton Lever’s Albion Place the Surry side of Black Fryers Bridge. Admission ticket engraved by William Skelton (1762-1848) after a design by Charles Reuben Ryley (1752?-1798) [London], ca. 1788. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

In William Hone’s 1838 The Every-day Book and Table Book; Or, Everlasting Calendar of Popular Amusements, Sports, Pastimes, Ceremonies, Etc, this ticket for the Leverian Museum is illustrated and the following explanation given:

“It seems appropriate and desirable to give the above representation of Mr. Parkinson’s ticket, for there are few who retain the original. Besides—the design is good, and as an engraving it is an ornament. And—as a memorial of the method adopted by sir Ashton Lever to obtain attention to the means by which he hoped to reimburse himself for his prodigious outlay, and also to enable the public to view the grand prize which the adventure of a guinea might gain, one of his advertisements is annexed from a newspaper of January 28, 1785.

J. R. Ashton Lever’s Lottery Tickets are now on sale at Leicester house, every day (Sundays excepted) from Nine in the morning till Six in the evening, at One Guinea each; and as each ticket will admit four persons, either together or separately, to view the Museum, no one will hereafter be admitted but by the Lottery Tickets, excepting those who have already annual admission. This collection is allowed to be infinitely superior to any of the kind in Europe. The very large sum expended in making it, is the cause of its being thus to be disposed of, and not from the deficiency of the daily receipts (as is generally imagined) which have annually increased, the average amount for the last three years being 1833l. per annum.

The hours of admission are from Eleven till Four. Good fires in all the galleries.

The first notice of the Leverian Museum is in the “Gentleman’s Magazine” for May, 1773, by a person who had seen it at Alkerington, near Manchester, when it was first formed. Though many specimens of natural history are mentioned, the collection had evidently not attained its maturity. It appears at that time to have amounted to no more than “upwards of one thousand three hundred glass cases, containing curious subjects, placed in three rooms, besides four sides of rooms shelved from top to bottom, with glass doors before them.” The works of art particularized by the writer in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” are “a head of his present majesty, cut in cannil coal, said to be a striking likeness; indeed the workmanship is inimitable—also a drawing in Indian ink of a head of a late duke of Bridgewater…”

The winner of the 1786 lottery was estate agent James Parkinson (1730-1813), who moved the collection to the “Rotunda” near Blackfriars Bridge. Our ticket dates from this time, notably the Blackfriar’s address appears in the title.

Below the image is the text: Whilst Time is unveiling, Science is exploring Nature.

Read more: J. C. H. King, “New Evidence for the Contents of the Leverian Museum,” Journal of the History of Collections, 8, no. 2 (1996): 167–86.

Adrienne Lois Kaeppler, Holophusicon–the Leverian Museum : an eighteenth-century English institution of science, curiosity, and art (Altenstadt, Germany: ZKF Publishers; Honolulu, HI: Distributed in the United States by Bishop Museum Press, 2011). Marquand Library Oversize AM101.L67 K34 2011q

José Vasconcelos: not a man to inspire indifference

The UNESCO: International Bureau of Education noted that “José Vasconcelos is, without doubt, one of the most controversial figures in the social and political history of Mexico. Although he spent a good part of his life in either voluntary or compulsory exile, the impact of his original personality goes beyond his own lifetime, while his vast educative, literary, political and philosophical work is still widely studied and discussed today. He was not a man to inspire indifference, and has therefore been described in all manner of highly contradictory terms. His life covers a large period of Mexican history, from Porfirio’s dictatorship, through the revolutionary movement of 1910, and up to the establishment and consolidation of civilian regimes.”

Author, philosopher, politician José Vasconcelos (1881-1959) served twice as Minister of Education and also held the position of Rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He exerted a profound influence on Mexican culture by promoting education for the lower classes and encouraging popular exposure to literature. One of the ways he accomplished this was through several magazines that reprinted European authors, including El Maestro.

In her paper, “Dreaming of a cosmic race: José Vasconcelos and the politics of race in Mexico, 1920s–1930s”, Cogent Arts & Humanities 3, 2016, Linnete Manrique writes:

“Vasconcelos introduces the first volume [of El Maestro] by stating that the purpose of the magazine is “to disseminate practical knowledge among the country’s population.” He notes that the magazine will be distributed gratis precisely because it is meant for the general public. However, it is clear that his five-page introduction addresses one particular group of people and not all, that of intellectuals.

Vasconcelos critiques his colleagues for their lack of action and indifference toward the masses, and rallies them to become involved in his educational crusade. In his characteristic grandiose speech, Vasconcelos declares, “[the masses] will become a ruinous burden if we abandon them, if we maintain them ignorant and poor; but if we educate them and make them strong, their strength merged into ours will make us invincible.”

“From his point of view, the intellectual is the only one capable of leading the Mexican nation toward modernity and into the world stage. In a similar vein, Vasconcelos explains that the content of the magazine will not be what people want but what they need, with “the continuous purpose of elevating them.”

Authors presented in El Maestro include Romain Rolland, George Bernard Shaw, and Leo Tolstoy, which serve to highlight Vasconcelos’ aspiration that through European literature the Mexican people would become civilized [or so he believed].

El Maestro, Revista de Cultura Nacional. Tomo I: 1,2,3,4,5y6; Tomo II: 1,2,3,4y5,6; Tomo III: 1,2,3,4,5. México: Talleres Gráficos de la Nación, 1921-1923. Firestone Library 0906.608


Nobody’s Boy

Wood engraving by George Gorgas White (ca.1835-1898)

Frank Drayton, Nobody’s Boy (Philadelphia: Winner & Shuster, 1856). Graphic Arts Collection GC048 Sheet music collection

“Written expressly for and respectfully dedicated to James Lynch, Esq. of Sanford’s Opera Troupe…” Cover art designed by George Gorgas White (ca.1835-1898). Guitar. First line of text: The flow’rs of spring have pass’d away./ First line of refrain: The days are few since I was call’d.

Sinclair Hamilton thought highly of George G. White’s illustrations and attributed the design for this famous temperance book to White, engraved on wood by Van Ingen.

T.S. Arthur, Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1854). Graphic Arts Collection Sinclair Hamilton 1274

Still another interesting personality about this time and a man whose death only occurred last year, was George G. White, an all-around illustrator and an exceedingly prolific workman, who, never achieving great results. nevertheless played a prominent part in the illustrative history of his times. A Philadelphian by birth, White settled early in New York and was a contributor to most of the pictorial publications of the day. He illustrated many school books and was the author of a series of drawing-books, for many years in popular favour among school boards. He possessed a most remarkable and famous collection of clippings from the European illustrated papers, which were carefully filed away ready for instant reference, and he used them freely. The work of the late Sir John Gilbert attracted him greatly and that English draughtsman was his inspiration for a long time, and indeed, his influence was ever apparent through his work. White was not over-scrupulous in appropriating from his scrapbooks, and his ability to adapt the work of other and abler men to his own requirements was well known among his professional brothers and was a standing jest. Later in life, White did all sorts of hack work. the quality and character of which reflected on him but small credit. — Arthur Hoeber, The Bookman, Volume 8 (1899), page 218

Dore’s Folies Gauloises

Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Folies gauloises depuis les Romains jusqu’à nos jours : album de mœurs et de costumes (Paris: Au Bureau du Journal Amusant, [between 1852 and 1859]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

At the age of seventeen Dore composed a very amusing book, called “The Unpleasantnesses of a Pleasure Trip” (” Desagrements d’un voyage d’Agrement”), illustrated with twenty-four lithographs and one hundred and seventy-four drawings. This was brought out at Arnould de Vresse’s, and attained immense popularity….

His next little work was for the Journal Amusant called “Folies Gauloises depuis les Romains jusqu’a’ nos jours. Album des mceurs et des costumes.” This book was no less successful than the preceding ones. Dore worked so quickly that he amazed even his publishers. It sufficed to suggest a notion to him; he forthwith gave it artistic being upon the wood; and while Paris was devouring his latest production, another was already in process of preparation. He seemed possessed by a demon of work, and was the despair of all his contemporaries, who had only one hope, viz., that he would tire of such excessive labour. But they hoped in vain.

He worked for the pleasure of working, never for mere gain. His drawings were only fairly paid for at that time; indeed he produced them with such marvellous facility that he was oftener under-paid than not. Publishers readily saw how little effort production was to the gifted lad, and were not slow to make capital out of his very quickness. He absolutely flooded the market with his work. Perhaps this was unwise. “But one paramount idea beset him,” said M. Lacroix, “to be constantly at work and constantly before the public. When his sketches were not accepted and paid for, he often gave them away, in order to be able to say, ‘So-and-so is my publisher.’ For a time he literally depreciated the value of his own labour by the enormous prodigality of his pencil.”
–Blanche Roosevelt, The Life and Reminiscences of Gustave Doré (1885). Marquand Library ND553.D7 M2

A Fox Shimmy (Foxtrot)

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this illustrated sheet music for a Spanish foxtrot titled Ku-Klux-Klan fox-shimmy, with music by W. Keppler Lais (pseudonym for Patricio Muñoz Aceña, 1894-1940) and lyrics by Dowler-Sam (Madrid Unión Musical Española, 1923).

Published in Madrid, the two verses end with a similar but contradictory chorus:
Ku-Klux-Klan… a mi me das horror… Yo pensaba ir… mas ya no voy a Nueva-York.
Ku-Klux-Klan… Ya no me das horror… no pensaba it… Mas ya me voy a Nueva-York

Ku-Klux-Klan … you give me horror … I thought to go … but I’m not going to New York anymore.
Ku-Klux-Klan … You don’t give me horror anymore … I didn’t think about it … But I’m going to New York!

[poor translation] In the catacombs of New York City the white sect of terror have their lair. They have sworn to exterminate all Negros and the Ku-Klux-Klan is feared throughout Atlanta. They travel disguised with hoods and robes as Nazarenes in mysterious processions. And at midnight, in the shadows of the night, the Ku-Kux-Klan burns Negros at the stake.


Patricio Muñoz Aceña wrote a second foxtrot the same year:

See more: Danny O. Crew, Ku Klux Klan Sheet Music: An Illustrated Catalogue of Published Music, 1867-2002 (2015).

Hiroshima to Fukushima, the Road to Self-Destruction

[left] A kind visitor offered to show how big this book really is.


Sam Kerson, Hiroshima to Fukushima: the road to self-destruction, lino-cuts by Sam Kerson; concept and design by Sam and Katah; hand-pulled prints, book binding by Katah (Trois-Rivières, Québec: Produced by Dragon Dance Theatre at our print making workshop, 2018). 33 unnumbered leaves; 61 x 46 cm, on sheets 87 x 67 cm. Edition of 30. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process.



ARTIST STATEMENT –Looking more closely at the experience of the nuclear era is daunting, to say the least. The accidents don’t end, the fall-out from the bombs doesn’t go away. The waste from the plutonium factories, the nuclear reactors, is saved and isolated in concrete and stainless steel cylindrical casks. These specialized storage units might contain the radioactive waste for a few hundred years, while critics talk of the radiological hazard lasting for hundreds of thousands of years. The bomb continues to haunt us!

Technology often threatens, “improvement”, a “better” bomb, they say, a more “intelligent” bomb. These radioactive mountains of waste are our inheritance from a war drunk, old uncle who made a terrible mistake, which he called, “science”, decades ago. They have not been able to admit it to this day. Quite the contrary our scientist, and his scientific method have gone into full denial, a sort of extreme denial, which denies that which is obvious to anyone who dares to look. They deny the effect of the accident at Three Mile Island. They deny the mortal consequences of the disaster at Chernobyl. They deny the extreme fragility of this technology, even after the three reactors melted down at Fukushima. We must see for ourselves; see with our own eyes what is obvious and self-evident.

In this book we have selected a number of incidents which we believe will let the historian see that, we of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, were aware of the consequences of this technology. Our book might also support the protesters by recalling some of those protests that have been occurring since the invention of the bomb. We hope our book will be helpful to students of this end of the world technology and phenomenon. Our intention is to encourage resistance, even though it is late; the environment is compromised with dangerous radiation, our genes have been impacted, our offspring are mutating, therefore we must stop as soon as possible. Stop the bombing, testing and production. Shut off the nuclear reactors. –Sam Kerson, January, 2019


Propositiones metaphysicae

Vincenzo Pozzi, O.P. (praes.) [Vincenzo Palazzoli, O.P. (resp.)], Propositiones metaphysicae, quas ad mentem D. Thomae Aquinatis v. ecclesiae doctoris publico exponit certamini Fr. Vincentius Pallazzoli de Bergomo Ord. Praed. philosophiae auditor […] Disputabuntur in Templo S. Dominici Cremonar Anno 1762 mense Majo Die [blank] Hora [blank] Praeside Vincentio Pozzi de Brixia ejusdem ordinis philosophiae institutore. Cremonae, apud Petrum Ricchini [1762].Broadside, 71.7 x 79 cms. (63.5 x 64 cms. within engraved area). Graphic Arts Collection


Adding to the collection of European thesis prints, the Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this engraving advertising a metaphysics disputation undertaken by a Dominican monk, with another presiding. The engraving at the top is complete, while the text of the thesis has been removed leaving the bottom title information reattached to the top (slightly crooked).

The subject of the print, engraved by the relatively unknown Carlo Jos[eph] Cerutti, may be the heroic 4th century B.C.E. Roman General Marcus Furius Camillus receiving news that the Gauls have entered Rome (see Plutarch’s Lives, multiple editions, Firestone 2550.5971 v.2). How this relates to the three propositions to be argued is uncertain.

Some of the other thesis prints in our collections:

You might also enjoy reading more about thesis prints in Susanna Berger, The Art of Philosophy: Visual Thinking in Europe from the Late Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment (2017). Firestone BH39 .B47 2017



Havana and Venice

The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired two volumes from Leslie Gerry Editions. The contemporary artist works with 21st century technology informed by modern fine press traditions.

With a stylus on a Wacom tablet, I paint on the computer in Illustrator. Working only with flat areas of colour and no tone, I “cut out” the shapes with the stylus, arranging them on different layers, creating a collage. In fact, I first started working this way years ago by cutting out sheets of coloured paper with scissors, similar to the way Matisse created his paper collages. Starting by sketching a composition in blocks of colour as I would have done painting in oils and using the reference photos as guidance only, I gradually build up the painting with darker areas first and then lighter shades. The paintings end up as digital files; vector images which can be reduced or enlarged to any size and are then printed with a flat bed UV ink jet printer on a hand or mould-made paper.

Leslie Gerry, Havana, paintings by Leslie Gerry; extracts from Cuba by Irene A. Wright, 1912 (Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire: Leslie Gerry Editions, December 2016). Copy 39 of 70. Graphic Arts Collection GAX E-000092

Leslie Gerry, Venice reflections, paintings by Leslie Gerry; extracts from Venice by Jan Morris (Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire, UK : Published by Leslie Gerry Editions, The Eight Gabled House, 2019). Copy 15 of 120. Graphic Arts Collection E-000093


Graphic MoMA

[left] Book shelves as wallpaper.

A first look at the rehung MoMA revealed a surprising number of works on paper, lettrism, fluxus, artists’ books, visual poetry, and other graphic arts. Beginning with the major exhibitions such as Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, there are more than the usual number of letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs of text, in and among the oil on canvas.

“The Museum of Modern Art will open its expanded campus on October 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern and contemporary art.

The expansion, developed by MoMA with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, adds more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces and enables the Museum to exhibit significantly more art in new and interdisciplinary ways.

The Studio in the heart of the Museum will feature live programming and performances that react to, question, and challenge histories of modern art and the current cultural moment. …Street-level galleries, free and open to all on the expanded ground floor, will better connect the Museum to New York City and bring art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan.”

Here are a few examples:

Mirtha Dermisache, Augusto de Campos, et al. Visual poetry.


Dieter Roth (1930-1998), Literature Sausage, 1969. Artists’ proof.

Various artists, Fluxkit, 1965-66. Designed and assembled by George Maciunas.

Mira Schendel (1919-1988), untitled from Objetos graficos, 1967.




Finishing touches in the Frank O’Hara room

Wall corner note


Waldemar Cordeiro, et al., Manifesto Ruptura, 1952.


Lygia Pape (1927-2004), Livro da criação  (Book of Creation), 1958-1960.


The Black Factory Archive, 2004-

To theovadēston oros tou Sēna

To theovadēston oros tou Sēna ([Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1699). Hand colored woodcut, 30.2 x 34.5 cm sheet 34.6 x 45.2 cm. Gift of Theodore Theodorou to the Program in Hellenic Studies for the Princeton University Library, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Hellenic Studies at Princeton. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired two prints thanks to the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund for the gift. Thanks go to Kalliopi Balatsouka for the translation and description of these works on paper.

Inscription in Greek runs from left to right at the upper part of the print: “To theovadēston oros tou Sēna.” Below the main scene, in 6 columns, there is a numbered list (from 1 to 56) of the events taking place in the print. In the last column, inscription in capital letters states: “Cahtzē Kirgēakis / Vourliotis Sēnaitēs / eneti – 1699: minē Iouliou.” In the far right, next to the last column, there is another tiny column with the inscription: “Hiero/mo/nach/ou Dio/nē/si(ou) hē … .” At the right corner below the main scene, a four-line inscription in Slavonic (?) is enclosed by a roughly square frame: “Hierodiakon Nikodēm … .”

This paper icon depicts a bird’s-eye view of Mount Sinai, including 56 scenes. The main composition of the print represents the Saint Catherine Monastery, the dormition of Saint Catherine, and Moses receiving God’s Law on Mount Sinai, divided into two symmetrical parts. To the upper left, predominates a scene of the Old Testament where Moses, according to the Book of Exodus, ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Tables of Law. To the upper right, a scene of New Testament, shows winged angels transporting the relic of the Great Martyr Saint Catherine from Alexandria, Egypt, to the highest mountain, now called Mount Saint Catherine, next to Mount Sinai, while a dove who carries a ring in his beak flys away from the Mountain.

Also acquired, thanks to a gift of the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund is the print below:


[Patriarch Gennadius II Scholarius and Sultan Mehmed II]. Text in Modern Greek, French, and Armenian ([Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], between 1901-1929. Lithograph. Gift of the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

The subjects of this Greek/Ottoman lithograph are Gennadius II, Patriarch of Constantinople, approximately 1405-approximately 1472 and Mehmed II, Sultan of the Turks, 1432-1481. The scene takes place after the appointment of Gennadius as Patriarch of Constantinople and certain privileges granted to the ecumenical patriarch by Mehmed II, the Conqueror, about the Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople in 1453.

Title is written in Turkish above the main scene of the lithograph as well as in Greek and French below, in two columns, with a laurel wreath in between bearing an inscription in Armenian. The Greek title to the left reads as follows: “Ho Soultanos Mōameth B’ ho porthētēs episemōs aponemei tō / Oikoumenikō Patriarchē Gennadiō tō Scholariō ta pro- / nomia tēs ekklēsias en etei 1453 (Antigraphon ex archaias eikonos)” and the French title: “Sultan Mohamed II vainqueur, de Constantinople offre / officiellement au patriarche œcuménique Yénnadios / scholarios les concessions ecclessiastiques. Année 1453.” “Euriskontai en tō typographeiō Lagopoulou Zoump[…] Chan ar. 6 (?).”