Category Archives: Museum object collection

The new normal

We continue to teach live using the original material in the graphic arts collection to reach our students who are not on campus. Today was the practice run for Professor Linda Colley’s Junior Seminar in History, in which we will compare George III with George Washington while demonstrating the many mediums and formats through which you can learn. Here is a pochoir print reproducing the oil painting by Charles Willson Peale of George Washington at the Battle of Princeton together with a mezzotint after Thomas Gainsborough’s George the Third, King of Great Britain.

 

 

One of the many complications is adjusting the equipment to accommodate the very large as well as the very small, while continuing to talk about specific details.

Some material like the John Trumbull’s 1786 sketch of the Death of General Mercer [Sketch for The Battle of Princeton] is already digitized online: https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/10660639. But others, like the watch in an open face case worn by Col. Thomas Turbott during the Battle of Princeton, is not.

 

 

Besides it is more fun to see and talk about the material live, than to hand out digital addresses. Such as Baricou Montbrun’s L’Apotre de la liberte immortalize (The Apostle of Freedom Immortalized or The Apotheosis of Benjamin Franklin), [Paris: Montbrun, ca. 1790], a stipple engraving in which Franklin is being assumed into heaven as the world mourns his loss.

Or Wha wants me, 1792, in which Thomas Paine holds a scroll of the “rights of man” surrounded by injustices and standing on labels.

Thanks to the many, many people who have helped set this up and continue to make these classes possible.

 

 

The Books and Prints of Anaïs Nin and her Gemor Press

Please join us at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25, 2020, for the fifth in our series of live webinars highlighting material in the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University Library. Recently we acquired most of the rare letterpress editions printed by Anaïs Nin (French-Cuban, 1903-1977). Best known for her diaries, Nin also wrote fiction with themes of history, feminism and multiculturalism. Together with Gonzalo More, one of her many lovers, Nin ran a private printing press in Greenwich Village where she taught herself to set type, stood for hours pumping a treadle press, and distributed her books with the help of Frances Steloff at Gotham Book Mart. Many were illustrated with original etchings by her husband, Hugh Parker Guiler, a banker who used the pseudonym Ian Hugo so his colleagues would not discover he was also an artist.

They called the imprint Gemor Press (pronounced G. More) after Gonzalo, although it was Anaïs who raised the money and did most of the physical work. Located first on MacDougal Street and later at 17 East 13th Street where the small building she rented still stands. After a close look at the books and prints, we are fortunate to be joined by Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who will update us on their efforts to landmark this building, as well as other Village homes and studios of writers we all know and love.

This session is free and open to all. To register: click here

Here is the complete series of past and future webinars highlighting material in Princeton’s Graphic Arts Collection

New Theories on the Oldest American Woodcut. May 22, 2020
To celebrate the 350th anniversary of the oldest surviving print from Colonial America, we assembled all five extent copies of the portrait of the Reverend Richard Mather (1596-1669) by or after John Foster. Julie Mellby was joined by Caroline Duroselle-Melish, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints and Associate Librarian for Collection Care and Development, Folger Shakespeare Library.

Thomas Eakins and the Making of Walt Whitman’s Death Mask. June 26, 2020
This program was chosen specifically for June, LGBTQ pride month and this year, the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride march. Both Walt Whitman and Thomas Eakins, in their own way, broke down barriers around sex, sexuality, and the celebration of the human body. Presented by Julie Mellby, Graphic Arts Curator, and Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum.

Afrofuturism: The Graphics of Octavia E. Butler. July 31, 2020
This month focused on the speculative fiction, also called Afrofuturism, of author Octavia E. Butler. Julie Mellby was joined by Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the award winning team who produced the graphic novel adaptations of Parable of the Sower and Kindred.

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage. August 26, 2020
The fourth in our series celebrated the centenary of the 19th amendment on Women’s Equality Day. Julie Mellby was joined by Lauren Santangelo, author of Suffrage and the City and lecturer in Princeton University’s Writing Program, along with Sara Howard, Librarian for Gender & Sexuality Studies and Student Engagement within Scholarly Collections and Research Services at Princeton University Library.

The Books and Prints of Anaïs Nin and her Gemor Press. September 25, 2020
For the fifth in our series we highlight the recently acquired letterpress editions printed by Anaïs Nin (French-Cuban, 1903-1977). Together with Gonzalo More, Nin ran a private printing press in Greenwich Village where she printed and published fine press books, distributed with the help of Frances Steloff at Gotham Book Mart. Julie Mellby will be joined by Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who will talk about efforts to landmark the Gemor Press building and other Village homes and studios of writers we all know and love.

 

Arthur and Albert Brisbane

Thanks to a gift in the 1970s from Sarah Brisbane Mellen (1913-1977), daughter of Arthur Brisbane, granddaughter of Albert Brisbane, also known as Mrs. Chase Mellen, the death mask collection acquired three examples in three very different formats. The first was made in 1890, at the death of Albert Brisbane (1809-1890), whose head was only partially cast in plaster, either in Richmond where he died or in Buffalo, where he was buried. A second mask was made of his son, Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) and used to sculpt a full standing bust of Arthur’s head. A third wax cast of Arthur’s face was moulded either directly or from the plaster cast.

Arthur Brisbane’s bust is signed in the plaster by Herman Walthausen (188-1962), as mentioned in his New York Times obituary:

“Herman Walthausen … a molder and an assistant to sculptors, died today in a nursing home here [White Plains]. …Mr. Walthausen, a pupil of the late Augustus St. Gaudens, had worked with such sculptors as the late Adolph Weinman, Charles Keck, Daniel Chester French and Jacques Lipchitz. Projects on which he had worked included the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the Confederate Memorial Monument at Stone Mountian, GA., and death masks of former Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York, Arthur Brisbane, the editor, and Sir Jacob Epstein, the sculptor. –New York Times, September 23, 1962.

 

A brief biography of Albert and Arthur was posted by Syracuse University Special Collections, which I quote here:

Albert Brisbane (1809-1890), social reformer, was born in Batavia, N. Y., the son of James and Mary (Stevens) Brisbane. He was sent to a boarding-school on Long Island, and then studied in New York City under private tutors. He traveled to Europe, where he was influenced by the ideas of Charles Fourier, the French utopian socialist. Poor health on his return to the United States in 1834 dampened his Fourierism campaign, but in 1840 he published Social Destiny of Man: or, Association and Reorganization of Industry. After striking up a friendship with Horace Greely, he began writing for the Tribune. His “hasty propaganda” gave birth to numerous experiments in Associationism, as he called his theories, the general failure of which caused a waning of interest in the whole movement. In 1876, he published General Introduction to Social Sciences containing the essence of Fourier’s social theory and a translation of his History of Universal Unity. Brisbane was a highly educated man with a vigorous mind, but he failed as a social reformer because he lacked an ability to lead, as well as a realization of the practical difficulties in the way of a universal panacea for evil. He wrote with comparative ease as well as fervor, but only as object lessons in social reform have his writings survived the movement of which they were a part. [adapted from American Authors 1600-1900, (1938)]

With his first wife, Sarah White, Albert had three children, one of whom, Arthur (1864-1937), would go on to become a successful writer and newspaper editor. After completing his education in the United States and Europe, Arthur Brisbane took his first newspaper job as a reporter with the New York Sun. He went on to hold jobs as an editor at the Sun, the New York World, and the New York Evening Journal. He remained editor of the Evening Journal until 1921 and continued to write for the paper as a columnist until his death. Brisbane was known for his punchy prose style and fondness for short, blaring headlines. By the time of his death he was the highest paid newspaper writer in the world ($260,000 a year). [ Adapted from World Authors 1900-1950, (1996)]

 

Death mask of Albert Brisbane (1809-1890), Partial plaster cast, 1890. Graphic Arts Death Mask Collection (Ex) 4875. Gift of Sarah Brisbane Mellen, 1913-1977

Death mask of Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936). Plaster bust on pedestal. 1936? Graphic Arts Death Mask Collection (Ex) 4876. Gift of Sarah Brisbane Mellen, 1913-1977.

Wax mould of Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936). Graphic Arts Death Mask Collection (Ex) 4877. Gift of Sarah Brisbane Mellen, 1913-1977.

Klan shocked to find Borglum is Catholic; Catholics shocked to find his angels are female

 

Not long after John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (1867-1941, famous for carving Mount Rushmore) finished sculpting dozens of gargoyles for Princeton University’s Class of 1879 Hall at the request of his friend Woodrow Wilson, Borglum was commissioned to sculpt a series of angels for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. As the project neared completion, Catholic officials were surprised to find many of his angels were female. This led to a heated public debate over the gender of angels, repeated in newspaper across the country.

Borglum was told to replace the female angels. An impassioned dialogue followed, ending with the artist smashing the molds for several of the figures.  “I felt like a murderer,” he confessed afterward, “but that was the only thing to do under the circumstances.” –“The Sex of Angels,” Current Opinion, Volume 39 (1905). Eventually Borglum sculpted new molds and then, publicly declared they were poorly cast and did not want his name connected with them.

 

 

 

The controversy led to enormous publicity, national fame for the sculptor, and in 1910, Woodrow Wilson presented Borglum with an honorary master’s degree for service to the University. His next major commission was to carve relief statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis on the Stone Mountain, hired by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Originally the frieze was to include an altar to the Ku Klux Klan but this plan was later dropped (See the Stone Mountain Sculpture and Memorial Hall as originally projected on the left).

In 1925, when a dispute arose between Borglum and the managing association. the sculptor once again smashed the models he had completed. He quickly moved on to begin the carving of the famous Mount Rushmore quartet.

For more, read: “The Sordid History of Mount Rushmore: The sculptor behind the American landmark had some unseemly ties to white supremacy groups” by Matthew Shaer in Smithsonian Magazine October 2016. Also recommended: Debra McKinney, “Stone Mountain: A Monumental Dilemma: Some see the monument as “the largest shrine to white supremacy in the history of the world.” Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2018. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2018/stone-mountain-monumental-dilemma

In 1924, the National Alumni Committee of Princeton donated $1,000 to support the project.

“In the early going,” writes John Taliaferro, “the Klan contributed money directly to the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association, a number of whose members were active Klansmen. While there seems to be no extant proof that Borglum officially joined the Klan himself—that he took the secret oath or donned a hooded robe—he nonetheless became deeply involved in Klan politics, as they related to Stone Mountain and on a national scale as well. He attended Klan rallies, served on Klan committees, and endeavored to play peacemaker in several Klan leadership disputes (with mixed results).

… The Kloran, the Klan’s book of rules, demanded that members be native born, white, male, and Gentile. And after World War I, the Klan’s Kreed became increasingly white supremacist, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-labor, anti-alien.” — John Taliaferro, Great White Fathers: The Story of the Obsessive Quest to Create Mount Rushmore (2007).

 

It is perhaps ironic that a scandal emerged within the Klan leadership when they found out Borglum was a Catholic.

 

 

Chauncey Bradley Ives’ Noah Webster

After Chauncey Bradley Ives (1810–1894), Bust of Noah Webster, ca.1840. Plaster cast. (ex) 4766. Gift of Mrs. Theodore L. Bailey.

During the 21st-century renovation of Firestone Library, a cast plaster bust of Noah Webster (1758-1843) was relocated from the library tower to the newly constructed special collection vaults. It came with a possible attribution to the 19th-century sculptor John Henri Isaac Browere (1792-1834).

We can now confidently re-attribute the bust to Chauncey Bradley Ives (1810-1894), an American sculptor who worked primarily in the Neo-classic style. Today he is remembered for his portraits of celebrated Americans, both full-length statues and busts, including Noah Webster completed in 1840. Our bust was donated to Princeton by (or in honor of) Mrs. Theodore L. Bailey (died 1961). Mr. and Mrs. Bailey also donated a bronze cast of Ives’ Webster bust to Yale University in 1964, where the University also owns a painted cast plaster version of the bust.


In 1964, a New York Times reporter attended an outdoor auction of the household possessions and furnishings of the late Mrs. Theodore L. Bailey (died 1961). The sale included pieces belonging to Noah Webster, of whom Mrs. Bailey was a direct descendant.–“Picnicking’s Half the Fun at Auction,” New York Times November 14, 1964. This may explain their interest in having Webster’s likeness at the universities.  Mr. Theodore Bailey, Jr. was a member of the Princeton Class of 1926 and he also presented a bronze bust of Webster to the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College.

Noah Webster, Jr. (1758-1843), a graduate of Yale, wrote the first American dictionary, entitled A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806) and followed it with An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828). Before the age thirty, Webster had already published a three volume study: A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, including a speller (1783), a grammar (1784), and a reader (1785). See more: https://www.merriam-webster.com/about-us/americas-first-dictionary

The former attribution was not a bad guess. In 1825, John Henri Isaac Browere (1792-1834) began using plaster life masks to create full three-dimensional busts of noted Americans, such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, De Witt Clinton, and Dolley Madison. It was his hope to establish a National Gallery of Notable Americans, but critics were divided on the merits of his technique, dubbing him a mechanic and calling his New York studio a “plaster factory.”

At his death, Browere’s collection of plasters was hidden from view until 1897, when McClure’s reporter Charles Henry Hart tracked them down and published “Unknown Life Masks of Great Americans…The Story of Their Production, Concealment from the Public, and Recent Recovery,” —McClure’s Magazine 9 1897. The Chicago Daily Tribune followed this with a front page article “Long Hidden Life Masks of Famous Americans” and the plaster busts were exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair. Later, most of the collection was donated to the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York (formerly the New York State Historical Association). Browere’s work in plaster was not unlike the bust of Webster.

See: Life Masks of Noted Americans of 1825 by John H. I. Browere (Cooperstown, N.Y., The New York State Historical Association [1951?]). Firestone Library NB1293.N49

Need a Project, no. 11? Paper theaters

 

Seven years ago a couple toy theaters were posted online, simply to let the pubic know the Graphic Arts Collection holds a small selection of paper and model theaters, along with sets, costumes, figures, and props. Several are particular stages, such as the Globe Theatre where William Shakespeare’s plays were performed. The rest are 19th century toy theaters produced by such manufacturers as Benjamin Pollock and Skelt & Webb.

Today we are trying to do better, in terms of scholarly research. Above are two examples, one from Princeton and one from a private collection. We have been trying to determine if they are from the same manufacturer, the same period, and/or the same location. Unfortunately, there are only a few reference sources on toy theaters available digitally at this time and we have not been able to identify either theater. Can you?

 

There seems to be agreement that they are both either German or Austrian. Without examining the actual object it is difficult to know if either are made in molded card rather than carved wood, which was cheaper to produce. We also can’t check the back or bottom as we would normally.

Perhaps members of the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild are checking online and recognize our two objects? https://www.britishpuppetguild.org.uk/  If you have information or a guess, please let us know at jmellby@princeton.edu

 

 


There is an interesting story online about the paper theater Goethe (1749-1832) gave his son August:

The toys of Goethe’s son August exemplify these two different species. On the one hand, we are told that August played with simple chestnuts which he threaded and hung from his neck, pretending that they were garlands of precious jewels and he a powerful Oriental monarch. On the other, August enjoyed setting up an elaborate toy theater with conventional cardboard figures representing Harlequin, Columbine, Doctor Faustus, and other characters. To these (and here is the act of subversion) August would add a live cat during his performances, “for the sake of realism.” –Artes de México No. 114, Juguete Tradicional II: Vida En Miniatura (Septiembre 2014), pp. 65-80 published by: Margarita de Orellana https://www.jstor.org/stable/24319076

If you are looking for an activity, the Victoria and Albert Museum has instructions in DIY paper theaters here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/m/make-your-own-toy-theatre/

Saint-Gaudens rejected


[Above] Louis Saint-Gaudens (1854-1913), previously attributed to Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), Study for World’s Columbian Exposition Commemorative Presentation Medal, reverse, no date. Inscripcast bronze with hand-painted corrections, presumably by Saint-Gaudens. American Numismatic Society Collection.
[Below] Louis Saint-Gaudens (1854-1913), previously attributed to Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), Study for World’s Columbian Exposition Commemorative Presentation Medal, reverse, 1892-1893. Cast plaster. 1974.63. Harvard Art Museum. Inscription, on recto: “The Columbian Exhibition in commemoration of the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Landing of Columbus *** to Williams Bradford. On shield: E Pluribus Unum. On verso: PHI”
In 1892, Augustus Saint-Gaudens accepted a commission to design the official award medal for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. The United States Senate Quadro-Centennial Committee loved the design for the obverse or front, with Columbus taking his first step on the shores of the New World. Unfortunately, the nude male figure Saint-Gaudens called “the Spirit of America” on the reverse was deemed improper and replaced with a design by Charles E. Barber, chief engraver at the United States Mint. The medal was finally awarded to recipients in 1896.

Saint-Gaudens’ brother Louis is thought to have modeled the nude figure, for which the Harvard Art Museums has an 8 inch plaster and the Numismatics Society has a double-sided bronze. Only a few copies of the rejected medal were cast by Parisian medal engraver Ernest Paulin Tasset as a favor to Saint-Gaudens, who gave one to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Princeton’s medal was paged to the reading room this week, to see if ours has a design by Saint-Gaudens or Barber. For better or worse, ours is the official medal, with only one side designed by Saint-Gaudens.

See more: Michael F. Moran, Striking Change (2008).
See more: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/14941


World’s Columbian Exposition Commemorative Presentation Medal 1892–94, cast by 1896. Princeton Numismatics Collection. Note: naked women were not rejected.

See also in Firestone Library: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), James McCosh (1811-1894), 1889. Bronze. PP35. Inscribed on front face of base: JAMES MCCOSH DD.LL D / BY / AUGUSTUS ST GAUDENS / WHEN THOU WALKEST THROUGH / THE FIRE THOU SHALT NOT BE / BURNED NEITHER SHALL THE / FLAME KINDLE UPON THEE

Oliver Cromwell


The Laurence Hutton Death Mask collection includes 3 copies of the Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) death mask from the original at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Note only one has a wart over the eyebrow. Hutton wrote about them in Portraits in Plaster, pp. 206-13, quoted here at length.

…Cromwell, according to the Commonwealth Mercury of November 23, 1658, was buried that day at the east end of the chapel of Henry VII., in Westminster Abbey. Dean Stanley accepted this as an established fact, notwithstanding the several reports, long current, that the body was thrown into the Thames, or laid in the field of Naseby, or carried to the vault of the Claypoles in the parish church of Northampton, or stolen during a heavy tempest in the night, or placed in the coffin of Charles I. at Windsor, Mr. Samuel Pepys being responsible for the last wild statement. After the Restoration this same Mr. Pepys saw the disinterred head of Cromwell in the interior of Westminster Hall, although all the other authorities agree in stating that, with the heads of Ireton and Bradshaw, it adorned the outer walls of that building. It may be stated, by the way, that a trustworthy friend of Mr. Pepys, and a fellow-diarist, one John Evelyn witnessed “the superb funeral of the Lord Protector.”

He was carried from Somerset House in a velvet bed-of-state to Westminster Abbey, according to this latter authority; and “it was the joyfullest funeral I ever saw, for there were none that cried but dogs, which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking tobacco in the streets as they went.” It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Evelyn, or to other eye-witnesses of the funeral, that this was a mock ceremonial, and that the actual body of the Protector was not in the hearse. Both Horace Smith and Cyrus Redding, early in the present century, saw what they fully believed to be the head of Cromwell. It was then in the possession of “a medical gentleman” in London. “The nostrils,” said Redding, “were filled with a substance like cotton. The brain had been extracted by dividing the scalp. The membranes within were perfect, but dried up, and looked like parchment. The decapitation had evidently been performed after death, as the state of the flesh over the vertebrae of the neck plainly showed.

A correspondent of the London Times, signing himself “Senex,” wrote to that journal, under date December 31, 1874, a full history of this head, in which he explained that at the end of five-and-twenty years it was blown down one stormy night, and picked up by a sentry, whose family sold it to one of the Cambridgeshire Russells, who were the nearest living descendants of the Cromwells. By them it was sold, and it was exhibited at several places in London. “Senex” gave the following account of the recognition of the head by Flaxman, the sculptor: “Well,” said Flaxman, I know a great deal about the configuration of the head of Oliver Cromwell. He had a low, broad forehead, large orbits to his eyes, a high septum to the nose, and high cheekbones; but there is one feature which will be with me a crucial test, and that is that instead of having the lower jawbone somewhat curved, it was particularly short and straight, but set out at an angle, which gave him a jowlish appearance. The head,” continued “Senex,” “exactly answered to the description, and Flaxman went away expressing himself as convinced and delighted.”

Another, and an earlier account, dated 1813, says that “the countenance has been compared by Mr. Flaxman, the statuary, with a plaster cast of Oliver’s face taken after his death [of which there are several in London], and he [Flaxman] declares the features are perfectly similar.” Whether or not the body of the real Cromwell was dug up at the Restoration, and whether his own head, or that of some other unfortunate, was exposed on a spike to the fury of the elements for a quarter of a century on Westminster Hall, are questions which, perhaps, will never be decided. The head which Flaxman saw, as it is to be found engraved in contemporary prints, is not the head the cast of which is now in my possession, although it bears a certain resemblance thereto. Mine is probably “the cast from the face taken [immediately] after his death,” of which, as we have seen, several copies were known to exist in Flaxman’s time. It is, at all events, very like to the Cromwell who has been handed down to posterity by the limners and the statuaries of his own court.

Thomas Carlyle was familiar with it, and believed in it, and he avowedly based upon it his famous picture of the Protector: “Big massive head, of somewhat leonine aspect; wart above the right eyebrow; nose of considerable blunt aquiline proportions; strict yet copious lips, full of all tremulous sensibility, and also, if need were, of all fierceness and rigor; deep, loving eyes, call them grave, call them stern, looking from under those shaggy brows as if in lifelong sorrow, and yet not thinking it sorrow, thinking it only labor and endeavor; on the whole, a right noble lion-face and hero-face; and to me it was royal enough.” The copy of the Cromwell mask in the Library of Harvard College is thus inscribed: “A cast from the original mask taken after death, once owned by Thomas Woolner, Sculptor. It was given by him to Thomas Carlyle, who gave it, in 1873, to Charles Eliot Norton, from whom Harvard College received it in 1881.”

A copy of this mask in plaster is in the office of the National Portrait Gallery, in Great George Street, Westminster; and a wax mask, resembling it strongly, although not identical with it, is to be seen in the British Museum. This latter, which is broken in several places, lacks the familiar wart above the right eyebrow. There is no record of either of these casts in either institution, and the authorities and experts of both have no knowledge as to how and when they found their way to their present resting-places.

Rev. Mark Xoble, in his House of Cromwell, however, said that the representative in London of Ferdinand II., of Tuscany, bribed an attendant of Cromwell to permit him to take in secret “a mask of the Protector in plaster of Paris, which was done only a few moments after his Highness’s dissolution.” “A cast from this mould,” he added, “is now in the Florentine Gallery. It is either of bronze, with a brassy hue, or stained to give it that appearance.” Elsewhere Mr. Noble said, writing in 1737, that “the baronial family of Russell are in possession of a wax mask of Oliver, which is supposed to have been taken off while he was living.” After a careful study of all the Florentine galleries in the winter of 1892-93, 1 failed to find this copy of the Cromwell mask or any record of its ever having existed there, although the Pitti Palace contains an original portrait of Cromwell from life by Sir Peter Lely, which was presented by the Protector to this same Grand Duke Ferdinand II.

see also: https://www.princeton.edu/~graphicarts/2008/10/life_and_death_masks.html

Cuir-ciselé from Berville


P. Berville. Wooden box containing leather working tools, 12 glass bottles with different colors and chemical substances, sealed and with illustrated original paper labels. 4 other glass bottles containing further colors with wooden screw top and with original illustrated paper labels. Brushes, paper and leather samples, four original watercolor designs for cuir-ciselé or diseño de cuero = Leather craft or leather design. Paris, ca. 1900. Dimensions: 420 x 350 x 105 mm.

Maison Berville was established around 1833 and managed by Jules Berville 1834-1869 at 29 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin; Léon Berville 1870-1895, 25 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, and P Berville, 25 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, 1896-1937.

Best known for their painting supplies, the highly esteemed Berville also sold scientific instruments and other technical devices (including camera lucida). This set includes all sorts of materials for working and coloring leather used in book bindings, clothing, and other decorative arts. Samples of paper and design seem to be added by the previous owner. Most of the pigment bottles are still half full of liquid.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired this box, as part of its collection of portable painting boxes, map printing boxes, writing boxes, and other color sample kits.

Lugt, Les Marques des Collections 3338: “Le choix de la palette par un marchand de fournitures pour artistes peut se comprendre et il nous paraît plausible que le même Berville ait vendu de temps à autre des oeuvres graphiques. Ce Berville ne fut alors pas un collectionneur au sens propre du terme, mais un marchand occasionnel qui aurait adopté pour cette activité la marque décrite ici”.

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Modelage & décoration du cuir preparation pour bourrer le cuir

 

Pigments and other products were manufactured by the Paris-based firm Bourgeois aîné (1867-1965).

 

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).