Pacho Velez, Princeton Arts Fellow

Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, George Bush all wave to the press corps. Film still from “The Reagan Show.”

This coming weekend offers two chances to see the new documentary The Reagan Show by Pacho Velez, 2015-17 Princeton Arts Fellow and Sierra Pettengill at the Montclair Film Festival.

According to the festival site, Velez and Pettengil “mine the past for contemporary relevance and come up trumps in The Reagan Show, a film about a prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. It uses the Reagan administration’s internal documentation to capture the spectacle of American might at its acme, exploring the relationship between the media and those in power as they participate in the collaborative act of image making. Told entirely through a largely unseen trove of archival footage, the film captures the pageantry, pathos, and charisma that followed the original performer/president from Hollywood to the nation’s capital.”

Thanks to the success of the project at the Tribeca Film Festival “Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American theatrical and streaming rights to The Reagan Show, with CNN Films landing North American broadcast rights… The pic will hit theaters June 30, with a July 4 VOD bow to follow. CNN will air the docu after those windows.”

Pacho Velez works at the intersection of ethnography, contemporary art, and political documentary. His last film, Manakamana (co-directed with Stephanie Spray) won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. It played around the world, including at the Whitney Biennial and the Toronto International Film Festival. His earlier film and theater work have been presented at venues such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, and on Japanese National Television.

Pacho Velez – Princeton Arts Fellow from Lewis Center for the Arts on Vimeo.

Emerging from Darkness into Light

The Conversion of Galen. March 1, 1775 (reworked, reissued state). Published by Robert Sayer (1725–1794) and John Bennett (active 1760, died 1787). Hand-colored mezzotint pasted on glass plate. Graphic arts Collection, Glass.


A mezzotint on glass, entitled The Conversion of Galen, was recently transferred from the Cotsen Collection to the Graphic Arts Collection. Lettered below the image with the title are eight lines of verse in two columns:
Forbear, vain man, to launch with reason’s eye
Through the vast depths of dark immensity,
Nor think thy narrow but presumpt’ous mind
The least idea of thy God can find.

Thought, crowding thought, distracts the lab’ring brain,
For how can finite Infinite explain?
Then God adore, and conscious rest in this,
None but Himself can paint Him as He is.

Galen tho’ an Atheist, was a strict Observer of Nature, till by Accident finding a Skeleton, / he thought it of too curious a Construction to be the Production of Chance. // London, Printed for R. Sayer & I. Bennett No. 53, Fleet Street, // as the Act directs 1st March 1775.


“A mezzotint emerges from darkness into light,” writes Elizabeth Barker. She goes on to talk about the decorative use of prints by collectors or hobbyist in room decoration. “Such ‘furniture’ prints might be close-framed (to reveal only the image); mounted on stretchers, varnished, and framed (without glazing); or pasted directly onto the walls of domestic interiors and public spaces. Hobbyists transferred mezzotint designs onto pieces of glass (attaching them with a waterproof adhesive, then dissolving the paper so that only the ink remained on the glass), which they colored in oils or watercolors to resemble paintings. Some mezzotints, such as the (often crudely) humorous scenes known as “drolls” issued by leading publishers Robert Sayers and Carrington Bowles, were hand-painted and sold in garish colors.”– Elizabeth E. Barker, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003

Princeton University Library conservator Ted Stanley has also looked into mezzotints on glass in this paper:

Tiger Superstitions

“Heavily influenced by the 19th century naturalist illustrations of John Audubon, Ford composes dense allegories that simultaneously reference and re-imagine the field-guide aesthetic to blend natural histories, folklore, and political commentary that often offer scathing critiques of industrialism, colonialism, and humanity’s effect on the environment.”–Prospectus

Walton Ford, Infinite Histories. Tiger Superstitions, 1995 (95-335). Eight-color lithograph. Collaborating printer: Bill Lagattuta. Edition of 15. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2017- in process

We went to India not only to observe the changes that had occurred since my former visit, 23 years ago, at the conclusion of our Philippine War, but also to visit places of interest, see something of the military air and ground forms, visit some old friends and acquaintances, and then have a good tiger and big game hunt. –“Tiger-Hunting in India” By Brigadier General William Mitchell, Assistant Chief, U.S. Army Air Service in The National Geographic Magazine (F G1 .N385)

See the reference to:

A Yellow Pencil Award

Last fall, six postage stamps were issued by the Royal Mail in Great Britain to mark the centenary of Agatha Christie’s first crime novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. They also marked the 40th anniversary of her death.



Last week, the stamps were awarded a distinguished Yellow Pencil from the D&AD in a London ceremony.


The winning agency, Studio Sutherl&, were challenged to design a stamp equal to Christie’s mystery career and so art director Jim Sutherland and illustrator Neil Webb created stamps with hidden secrets in the form of microtext, UV ink, and thermochromic ink. Using a magnifying glass or UV light or body heat, these clues are revealed to help answer each book’s mystery.

The Special Stamps depict key scenes and principal characters from six iconic novels:
Murder on the Orient Express; The Mysterious Affair at Styles; The Body in the Library; And Then There Were None; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; and A Murder is Announced.

Studio Sutherl& was the most awarded design agency this year, winning eight Pencils overall, including two Yellow, one for its work creating limited edition Agatha Christie stamps for Royal Mail and another for its work with the book Somos Brasil.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976), Curtain & The mysterious affair at Styles (New York: Dodd, Mead, c1975). Firestone PR6005.H66 xC8 1975

Printers’ Marks on Eighth Avenue

The next time you are running to Penn Station on your way back to Princeton, look up.

On August 8, 1915, The New-York Tribune announced plans “To erect printing crafts building: Plans provide for a 21 story structure costing $2,500,000 site at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue much space already has been leased from the plans by big concerns as the proposed printing crafts building will look.”


One of the first to rent space and move into the building was Louis H. Orr (1857-1916), director of the Bartlet Orr Press and son of the wood engraver John William Orr (1815-1887). Louis Orr grew up surrounded by members of the printing trade. As the new building was being conceived and designed, Orr suggested including printers’ marks on the façade in honor of the many presses that had come before. His own firm’s design was, of course, included.

Around the same time, the Bartlet Orr Press published a brochure giving a little history of printers’ marks, which was collected by Elmer Adler when he opened his own press Pynson Printers. Happily, Adler’s copy made its way into the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University Library.



Horace Townsend (1859-1922), Printers marks: being a brief consideration of some marks used by printers in the XV century with special reference to a XX century mark (New York: Bartlett Orr Press, 1913). From the library of Elmer Adler (1884-1962). Graphic Arts Collection (GA) Oversize 2009-0109Q



The New Incas

Paul Yule, The New Incas; introduction by John Hemming (London: New Pyramid Press, 1983). Copy 18 of 40. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0047E

In reorganizing the elephant volumes today, this embossed leather binding caught our attention. The New Incas was published, printed, and bound in 1983 by Robert Hadrill at The New Pyramid Press, Waterside Workshops, 99 Rotherhithe Street, London. The photographs are by Paul Yule.




For other Hadrill bindings, see:

Some Trout: Poetry on Trout and Angling, with etchings by D.R. Wakefield (Wiveliscombe, Somersetshire: Chevington Press, [1987]). Publisher’s quarter forest green morocco and marbled paper boards, by Robert Hadrill. Copy 27 of 75. Rare Books: Kenneth H. Rockey Angling Collection (ExRockey) Oversize PN6110.A6 S65e

My Illustrated Alphabet (London: New Pyramid Press, 1986). Designed, printed, and bound by Robert Hadrill–t.p. verso. Copy 16 of 65. Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Folios / Picture Books 17215


Nathaniel Orr and Company

Orr Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

“If you would like,” wrote J. A. Adams, “I can give you constant work on these drawings for 18 or 20 months. I would rather you would come to this city, as it would be more convenient. Please let me know whether you can devote your whole time to them or how many you can do.” The offer was made in the summer of 1843 to Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908). Engraver Joseph Alexander Adams (103-1880) and in turn, the artist of the original designs John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889), were both exceedingly pleased with the young artist’s work and thanks to this offer, Orr moved to New York City to work full-time on an Harper and Brother’s Illustrated Bible.

In the 1850s, Orr established his own firm and needed a logo. Various drawings survive leading to several wood engravings used in advertising, stationery, and other N. Orr and Company information. Two of his engraved blocks are held in the Orr Family Papers, collected by his daughter and donated to the University of Florida.

Woodblock seen above, at an angle with raked light and below, straight on from the top.

A second version of Nathaniel Orr’s company logo can be seen below. If it looks familiar, it was the logo borrowed by Sinclair Hamilton, Class of 1906, and stamped on the cover of his book: Early American Book Illustrators and Wood Engravers 1670-1870 (with the inner text changed to present his own information). It would have been kinder if Hamilton had included an entry on Nathaniel Orr either in his first volume or the supplement.


The earliest version of this design was printed in 1843 [seen below], when Nathaniel Orr first moved from Albany to New York City.


A third design was created for the head of Orr’s stationery near the end of his career. After several tries, seen below, the final design was printed.

Orr Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Mezzotint copper plate for Orpheus and Eurydice

Copper plateEngraved by Frank Short (1857-1945) after a painting by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), [Mezzotint copper plate for] Orpheus and Eurydice, 1889. Engraved top right: London. Published Oct. 1st 1889 by Rob. Dunthorne at the Rembrandt Head in Vigo Street. W. Graphic Arts Collection GC148 Printing blocks and plates collection.

Paper printEngraved by Frank Short (1857-1945) after a painting by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), Orpheus and Eurydice, 1889. Mezzotint. Edition: 300, printed by Frederick Goulding (1842-1909) for Robert Dunthorne. Inscribed top right: London. Published Oct. 1st 1889 by Rob. Dunthorne at the Rembrandt Head in Vigo Street. W. Mezzotint. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2005.01549.


When we were asked if we had an example of mezzotint engraving in our copper plate collection, this was the first to emerge.

From 1880 forward, the London print dealer and publisher Robert Dunthorne (born ca. 1851) was the official publisher to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and manager of the Dunthorne Gallery on Vigo Street. By 1881, he changed the shop’s name to The Rembrandt Gallery, making sure to include this on each of the prints he published.

In 1889, Dunthorne commissioned a mezzotint of the painting Orpheus and Eurydice by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904), one of several Watts did on the story of these lovers. The difficult job of mezzotint engraving was given to Frank Short (1857-1945) and the plate of printed by Frederick Goulding (1842-1909). 300 sheets were printed and barely two years later, Short retired the plate, carving this phrase into the bottom right: I wrought thee. / Thou served me well. / Now rest thee. / Frank Short Sept. 1891.

Probably not long after this, Dunthorne presented the plate to “Princetown College” (the name was officially changed to Princeton University in 1896). No record of the gift is recorded in any of the college newspapers or yet found in library records.

A copy of the print has been added to the collection so plate and paper can be viewed side-by-side, not only as a beautiful work of art but also a wonderful teaching tool.

I wrought thee./ Thou served me well./ Now rest thee./ Frank Short Sept. 1891

London. Published Oct. 1st 1889 by Rob. Dunthorne at the Rembrandt Head in Vigo Street. W

Printed by Frederick Goulding


Orpheus and Eurydice from the painting by G.F. Watts, R.A.
Copper plate lit from above with less contrast.

Liebig Company’s Trade Cards

Times of the day


If you have been to the south bank arts complex in London and seen the tower labeled OXO, you were enjoying the Art Deco design of architect Albert Moore, who reconstructed the complex in the late 1920s for the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, manufacturers of Oxo beef stock cubes.

The company was founded and named for the chemist Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) who developed a beef extract in 1847, which was consumed in great quantities throughout Europe.

Almost as popular as Liebig’s extract were the chromolithographic trade cards he produced and distributed. From 1872 into the 1970s, the company printed cards featuring every imaginable profession and genre. Collectors number the cards at 11,000 distributed in 14 countries and languages.

Princeton has a small group, not all complete sets but in beautiful condition. Here are a few examples.

From the Life of a famous painter
Painters and sculptors

Justus von Liebig, Introduction à l’étude de la chimie (Paris: L. Mathias, 1837). Recap 8306.584.1837

Carlo Paoloni, Justus von Liebig; eine Bibliographie sämtlicher Verőffentlichungen mit biographischen Anmerkunge (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1968) Z8504.52.P365 1968

Justus von Liebig, Experimental Chemie ([Darmstadt?], 1848). QD43.B75 1848

Justus von Liebig, Liebig’s Complete Works on Chemistry (Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson, 1852). QD28.L54 1852

Free Non-Linear Literature

Over the last year, Google Creative Labs and the London publisher Visual Editions have been releasing visual books for your phone under the imprint Editions At Play. Two new titles are being offered today, for free and for your participation.

“Today we’re excited to release two new books which, we hope, will continue to inspire fresh conventions around how we think of books and ‘bookness’, and how authors can work with developers and designers to create new formats of non-linear, dynamic literature”:

A Universe Explodes, by Google’s own Tea Uglow, is “on one level the story of a parent losing their grip on reality. The book is accessible to all, but owned by only a few, and when one owner is ‘finished’ with their version, they dedicate it to a new owner, triggering a change of ownership which is recorded to the Blockchain–a permanent, public database accessible to everyone. There are 100 ‘versions’ of A Universe Explodes, which each start the same. The first 100 owners receive a personal dedication from Tea, and are then invited to edit the book themselves by removing two words and adding one. They in turn dedicate their version to someone else, creating a ‘daisy book chain’ which gradually gets shorter until there is only one word per page in the book.”

The second title is Seed, by British author Joanna Walsh, is the story of a young woman coming of age in the 1980s, digitally growing and decaying around an unmentionable event that every reading will see differently.