Vivid Impressions. Illustration: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs - Processes and Examples.
Essai sur l'art de vérifier l'âge des miniatures peintes dans des manuscrits depuis le XIVe jusqu'au XVIIe siècle inclusivement, de comparer leurs différents styles et degrés de beauté et de déterminer une partie de la valeur des manuscrits qu'elles enrichissent.
Jean-Joseph Rive, 1730-1791. [Paris, 1782].
This book of 26 engraved, hand-colored plates is the first to contain colored reproductions of illuminated manuscripts. It was part of an elaborate prospectus for a work conceived, but never published, by l'abbé Rive, the knowledgeable (if cantankerous) librarian of the duc de La Vallière. Rive selected some of the finest medieval manuscripts from La Vallière’s spectacular library to demonstrate how painted miniatures could be dated, compared, and valued on the market. Although eighty subscription copies were planned, only 24 copies of the prospectus were produced.
Purchased in 2015 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
The Pictorial Album, or, Cabinet of Paintings, for the Year 1837.
George Baxter, 1804-1867. London: Chapman & Hall, Strand, .
George Baxter was one of the first English printers to develop a commercially successful method of color printing, using a succession of intaglio and relief plates to achieve image effects of remarkable depth and subtlety, qualities which were not equalled again until the heyday of chromolithography, almost half a century later. But Baxter’s process was complicated and time-consuming, and therefore unsuited for large print runs, or for the budgets of most nineteenth century readers; and it did not long survive his death in 1867. This collection of some of Baxter’s finest book-work was acquired as an example of an important, if ultimately futile, attempt to achieve one long-held dream of nineteenth-century publishing: fast, cheap, and accurate color illustrations.
Purchased in 2011 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds, supported by a gift from Brian Heidtke.
The Art Exemplar: A Guide to Distinguish One Species of Print from Another With Pictorial Examples and Written Descriptions of Every Known Style of Illustration ...
William John Stannard. [London: Stannard and Rae, 1859?]
When the Grolier Club was offered this extremely rare mid-nineteenth-century encyclopedia of illustration processes, it jumped at the opportunity to acquire a copy. Of the eleven copies produced (formerly thought to be ten), all but one is in an institutional library. Each copy includes over forty original prints from the author’s private collection, which illustrate his lengthy technical descriptions of various reproduction processes.
In spite of its research value, The Art Exemplar has been fairly inaccessible to scholars due to its scarcity. The Grolier Club thus committed to digitize it through a generous 2019 Digitization Funding Award from METRO (Metropolitan New York Library Council). The project was released in the fall of 2020.
Purchased in 2016 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
Walter Crane's New Toy Book, Containing Sixty-Four Pages of Pictures Designed by Walter Crane and Printed in Colours by Edmund Evans.
Walter Crane, 1845-1915. London; New York: George Routledge and Sons, [1874?].
Walter Crane (1845-1915) is one of the best-known illustrators of the nineteenth century, justly famous for his colorful series of Toy Books, rendered in chromoxylography by the innovative printer Edmund Evans. Crane’s illustrations for Three Little Pigs would merit a place in the Grolier Club’s teaching collection on color printing regardless, but in fact it is a souvenir of a much larger collection of several hundred children’s books, dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, all having to do with pigs, donated to the Club in 2011 by Grolier member Frances (Connie) Dulaney. The gift was made with the understanding that, aside from a few representative examples of printing and illustration techniques, such as the Walter Crane title, the collection would be sold to support Grolier Club Library acquisitions.
Gift of Frances (Connie) Dulaney, 2011.
Platinotype illustrations for "Troilus and Criseyde" from the Kelmscott Chaucer.
Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1833-1898, illustrator. ca. 1894-1895.
At some point in the two years leading up to the publication of the monumental Kelmscott Chaucer in 1896, Sir Emery Walker (1851-1933), chief engraver and managing partner at the Kelmscott Press, took photographs (platinotypes) of drawings done by Edward Burne-Jones for “Troilus and Criseyde.” Burne-Jones' delicate pencil sketches were notoriously difficult to translate into the robust medium of woodcut, and these platinotypes were a first step in the process of adapting Burne-Jones' work for the press. The photographs are accompanied by proofs engraved on wood by William Harcourt Hooper, and a facsimile copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer from the collection of Grolier Club member, Robert Raymo (1925-2009).
Purchased in 2015 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
Gouache sketch for “Queensboro Bridge” from New York: A Series of Wood Engravings in Colour and a Note on Colour Printing.
Rudolph Ruzicka, 1883-1978. (New York: Grolier Club, 1915).
One of the most beautiful books ever issued by the Grolier Club, Rudolph Ruzicka’s New York, published in 1915, is a hymn to the city in masterfully-produced color woodblock illustrations. The Club has long owned a number of the woodblocks used to print the ten full-color illustrations, but in 2014 six of Ruzicka’s original gouache drawings for the series came up at the Paris antiquarian book fair, and the Club moved quickly to purchase them. The drawings are documented in the Grolier Club archives as having been shown to the Committee on Publications as part of Ruzicka’s proposal for the New York book, after which they were apparently sent to Paris, where the illustrations were to be printed. But in the upheavals of World War I the drawings were lost, only to reappear a century later, to add brilliant and appealing detail to the publishing history of this remarkable book.
Purchased in 2014 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
With wood engravings by Eric Gill. 4 vols. Waltham Saint Lawrence, Berkshire: Golden Cockerel Press, 1929-1931.
Lavishly illustrated with erotic decorative borders on almost every page by Eric Gill, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, published in four volumes by the Golden Cockerel Press in 1929, is one of the most sought-after titles of the Golden Cockerel Press, and a significant addition to the Club’s collection of modern fine press books. It came to the Grolier Club in 2013 through the generosity of Peter Norton, programmer, software publisher, author, and philanthropist.
Gift of Peter Norton, 2013.
The Astronomy of Love: Poems by Kathleen Norris; Drawings by Ed Colker.
Haybarn Press. New York: Haybarn Press, 1994.
Artist, educator, writer, and longtime Grolier Club member Ed Colker (b. 1927) started the not-for-profit Haybarn Press in 1960 as a collaborative venture with contemporary poets. In each volume, Colker creates prints in his organic gestural style in response to the work of the author. This hand-colored offset lithograph captures the tension between absence and presence, interior and exterior, that is evoked in Kathleen Norris’s poem “The Room.”
In 2013, Ed generously donated a copy of every Haybarn Press imprint still in stock to the Grolier Club Library.
Gift of Ed Colker, 2013.
The Bicycle Diaries: One New Yorker's Journey Through 9-11.
Impressions Ten Years Later.
Gaylord Schanilec. [Stockholm, WI]: Midnight Paper Sales, 2011.
The Grolier Club first met color woodcut artist Gaylord Schanilec in the course of his work on the Club’s 2001 publication New York Revisited, and Richard Goodman’s Bicycle Diaries, on similar themes of New York post-9/11, seemed a perfect complement. The inclusion, in this special issue, of a suite of progressive proofs of the “Cooper Union” illustration, made it a particularly valuable addition to the Club’s collection of illustration processes.
Purchased in 2012 with Grolier Club Library Harper Funds, supported with a gift from Winston Tabb.