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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Illustration Processes

Copper Engraving & Etching

5.01 Bosse.jpg

Bosse, Abraham.

Traicté des manières de graver en taille douce sur l’airin par le moyen des eaux fortes, & des vernix durs & mols. — Paris: Abraham Bosse, 1645.

The first work devoted entirely to the techniques of copper engraving and etching. Abraham Bosse (1602–1676) was a French engraver and painter, noted for his illustrations of French civil life and costume during the reign of Louis XIII. The plates in this volume depict the various tools needed in engraving, as well as how to use and care for them. 

Gift of Samuel Putnam Avery, 1890.


5.03 Evelyn Prince Rupert.jpg

Evelyn, John.

Sculptura, or, The history and art of chalcography and engraving in copper. — Lon-don: Printed for J. Payne, 1755.

Originally published in 1662, the Sculptura of John Evelyn (1620–1706) includes the first published instructions on producing mezzotints, a method of engraving in which the surface of a copper plate is first roughened, and then selectively smoothed, producing velvety tonal gradations in the resulting illustration. Prince Rupert, a prominent Royalist and early member of the Royal Society, encountered the mezzotint technique while exiled in Holland, and perfected it. Among the illustrations in the original 1662 edition of Evelyn’s Sculptura is this famous plate by Prince Rupert known as the Little Executioner, a detail from one of the first true mezzotint prints ever created.

Purchased in 2001 through the generosity of Leonard J. Hansen.


5.04 Senefelder.jpg

Senefelder, Alois.

A complete course of lithography. — London: Printed for R. Ackermann, 1819.

Developed in 1796 in Germany by Alois Senefelder (1771–1834), lithography involves the printing of an image from areas of greasy ink on a dampened stone surface, exploiting the antipathy of oil and water. After a period of experimentation, Senefelder published his landmark Vollständiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerey in 1818. This English translation followed a year later.  


Illustration Processes