The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Tagged: woodcuts

Secret histories of books

This month’s crocodile mystery was a bit more challenging than recent ones (perhaps not helped by my cryptic “suitable for April” introduction), but Aaron Pratt guessed the gist of it: the image was a detail of a page printed in black, usually referred to as a mourning page. Here is the full context, with the bit we were looking at taken from the middle of the left-hand page: leaves A3v-A4r of Josua Sylvester’s Lachrymae Lacrymarum (click to enlarge in Luna)… Continue Reading

An important auction

broadside advertising a 1617 auction (click to enlarge in a new window/tab) Let it be known that amongst the furniture of the late Duke of Aerschot, there are about 2000 paintings in all kinds of colors by a variety of excellent masters, such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden, Jan Gossaert, Hieronymus Bosch, “Florus Daych,” “Longue Pierre,” Titian, Veronese, and others.Continue Reading

Capital News from the Low Countries

What from a distance may look like a pasture, perhaps with oddly shaped poppies or some other flowers on the foreground and two buildings in the background, is actually much less pleasant. (Click any image in this post to enlarge it; once it opens in a new window/tab, click again to zoom in for details.) title page woodcut (fol. A1r)… Continue Reading

Myth-busting early modern book illustration, part one

There’s a common core of misconceptions that many readers of this blog will be accustomed to dispelling thanks to their interest in Shakespeare and Early Modern Europe. “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” doesn’t mean “Where’d you go, Romeo?!” Historic window glass didn’t “flow” to become thicker at the bottom over time. The printing press didn’t destroy manuscript culture. But what about myths we propagate without knowing it?… Continue Reading

Woodcut, engraving, or what?

When a reader needs  to verify the printmaking technique behind an early modern book illustration, I’m always happy to grab my favorite 10x loupe and head up to the Reading Room to have a closer look. By popular request, here are some of the things I look for, and some books and websites that can help. Background: relief and intaglio Before the invention of lithography in the 1790s, two basic techniques for mechanically reproducing illustrations existed: relief printing and intaglio printing.… Continue Reading