The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Erin Blake

A Trip to the Fair

Every November, the International Fine Print Dealers’ Association (IFPDA) holds a fair at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. Colloquially known as the New York Print Fair, almost 100 dealers from the US, Canada, and Europe bring a selection from their stock for visitors to inspect, admire, and possibly purchase. There’s no obligation to buy anything more than an admission ticket, so it’s a great opportunity for people to see museum-quality art without velvet ropes or protective glass, and to take pictures of anything they want (using a flash is an etiquette violation because it disturbs others, and I didn’t want to lug around a proper camera, so for the “Photo by Erin Blake” credit on these images, please read “No-flash photo by Erin Blake, taken in haste with her phone, and very definitely not a Folger photo by Julie Ainsworth“).… Continue Reading

A ghost for Halloween

I’d like to say that I cleverly scheduled the installation of Benjamin Wilson’s William Powell as Hamlet encountering the Ghost for last Friday so that the Founders’ Room would have a ghost in time for Halloween. Unfortunately, there were witnesses around when I finally noticed the coincidence, and this blog is open to comments, so I’ll just have to let that one go.… Continue Reading

Copperplate illustrations and the question of quality

While looking at early modern book illustration in the undergraduate seminar on Friday, we got to talking about the false assumption that copperplate illustrations always indicate better-quality publications, while woodcuts are inherently lowly. True, the raw material is more expensive: copper plates cost more than wood blocks. True, it’s possible to produce finer lines in copperplate illustrations than in woodcuts, allowing for more detail.… Continue Reading

Sue Doggett’s The Tempest, a unique artists’ book

Conventional wisdom sets up two distinct experiences of Shakespeare’s plays: readers encountering a text, and audiences encountering a performance. The Folger recently acquired a 1995 version of The Tempest by London book artist Sue Doggett that complicates the distinction. Readers of this one-of-a-kind book encounter Shakespeare’s text through Doggett’s artistry, where her choices of paper, lettering, imagery, texture, and color help interpret the selected scenes.… Continue Reading