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The Library by Andrew Lang

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Bible even before it had been translated from the Latin. I need
hardly, perhaps, observe that even fragments of a Psalter, a
Testament, or a Bible in English, are so precious as to be
practically invaluable.

3. We are indebted to Sir W. Tite for the following collation of a
Flemish "Book of Hours":-

1. The Calendar.

2. Gospels of the Nativity and the Resurrection.

3. Preliminary Prayers (inserted occasionally).

4. Horae--(Nocturns and Matins).

5. (Lauds).

6. (Prime).

7. (Tierce).

8. (Sexte).

9. (None).

10. (Vespers).

11. (Compline).

12. The seven penitential Psalms

13. The Litany.

14. Hours of the Cross.

15. Hours of the Holy Spirit.

16. Office of the Dead.

17. The Fifteen Joys of B. V. M.

18. The seven requests to our Lord.

19. Prayers and Suffrages to various Saints.

20. Several prayers, petitions, and devotions.

This is an unusually full example, but the calendar, the hours, the
seven psalms, and the litany, are in almost all the MSS. The buyer
must look carefully to see that no miniatures have been cut out; but
it is only by counting the leaves in their gatherings that he can
make sure. This is often impossible without breaking the binding.

The most valuable "Horae" are those written in England. Some are of
the English use (Sarum or York, or whatever it may happen to be),
but were written abroad, especially in Normandy, for the English
market. These are also valuable, even when imperfect. Look for the
page before the commencement of the Hours (No. 4 in the list above),
and at the end will be found a line in red,--"Incipit Horae secundum
usum Sarum," or otherwise, as the case may be.

4. Missals do not often occur, and are not only very valuable but
very difficult to collate, unless furnished with catch-words or
signatures. But no Missal is complete without the Canon of the
Mass, usually in the middle of the book, and if there are any
illuminations throughout the volume, there will be a full page
Crucifixion, facing the Canon. Missals of large size and
completeness contain--(1) a Calendar; (2) "the proper of the
Season;" (3) the ordinary and Canon of the Mass; (4) the Communal of
Saints; (5) the proper of Saints and special occasions; (6) the
lessons, epistles, and gospels; with (7) some hymns, "proses," and
canticles. This is Sir W. Tite's list; but, as he remarks, MS.
Missals seldom contain so much. The collector will look for the
Canon, which is invariable.

Breviaries run to an immense length, and are seldom illuminated. It
would be impossible to give them any kind of collation, and the same
may be said of many other kinds of old service-books, and of the
chronicles, poems, romances, and herbals, in which mediaeval
literature abounded, and which the collector must judge as best he

The name of "missal" is commonly and falsely given to all old
service-books by the booksellers, but the collector will easily
distinguish one when he sees it, from the notes I have given. In a
Sarum Missal, at Alnwick, there is a colophon quoted by my lamented
friend Dr. Rock in his "Textile Fabrics." It is appropriate both to
the labours of the old scribes and also to those of their modern

"Librum Scribendo--Jon Whas Monachus laborabat -
Et mane Surgendo--multum corpus macerabat."

It is one of the charms of manuscripts that they illustrate, in
their minute way, all the art, and even the social condition, of the
period in which they were produced. Apostles, saints, and prophets
wear the contemporary costume, and Jonah, when thrown to the hungry
whale, wears doublet and trunk hose. The ornaments illustrate the
architectural taste of the day. The backgrounds change from
diapered patterns to landscapes, as the modern way of looking at
nature penetrates the monasteries and reaches the scriptorium where
the illuminator sits and refreshes his eyes with the sight of the
slender trees and blue distant hills. Printed books have not such
resources. They can only show varieties of type, quaint
frontispieces, printers' devices, and fleurons at the heads of
chapters. These attractions, and even the engravings of a later
day, seem meagre enough compared with the allurements of
manuscripts. Yet printed books must almost always make the greater
part of a collection, and it may be well to give some rules as to
the features that distinguish the productions of the early press.
But no amount of "rules" is worth six months' practical experience
in bibliography. That experience the amateur, if he is wise, will
obtain in a public library, like the British Museum or the Bodleian.
Nowhere else is he likely to see much of the earliest of printed
books, which very seldom come into the market.

Those of the first German press are so rare that practically they
never reach the hands of the ordinary collector. Among them are the
famous Psalters printed by Fust and Schoffer, the earliest of which
is dated 1457; and the bible known as the Mazarine Bible. Two
copies of this last were in the Perkins sale. I well remember the
excitement on that occasion. The first copy put up was the best,
being printed upon vellum. The bidding commenced at 1000 pounds,
and very speedily rose to 2200 pounds, at which point there was a
long pause; it then rose in hundreds with very little delay to 3400
pounds, at which it was knocked down to a bookseller. The second
copy was on paper, and there were those present who said it was
better than the other, which had a suspicion attaching to it of
having been "restored" with a facsimile leaf. The first bid was
again 1000 pounds, which the buyer of the previous copy made
guineas, and the bidding speedily went up to 2660 pounds, at which
price the first bidder paused. A third bidder had stepped in at
1960 pounds, and now, amid breathless excitement, bid 10 pounds
more. This he had to do twice before the book was knocked down to
him at 2690 pounds.

A scene like this has really very little to do with book-collecting.
The beginner must labour hard to distinguish different kinds of
printing; he must be able to recognise at a glance even fragments
from the press of Caxton. His eye must be accustomed to all the
tricks of the trade and others, so that he may tell a facsimile in a
moment, or detect a forgery.

But now let us return to the distinctive marks of early printed
books. The first is, says M. Rouveyre, -

1. The absence of a separate title-page. It was not till 1476-1480
that the titles of books were printed on separate pages. The next
mark is -

2. The absence of capital letters at the beginnings of divisions.
For example, in an Aldine Iliad, the fifth book begins thus -

[Greek text]

It was intended that the open space, occupied by the small epsilon
([epsilon symbol]), should be filled up with a coloured and gilded
initial letter by the illuminator. Copies thus decorated are not
very common, but the Aldine "Homer" of Francis I., rescued by M.
Didot from a rubbish heap in an English cellar, had its due
illuminations. In the earliest books the guide to the illuminator,
the small printed letter, does not appear, and he often puts in the
wrong initial.

3. Irregularity and rudeness of type is a "note" of the primitive
printing press, which very early disappeared. Nothing in the
history of printing is so remarkable as the beauty of almost its
first efforts. Other notes are -

4. The absence of figures at the top of the pages, and of
signatures at the foot. The thickness and solidity of the paper,
the absence of the printer's name, of the date, and of the name of
the town where the press stood, and the abundance of crabbed
abbreviations, are all marks, more or less trustworthy, of the
antiquity of books. It must not be supposed that all books
published, let us say before 1500, are rare, or deserve the notice
of the collector. More than 18,000 works, it has been calculated,
left the press before the end of the fifteenth century. All of
these cannot possibly be of interest, and many of them that are
"rare," are rare precisely because they are uninteresting. They
have not been preserved because they were thought not worth
preserving. This is a great cause of rarity; but we must not
hastily conclude that because a book found no favour in its own age,
therefore it has no claim on our attention. A London bookseller
tells me that he bought the "remainder" of Keats's "Endymion" for
fourpence a copy! The first edition of "Endymion" is now rare and
valued. In trying to mend the binding of an old "Odyssey" lately, I
extracted from the vellum covers parts of two copies of a very
scarce and curious French dictionary of slang, "Le Jargon, ou
Langage de l'Argot Reforme." This treatise may have been valueless,
almost, when it appeared, but now it is serviceable to the
philologist, and to all who care to try to interpret the slang
ballades of the poet Villon. An old pamphlet, an old satire, may
hold the key to some historical problem, or throw light on the past
of manners and customs. Still, of the earliest printed books,
collectors prefer such rare and beautiful ones as the oldest printed
Bibles: German, English,--as Taverner's and the Bishop's,--or
Hebrew and Greek, or the first editions of the ancient classics,
which may contain the readings of MSS. now lost or destroyed.
Talking of early Bibles, let us admire the luck and prudence of a
certain Mr. Sandford. He always longed for the first Hebrew Bible,
but would offer no fancy price, being convinced that the book would
one day fall in his way. His foreboding was fulfilled, and he
picked up his treasure for ten shillings in a shop in the Strand.
The taste for incunabula, or very early printed books, slumbered in
the latter half of the sixteenth, and all the seventeenth century.
It revived with the third jubilee of printing in 1740, and since
then has refined itself, and only craves books very early, very
important, or works from the press of Caxton, the St. Albans
Schoolmaster, or other famous old artists. Enough has been said to
show the beginner, always enthusiastic, that all old books are not
precious. For further information, the "Biography and Typography of
William Caxton," by Mr. Blades (Trubner, London, 1877), may be
consulted with profit.

Following the categories into which M. Brunet classifies desirable
books in his invaluable manual, we now come to books printed on
vellum, and on peculiar papers. At the origin of printing, examples
of many books, probably presentation copies, were printed on vellum.
There is a vellum copy of the celebrated Florentine first edition of
Homer; but it is truly sad to think that the twin volumes, Iliad and
Odyssey, have been separated, and pine in distant libraries. Early
printed books on vellum often have beautifully illuminated capitals.
Dibdin mentions in "Bibliomania" (London, 1811), p. 90, that a M.
Van Praet was compiling a catalogue of works printed on vellum, and
had collected more than 2000 articles. When hard things are said
about Henry VIII., let us remember that this monarch had a few
copies of his book against Luther printed on vellum. The Duke of
Marlborough's library possessed twenty-five books on vellum, all
printed before 1496. The chapter-house at Padua has a "Catullus" of
1472 on vellum; let Mr. Robinson Ellis think wistfully of that
treasure. The notable Count M'Carthy of Toulouse had a wonderful
library of books in membranis, including a book much coveted for its
rarity, oddity, and the beauty of its illustrations, the
"Hypnerotomachia" of Poliphilus (Venice, 1499). Vellum was the
favourite "vanity" of Junot, Napoleon's general. For reasons
connected with its manufacture, and best not inquired into, the
Italian vellum enjoyed the greatest reputation for smooth and silky
whiteness. Dibdin calls "our modern books on vellum little short of
downright wretched." But the editor of this series could, I think,
show examples that would have made Dibdin change his opinion.

Many comparatively expensive papers, large in format, are used in
choice editions of books. Whatman papers, Dutch papers, Chinese
papers, and even papier verge, have all their admirers. The amateur
will soon learn to distinguish these materials. As to books printed
on coloured paper--green, blue, yellow, rhubarb-coloured, and the
like, they are an offence to the eyes and to the taste. Yet even
these have their admirers and collectors, and the great Aldus
himself occasionally used azure paper. Under the head of "large
paper," perhaps "uncut copies" should be mentioned. Most owners of
books have had the edges of the volumes gilded or marbled by the
binders. Thus part of the margin is lost, an offence to the eye of
the bibliomaniac, while copies untouched by the binder's shears are
rare, and therefore prized. The inconvenience of uncut copies is,
that one cannot easily turn over the leaves. But, in the present
state of the fashion, a really rare uncut Elzevir may be worth
hundreds of pounds, while a cropped example scarcely fetches as many
shillings. A set of Shakespeare's quartoes, uncut, would be worth
more than a respectable landed estate in Connemara. For these
reasons the amateur will do well to have new books of price bound
"uncut." It is always easy to have the leaves pared away; but not
even the fabled fountain at Argos, in which Hera yearly renewed her
maidenhood, could restore margins once clipped away. So much for
books which are chiefly precious for the quantity and quality of the
material on which they are printed. Even this rather foolish
weakness of the amateur would not be useless if it made our
publishers more careful to employ a sound clean hand-made paper,
instead of drugged trash, for their more valuable new productions.
Indeed, a taste for hand-made paper is coming in, and is part of the
revolt against the passion for everything machine-made, which ruined
art and handiwork in the years between 1840 and 1870.

The third of M. Brunet's categories of books of prose, includes
livres de luxe, and illustrated literature. Every Christmas brings
us livres de luxe in plenty, books which are no books, but have gilt
and magenta covers, and great staring illustrations. These are
regarded as drawing-room ornaments by people who never read. It is
scarcely necessary to warn the collector against these gaudy baits
of unregulated Christmas generosity. All ages have not produced
quite such garish livres de luxe as ours. But, on the whole, a book
brought out merely for the sake of display, is generally a book ill
"got up," and not worth reading. Moreover, it is generally a folio,
or quarto, so large that he who tries to read it must support it on
a kind of scaffolding. In the class of illustrated books two sorts
are at present most in demand. The ancient woodcuts and engravings,
often the work of artists like Holbein and Durer, can never lose
their interest. Among old illustrated books, the most famous, and
one of the rarest, is the "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili," "wherein all
human matters are proved to be no more than a dream." This is an
allegorical romance, published in 1499, for Francesco Colonna, by
Aldus Manucius. Poliam Frater Franciscus Columna peramavit.
"Brother Francesco Colonna dearly loved Polia," is the inscription
and device of this romance. Poor Francesco, of the order of
preachers, disguised in this strange work his passion for a lady of
uncertain name. Here is a translation of the passage in which the
lady describes the beginning of his affection. "I was standing, as
is the manner of women young and fair, at the window, or rather on
the balcony, of my palace. My yellow hair, the charm of maidens,
was floating round my shining shoulders. My locks were steeped in
unguents that made them glitter like threads of gold, and they were
slowly drying in the rays of the burning sun. A handmaid, happy in
her task, was drawing a comb through my tresses, and surely these of
Andromeda seemed not more lovely to Perseus, nor to Lucius the locks
of Photis. {6} On a sudden, Poliphilus beheld me, and could not
withdraw from me his glances of fire, and even in that moment a ray
of the sun of love was kindled in his heart."

The fragment is itself a picture from the world of the Renaissance.
We watch the blonde, learned lady, dreaming of Perseus, and Lucius,
Greek lovers of old time, while the sun gilds her yellow hair, and
the young monk, passing below, sees and loves, and "falls into the
deep waters of desire." The lover is no less learned than the lady,
and there is a great deal of amorous archaeology in his account of
his voyage to Cythera. As to the designs in wood, quaint in their
vigorous effort to be classical, they have been attributed to
Mantegna, to Bellini, and other artists. Jean Cousin is said to
have executed the imitations, in the Paris editions of 1546, 1556,
and 1561.

The "Hypnerotomachia" seems to deserve notice, because it is the
very type of the books that are dear to collectors, as distinct from
the books that, in any shape, are for ever valuable to the world. A
cheap Tauchnitz copy of the Iliad and Odyssey, or a Globe
Shakespeare, are, from the point of view of literature, worth a
wilderness of "Hypnerotomachiae." But a clean copy of the
"Hypnerotomachia," especially on VELLUM, is one of the jewels of
bibliography. It has all the right qualities; it is very rare, it
is very beautiful as a work of art, it is curious and even bizarre,
it is the record of a strange time, and a strange passion; it is a
relic, lastly, of its printer, the great and good Aldus Manutius.

Next to the old woodcuts and engravings, executed in times when
artists were versatile and did not disdain even to draw a book-plate
(as Durer did for Pirckheimer), the designs of the French "little
masters," are at present in most demand. The book illustrations of
the seventeenth century are curious enough, and invaluable as
authorities on manners and costume. But the attitudes of the
figures are too often stiff and ungainly; while the composition is
frequently left to chance. England could show nothing much better
than Ogilby's translations of Homer, illustrated with big florid
engravings in sham antique style. The years between 1730 and 1820,
saw the French "little masters" in their perfection. The dress of
the middle of the eighteenth century, of the age of Watteau, was
precisely suited to the gay and graceful pencils of Gravelot,
Moreau, Eisen, Boucher, Cochin, Marillier, and Choffard. To
understand their merits, and the limits of their art, it is enough
to glance through a series of the designs for Voltaire, Corneille,
or Moliere. The drawings of society are almost invariably dainty
and pleasing, the serious scenes of tragedy leave the spectator
quite unmoved. Thus it is but natural that these artists should
have shone most in the illustration of airy trifles like Dorat's
"Baisers," or tales like Manon Lescaut, or in designing tailpieces
for translations of the Greek idyllic poets, such as Moschus and
Bion. In some of his illustrations of books, especially, perhaps,
in the designs for "La Physiologie de Gout" (Jouaust, Paris, 1879),
M. Lalauze has shown himself the worthy rival of Eisen and Cochin.
Perhaps it is unnecessary to add that the beauty and value of all
such engravings depends almost entirely on their "state." The
earlier proofs are much more brilliant than those drawn later, and
etchings on fine papers are justly preferred. For example, M.
Lalauze's engravings on "Whatman paper," have a beauty which could
scarcely be guessed by people who have only seen specimens on
"papier verge." Every collector of the old French vignettes, should
possess himself of the "Guide de l'amateur," by M. Henry Cohen
(Rouquette, Paris, 1880). Among English illustrated books, various
tastes prefer the imaginative works of William Blake, the etchings
of Cruikshank, and the woodcuts of Bewick. The whole of the last
chapter of this sketch is devoted, by Mr. Austin Dobson, to the
topic of English illustrated books. Here it may be said, in
passing, that an early copy of William Blake's "Songs of Innocence,"
written, illustrated, printed, coloured, and boarded by the author's
own hand, is one of the most charming objects that a bibliophile can
hope to possess. The verses of Blake, in a framework of birds, and
flowers, and plumes, all softly and magically tinted, seem like some
book out of King Oberon's library in fairyland, rather than the
productions of a mortal press. The pictures in Blake's "prophetic
books," and even his illustrations to "Job," show an imagination
more heavily weighted by the technical difficulties of drawing.

The next class of rare books is composed of works from the famous
presses of the Aldi and the Elzevirs. Other presses have, perhaps,
done work as good, but Estienne, the Giunta, and Plantin, are
comparatively neglected, while the taste for the performances of
Baskerville and Foulis is not very eager. A safe judgment about
Aldines and Elzevirs is the gift of years and of long experience.
In this place it is only possible to say a few words on a wide
subject. The founder of the Aldine press, Aldus Pius Manutius, was
born about 1450, and died at Venice in 1514. He was a man of
careful and profound learning, and was deeply interested in Greek
studies, then encouraged by the arrival in Italy of many educated
Greeks and Cretans. Only four Greek authors had as yet been printed
in Italy, when (1495) Aldus established his press at Venice.
Theocritus, Homer, AEsop, and Isocrates, probably in very limited
editions, were in the hands of students. The purpose of Aldus was
to put Greek and Latin works, beautifully printed in a convenient
shape, within the reach of all the world. His reform was the
introduction of books at once cheap, studiously correct, and
convenient in actual use. It was in 1498 that he first adopted the
small octavo size, and in his "Virgil" of 1501, he introduced the
type called Aldine or Italic. The letters were united as in
writing, and the type is said to have been cut by Francesco da
Bologna, better known as Francia, in imitation of the hand of
Petrarch. For full information about Aldus and his descendants and
successors, the work of M. Firmin Didot, ("Alde Manuce et
l'Hellenisme a Venise: Paris 1875)," and the Aldine annals of
Renouard, must be consulted. These two works are necessary to the
collector, who will otherwise be deceived by the misleading
assertions of the booksellers. As a rule, the volumes published in
the lifetime of Aldus Manutius are the most esteemed, and of these
the Aristotle, the first Homer, the Virgil, and the Ovid, are
perhaps most in demand. The earlier Aldines are consulted almost as
studiously as MSS. by modern editors of the classics.

Just as the house of Aldus waned and expired, that of the great
Dutch printers, the Elzevirs, began obscurely enough at Leyden in
1583. The Elzevirs were not, like Aldus, ripe scholars and men of
devotion to learning. Aldus laboured for the love of noble studies;
the Elzevirs were acute, and too often "smart" men of business. The
founder of the family was Louis (born at Louvain, 1540, died 1617).
But it was in the second and third generations that Bonaventura and
Abraham Elzevir began to publish at Leyden, their editions in small
duodecimo. Like Aldus, these Elzevirs aimed at producing books at
once handy, cheap, correct, and beautiful in execution. Their
adventure was a complete success. The Elzevirs did not, like Aldus,
surround themselves with the most learned scholars of their time.
Their famous literary adviser, Heinsius, was full of literary
jealousies, and kept students of his own calibre at a distance. The
classical editions of the Elzevirs, beautiful, but too small in type
for modern eyes, are anything but exquisitely correct. Their
editions of the contemporary. French authors, now classics
themselves, are lovely examples of skill in practical enterprise.
The Elzevirs treated the French authors much as American publishers
treat Englishmen. They stole right and left, but no one complained
much in these times of slack copyright; and, at all events, the
piratic larcenous publications of the Dutch printers were pretty,
and so far satisfactory. They themselves, in turn, were the victims
of fraudulent and untradesmanlike imitations. It is for this, among
other reasons, that the collector of Elzevirs must make M. Willems's
book ("Les Elzevier," Brussels and Paris, 1880) his constant study.
Differences so minute that they escape the unpractised eye, denote
editions of most various value. In Elzevirs a line's breadth of
margin is often worth a hundred pounds, and a misprint is quoted at
no less a sum. The fantastic caprice of bibliophiles has revelled
in the bibliography of these Dutch editions. They are at present
very scarce in England, where a change in fashion some years ago had
made them common enough. No Elzevir is valuable unless it be clean
and large in the margins. When these conditions are satisfied the
question of rarity comes in, and Remy Belleau's Macaronic poem, or
"Le Pastissier Francais," may rise to the price of four or five
hundred pounds. A Rabelais, Moliere, or Corneille, of a "good"
edition, is now more in request than the once adored "Imitatio
Christi" (dateless), or the "Virgil"' of 1646, which is full of
gross errors of the press, but is esteemed for red characters in the
letter to Augustus, and another passage at page 92. The ordinary
marks of the Elzevirs were the sphere, the old hermit, the Athena,
the eagle, and the burning faggot. But all little old books marked
with spheres are not Elzevirs, as many booksellers suppose. Other
printers also stole the designs for the tops of chapters, the
Aegipan, the Siren, the head of Medusa, the crossed sceptres, and
the rest. In some cases the Elzevirs published their books,
especially when they were piracies, anonymously. When they
published for the Jansenists, they allowed their clients to put
fantastic pseudonyms on the title pages. But, except in four cases,
they had only two pseudonyms used on the titles of books published
by and for themselves. These disguises are "Jean Sambix" for Jean
and Daniel Elzevir, at Leyden, and for the Elzevirs of Amsterdam,
"Jacques le Jeune." The last of the great representatives of the
house, Daniel, died at Amsterdam, 1680. Abraham, an unworthy scion,
struggled on at Leyden till 1712. The family still prospers, but no
longer prints, in Holland. It is common to add duodecimos of
Foppens, Wolfgang, and other printers, to the collections of the
Elzevirs. The books of Wolfgang have the sign of the fox robbing a
wild bee's nest, with the motto Quaerendo.

Curious and singular books are the next in our classification. The
category is too large. The books that be "curious" (not in the
booksellers' sense of "prurient" and "disgusting,") are innumerable.
All suppressed and condemned books, from "Les Fleurs du Mal" to
Vanini's "Amphitheatrum," or the English translation of Bruno's
"Spaccia della Bestia Trionfante," are more or less rare, and more
or less curious. Wild books, like William Postel's "Three
Marvellous Triumphs of Women," are "curious." Freakish books, like
macaronic poetry, written in a medley of languages, are curious.
Books from private presses are singular. The old English poets and
satirists turned out many a book curious to the last degree, and
priced at a fantastic value. Such are "Jordan's Jewels of
Ingenuity," "Micro-cynicon, six Snarling Satyres" (1599), and the
"Treatize made of a Galaunt," printed by Wynkyn de Worde, and found
pasted into the fly-leaf, on the oak-board binding of an imperfect
volume of Pynson's "Statutes." All our early English poems and
miscellanies are curious; and, as relics of delightful singers, are
most charming possessions. Such are the "Songes and Sonnettes of
Surrey" (1557), the "Paradyce of daynty Deuices" (1576), the "Small
Handful of Fragrant Flowers," and "The Handful of Dainty Delights,
gathered out of the lovely Garden of Sacred Scripture, fit for any
worshipful Gentlewoman to smell unto," (1584). "The Teares of
Ireland" (1642), are said, though one would not expect it, to be
"extremely rare," and, therefore, precious. But there is no end to
the list of such desirable rarities. If we add to them all books
coveted as early editions, and, therefore, as relics of great
writers, Bunyan, Shakespeare, Milton, Sterne, Walton, and the rest,
we might easily fill a book with remarks on this topic alone. The
collection of such editions is the most respectable, the most
useful, and, alas, the most expensive of the amateur's pursuits. It
is curious enough that the early editions of Swift, Scott, and
Byron, are little sought for, if not wholly neglected; while early
copies of Shelley, Tennyson, and Keats, have a great price set on
their heads. The quartoes of Shakespeare, like first editions of
Racine, are out of the reach of any but very opulent purchasers, or
unusually lucky, fortunate book-hunters. Before leaving the topic
of books which derive their value from the taste and fantasy of
collectors, it must be remarked that, in this matter, the fashion of
the world changes. Dr. Dibdin lamented, seventy years ago, the
waning respect paid to certain editions of the classics. He would
find that things have become worse now, and modern German editions,
on execrable paper, have supplanted his old favourites. Fifty years
ago, M. Brunet expressed his contempt for the designs of Boucher;
now they are at the top of the fashion. The study of old
booksellers' catalogues is full of instruction as to the changes of
caprice. The collection of Dr. Rawlinson was sold in 1756. "The
Vision of Pierce Plowman" (1561), and the "Creede of Pierce Plowman"
(1553), brought between them no more than three shillings and
sixpence. Eleven shillings were paid for the "Boke of Chivalrie" by
Caxton. The "Boke of St. Albans," by Wynkyn de Worde, cost 1
pounds: 1s., and this was the highest sum paid for any one of two
hundred rare pieces of early English literature. In 1764, a copy of
the "Hypnerotomachia" was sold for two shillings, "A Pettie Pallace
of Pettie his Pleasures," (ah, what a thought for the amateur!) went
for three shillings, while "Palmerin of England" (1602), attained no
more than the paltry sum of fourteen shillings. When Osborne sold
the Harley collection, the scarcest old English books fetched but
three or four shillings. If the wandering Jew had been a collector
in the last century he might have turned a pretty profit by selling
his old English books in this age of ours. In old French, too,
Ahasuerus would have done a good stroke of business, for the prices
brought by old Villons, Romances of the Rose, "Les Marguerites de
Marguerite," and so forth, at the M'Carthy sale, were truly
pitiable. A hundred years hence the original editions of Thackeray,
or of Miss Greenaway's Christmas books, or "Modern Painters," may be
the ruling passion, and Aldines and Elzevirs, black letter and
French vignettes may all be despised. A book which is commonplace
in our century is curious in the next, and disregarded in that which
follows. Old books of a heretical character were treasures once,
rare unholy possessions. Now we have seen so many heretics that the
world is indifferent to the audacities of Bruno, and the veiled
impieties of Vanini.

The last of our categories of books much sought by the collector
includes all volumes valued for their ancient bindings, for the mark
and stamp of famous amateurs. The French, who have supplied the
world with so many eminent binders,--as Eve, Padeloup, Duseuil, Le
Gascon, Derome, Simier, Bozerian, Thouvenin, Trautz-Bauzonnet, and
Lortic--are the chief patrons of books in historical bindings. In
England an historical binding, a book of Laud's, or James's, or
Garrick's, or even of Queen Elizabeth's, does not seem to derive
much added charm from its associations. But, in France, peculiar
bindings are now the objects most in demand among collectors. The
series of books thus rendered precious begins with those of Maioli
and of Grolier (1479-1565), remarkable for their mottoes and the
geometrical patterns on the covers. Then comes De Thou (who had
three sets of arms), with his blazon, the bees stamped on the
morocco. The volumes of Marguerite of Angouleme are sprinkled with
golden daisies. Diane de Poictiers had her crescents and her bow,
and the initial of her royal lover was intertwined with her own.
The three daughters of Louis XV. had each their favourite colour,
and their books wear liveries of citron, red, and olive morocco.
The Abbe Cotin, the original of Moliere's Trissotin, stamped his
books with intertwined C's. Henri III. preferred religious emblems,
and sepulchral mottoes--skulls, crossbones, tears, and the insignia
of the Passion. Mort m'est vie is a favourite device of the
effeminate and voluptuous prince. Moliere himself was a collector,
il n'es pas de bouquin qui s'echappe de ses mains,--"never an old
book escapes him," says the author of "La Guerre Comique," the last
of the pamphlets which flew from side to side in the great literary
squabble about "L'Ecole des Femmes." M. Soulie has found a rough
catalogue of Moliere's library, but the books, except a little
Elzevir, have disappeared. {7} Madame de Maintenon was fond of
bindings. Mr. Toovey possesses a copy of a devotional work in red
morocco, tooled and gilt, which she presented to a friendly abbess.
The books at Saint-Cyr were stamped with a crowned cross, besprent
with fleurs-de-lys. The books of the later collectors--Longepierre,
the translator of Bion and Moschus; D'Hoym the diplomatist;
McCarthy, and La Valliere, are all valued at a rate which seems fair
game for satire.

Among the most interesting bibliophiles of the eighteenth century is
Madame Du Barry. In 1771, this notorious beauty could scarcely read
or write. She had rooms, however, in the Chateau de Versailles,
thanks to the kindness of a monarch who admired those native
qualities which education may polish, but which it can never confer.
At Versailles, Madame Du Barry heard of the literary genius of
Madame de Pompadour. The Pompadour was a person of taste. Her
large library of some four thousand works of the lightest sort of
light literature was bound by Biziaux. Mr. Toovey possesses the
Brantome of this dame galante. Madame herself had published
etchings by her own fair hands; and to hear of these things excited
the emulation of Madame Du Barry. She might not be CLEVER, but she
could have a library like another, if libraries were in fashion.
One day Madame Du Barry astonished the Court by announcing that her
collection of books would presently arrive at Versailles. Meantime
she took counsel with a bookseller, who bought up examples of all
the cheap "remainders," as they are called in the trade, that he
could lay his hands upon. The whole assortment, about one thousand
volumes in all, was hastily bound in rose morocco, elegantly gilt,
and stamped with the arms of the noble house of Du Barry. The bill
which Madame Du Barry owed her enterprising agent is still in
existence. The thousand volumes cost about three francs each; the
binding (extremely cheap) came to nearly as much. The amusing thing
is that the bookseller, in the catalogue which he sent with the
improvised library, marked the books which Madame Du Barry possessed
BEFORE her large order was so punctually executed. There were two
"Memoires de Du Barry," an old newspaper, two or three plays, and
"L'Historie Amoureuse de Pierre le Long." Louis XV. observed with
pride that, though Madame Pompadour had possessed a larger library,
that of Madame Du Barry was the better selected. Thanks to her new
collection, the lady learned to read with fluency, but she never
overcame the difficulties of spelling.

A lady collector who loved books not very well perhaps, but
certainly not wisely, was the unhappy Marie Antoinette. The
controversy in France about the private character of the Queen has
been as acrimonious as the Scotch discussion about Mary Stuart.
Evidence, good and bad, letters as apocryphal as the letters of the
famous "casket," have been produced on both sides. A few years ago,
under the empire, M. Louis Lacour found a manuscript catalogue of
the books in the Queen's boudoir. They were all novels of the
flimsiest sort,--"L'Amitie Dangereuse," "Les Suites d'un Moment
d'Erreur," and even the stories of Louvet and of Retif de la
Bretonne. These volumes all bore the letters "C. T." (Chateau de
Trianon), and during the Revolution they were scattered among the
various public libraries of Paris. The Queen's more important
library was at the Tuileries, but at Versailles she had only three
books, as the commissioners of the Convention found, when they made
an inventory of the property of la femme Capet. Among the three was
the "Gerusalemme Liberata," printed, with eighty exquisite designs
by Cochin, at the expense of "Monsieur," afterwards Louis XVIII.
Books with the arms of Marie Antoinette are very rare in private
collections; in sales they are as much sought after as those of
Madame Du Barry.

With these illustrations of the kind of interest that belongs to
books of old collectors, we may close this chapter. The reader has
before him a list, with examples, of the kinds of books at present
most in vogue among amateurs. He must judge for himself whether he
will follow the fashion, by aid either of a long purse or of patient
research, or whether he will find out new paths for himself. A
scholar is rarely a rich man. He cannot compete with plutocrats who
buy by deputy. But, if he pursues the works he really needs, he may
make a valuable collection. He cannot go far wrong while he brings
together the books that he finds most congenial to his own taste and
most useful to his own studies. Here, then, in the words of the old
"sentiment," I bid him farewell, and wish "success to his
inclinations, provided they are virtuous." There is a set of
collectors, alas! whose inclinations are not virtuous. The most
famous of them, a Frenchman, observed that his own collection of bad
books was unique. That of an English rival, he admitted, was
respectable,--"mais milord se livre a des autres preoccupations!"
He thought a collector's whole heart should be with his treasures.

En bouquinant se trouve grand soulas.
Soubent m'en vay musant, a petis pas,
Au long des quais, pour flairer maint bieux livre.
Des Elzevier la Sphere me rend yure,
Et la Sirene aussi m'esmeut. Grand cas
Fais-je d'Estienne, Aide, ou Dolet. Mais Ias!
Le vieux Caxton ne se rencontre pas,
Plus qu' agneau d'or parmi jetons de cuivre,
En bouquinant!

Pour tout plaisir que l'on goute icy-bas
La Grace a Dieu. Mieux vaut, sans altercas,
Chasser bouquin: Nul mal n'en peult s'ensuivre.
Dr sus au livre: il est le grand appas.
Clair est le ciel. Amis, qui veut me suivre
En bouquinant?

A. L.


Modern English book-illustration--to which the present chapter is
restricted -has no long or doubtful history, since to find its first
beginnings, it is needless to go farther back than the last quarter
of the eighteenth century. Not that "illustrated" books of a
certain class were by any means unknown before that period. On the
contrary, for many years previously, literature had boasted its
"sculptures" of be-wigged and be-laurelled "worthies," its
"prospects" and "land-skips," its phenomenal monsters and its
"curious antiques." But, despite the couplet in the "Dunciad"
respecting books where

" . . . the pictures for the page atone,
And Quarles is saved by beauties not his own;" -

illustrations, in which the designer attempted the actual
delineation of scenes or occurrences in the text, were certainly not
common when Pope wrote, nor were they for some time afterwards
either very numerous or very noteworthy. There are Hogarth's
engravings to "Hudibras" and "Don Quixote;" there are the designs of
his crony Frank Hayman to Theobald's "Shakespeare," to Milton, to
Pope, to Cervantes; there are Pine's "Horace" and Sturt's "Prayer-
Book" (in both of which text and ornament were alike engraved);
there are the historical and topographical drawings of Sandby, Wale,
and others; and yet--notwithstanding all these--it is with Bewick's
cuts to Gay's "Fables" in 1779, and Stothard's plates to Harrison's
"Novelist's Magazine" in 1780, that book-illustration by imaginative
compositions really begins to flourish in England. Those little
masterpieces of the Newcastle artist brought about a revival of
wood-engraving which continues to this day; but engraving upon
metal, as a means of decorating books, practically came to an end
with the "Annuals" of thirty years ago. It will therefore be well
to speak first of illustrations upon copper and steel.

Stothard, Blake, and Flaxman are the names that come freshest to
memory in this connection. For a period of fifty years Stothard
stands pre-eminent in illustrated literature. Measuring time by
poets, he may be said to have lent something of his fancy and
amenity to most of the writers from Cowper to Rogers. As a
draughtsman he is undoubtedly weak: his figures are often limp and
invertebrate, and his type of beauty insipid. Still, regarded as
groups, the majority of his designs are exquisite, and he possessed
one all-pervading and un-English quality--the quality of grace.
This is his dominant note. Nothing can be more seductive than the
suave flow of his line, his feeling for costume, his gentle and
chastened humour. Many of his women and children are models of
purity and innocence. But he works at ease only within the limits
of his special powers; he is happier in the pastoral and domestic
than the heroic and supernatural, and his style is better fitted to
the formal salutations of "Clarissa" and "Sir Charles Grandison,"
than the rough horse-play of "Peregrine Pickle." Where Rowlandson
would have revelled, Stothard would be awkward and constrained;
where Blake would give us a new sensation, Stothard would be poor
and mechanical. Nevertheless the gifts he possessed were thoroughly
recognised in his own day, and brought him, if not riches, at least
competence and honour. It is said that more than three thousand of
his drawings have been engraved, and they are scattered through a
hundred publications. Those to the "Pilgrim's Progress" and the
poems of Rogers are commonly spoken of as his best, though he never
excelled some of the old-fashioned plates (with their pretty borders
in the style of Gravelot and the Frenchmen) to Richardson's novels,
and such forgotten "classics" as "Joe Thompson", "Jessamy," "Betsy
Thoughtless," and one or two others in Harrison's very miscellaneous

Stothard was fortunate in his engravers. Besides James Heath, his
best interpreter, Schiavonetti, Sharp, Finden, the Cookes,
Bartolozzi, most of the fashionable translators into copper were
busily employed upon his inventions. Among the rest was an artist
of powers far greater than his own, although scarcely so happy in
turning them to profitable account. The genius of William Blake was
not a marketable commodity in the same way as Stothard's talent.
The one caught the trick of the time with his facile elegance; the
other scorned to make any concessions, either in conception or
execution, to the mere popularity of prettiness.

"Give pensions to the learned pig,
Or the hare playing on a tabor;
Anglus can never see perfection
But in the journeyman's labour," -

he wrote in one of those rough-hewn and bitter epigrams of his. Yet
the work that was then so lukewarmly received--if, indeed, it can be
said to have been received at all--is at present far more sought
after than Stothard's, and the prices now given for the "Songs of
Innocence and Experience," the "Inventions to the Book of Job," and
even "The Grave," would have brought affluence to the struggling
artist, who (as Cromek taunted him) was frequently "reduced so low
as to be obliged to live on half a guinea a week." Not that this
was entirely the fault of his contemporaries. Blake was a
visionary, and an untuneable man; and, like others who work for the
select public of all ages, he could not always escape the
consequence that the select public of his own, however willing, were
scarcely numerous enough to support him. His most individual works
are the "Songs of Innocence," 1789, and the "Songs of Experience,"
1794. These, afterwards united in one volume, were unique in their
method of production; indeed, they do not perhaps strictly come
within the category of what is generally understood to be
copperplate engraving. The drawings were outlined and the songs
written upon the metal with some liquid that resisted the action of
acid, and the remainder of the surface of the plate was eaten away
with aqua-fortis, leaving the design in bold relief, like a rude
stereotype. This was then printed off in the predominant tone--
blue, brown, or yellow, as the case might be--and delicately tinted
by the artist in a prismatic and ethereal fashion peculiarly his
own. Stitched and bound in boards by Mrs. Blake, a certain number
of these leaflets--twenty-seven in the case of the first issue--made
up a tiny octavo of a wholly exceptional kind. Words indeed fail to
exactly describe the flower-like beauty--the fascination of these
"fairy missals," in which, it has been finely said, "the thrilling
music of the verse, and the gentle bedazzlement of the lines and
colours so intermingle, that the mind hangs in a pleasant
uncertainty as to whether it is a picture that is singing, or a song
which has newly budded and blossomed into colour and form." The
accompanying woodcut, after one of the illustrations to the "Songs
of Innocence," gives some indication of the general composition, but
it can convey no hint of the gorgeous purple, and crimson, and
orange of the original.

Of the "Illustrations to the Book of Job," 1826, there are excellent
reduced facsimiles by the recently-discovered photo-intaglio
process, in the new edition of Gilchrist's "Life." The originals
were engraved by Blake himself in his strong decisive fashion, and
they are his best work. A kind of deisidaimonia--a sacred awe--
falls upon one in turning over these wonderful productions of the
artist's declining years and failing hand.

"Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new,"

sings Waller; and it is almost possible to believe for a moment that
their creator was (as he said) "under the direction of messengers
from Heaven." But his designs for Blair's "Grave," 1808,
popularised by the burin of Schiavonetti, attracted greater
attention at the time of publication; and, being less rare, they are
even now perhaps better known than the others. The facsimile here
given is from the latter book. The worn old man, the trustful
woman, and the guileless child are sleeping peacefully; but the king
with his sceptre, and the warrior with his hand on his sword-hilt,
lie open-eyed, waiting the summons of the trumpet. One cannot help
fancying that the artist's long vigils among the Abbey tombs, during
his apprenticeship to James Basire, must have been present to his
mind when he selected this impressive monumental subject.

To one of Blake's few friends--to the "dear Sculptor of Eternity,"
as he wrote to Flaxman from Felpham--the world is indebted for some
notable book illustrations. Whether the greatest writers--the
Homers, the Shakespeares, the Dantes--can ever be "illustrated"
without loss may fairly be questioned. At all events, the showy
dexterities of the Dores and Gilberts prove nothing to the contrary.
But now and then there comes to the graphic interpretation of a
great author an artist either so reverential, or so strongly
sympathetic at some given point, that, in default of any relation
more narrowly intimate, we at once accept his conceptions as the
best attainable. In this class are Flaxman's outlines to Homer and
AEschylus. Flaxman was not a Hellenist as men are Hellenists to-
day. Nevertheless, his Roman studies had saturated him with the
spirit of antique beauty, and by his grand knowledge of the nude,
his calm, his restraint, he is such an illustrator of Homer as is
not likely to arise again. For who--with all our added knowledge of
classical antiquity--who, of our modern artists, could hope to rival
such thoroughly Greek compositions as the ball-play of Nausicaa in
the "Odyssey," or that lovely group from AEschylus of the tender-
hearted, womanly Oceanides, cowering like flowers beaten by the
storm under the terrible anger of Zeus? In our day Flaxman's
drawings would have been reproduced by some of the modern facsimile
processes, and the gain would have been great. As it is, something
is lost by their transference to copper, even though the translators
be Piroli and Blake. Blake, in fact, did more than he is usually
credited with, for (beside the acknowledged and later "Hesiod,"
1817) he really engraved the whole of the "Odyssey," Piroli's plates
having been lost on the voyage to England. The name of the Roman
artist, nevertheless, appears on the title-page (1793). But Blake
was too original to be a successful copyist of other men's work, and
to appreciate the full value of Flaxman's drawings, they should be
studied in the collections at University College, the Royal Academy,
and elsewhere. {9}

Flaxman and Blake had few imitators. But a host of clever
designers, such as Cipriani, Angelica Kauffmann, Westall, Uwins,
Smirke, Burney, Corbould, Dodd, and others, vied with the popular
Stothard in "embellishing" the endless "Poets," "novelists," and
"essayists" of our forefathers. Some of these, and most of the
recognised artists of the period, lent their aid to that boldly-
planned but unhappily-executed "Shakespeare" of Boydell,--"black and
ghastly gallery of murky Opies, glum Northcotes, straddling
Fuselis," as Thackeray calls it. They are certainly not enlivening-
-those cumbrous "atlas" folios of 1803-5, and they helped to ruin
the worthy alderman. Even courtly Sir Joshua is clearly ill at ease
among the pushing Hamiltons and Mortimers; and, were it not for the
whimsical discovery that Westall's "Ghost of Caesar" strangely
resembles Mr. Gladstone, there would be no resting-place for the
modern student of these dismal masterpieces. The truth is, Reynolds
excepted, there were no contemporary painters strong enough for the
task, and the honours of the enterprise belong almost exclusively to
Smirke's "Seven Ages" and one or two plates from the lighter
comedies. The great "Bible" of Macklin, a rival and even more
incongruous publication, upon which some of the same designers were
employed, has fallen into completer oblivion. A rather better fate
attended another book of this class, which, although belonging to a
later period, may be briefly referred to here. The "Milton" of John
Martin has distinct individuality, and some of the needful qualities
of imagination. Nevertheless, posterity has practically decided
that scenic grandeur and sombre effects alone are not a sufficient
pictorial equipment for the varied story of "Paradise Lost."

It is to Boydell of the Shakespeare gallery that we owe the "Liber
Veritatis" of Claude, engraved by Richard Earlom; and indirectly,
since rivalry of Claude prompted the attempt, the famous "Liber
Studiorum" of Turner. Neither of these, however--which, like the
"Rivers of France" and the "Picturesque Views in England and Wales"
of the latter artist, are collections of engravings rather than
illustrated books--belongs to the present purpose. But Turner's
name may fitly serve to introduce those once familiar "Annuals" and
"Keepsakes," that, beginning in 1823 with Ackermann's "Forget-me-
Not," enjoyed a popularity of more than thirty years. Their general
characteristics have been pleasantly satirised in Thackeray's
account of the elegant miscellany of Bacon the publisher, to which
Mr. Arthur Pendennis contributed his pretty poem of "The Church
Porch." His editress, it will be remembered, was the Lady Violet
Lebas, and his colleagues the Honourable Percy Popjoy, Lord Dodo,
and the gifted Bedwin Sands, whose "Eastern Ghazuls" lent so special
a distinction to the volume in watered-silk binding. The talented
authors, it is true, were in most cases under the disadvantage of
having to write to the plates of the talented artists, a practice
which even now is not extinct, though it is scarcely considered
favourable to literary merit. And the real "Annuals" were no
exception to the rule. As a matter of fact, their general literary
merit was not obtrusive, although, of course, they sometimes
contained work which afterwards became famous. They are now so
completely forgotten and out of date, that one scarcely expects to
find that Wordsworth, Coleridge, Macaulay, and Southey, were among
the occasional contributors. Lamb's beautiful "Album verses"
appeared in the "Bijou," Scott's "Bonnie Dundee" in the "Christmas
Box," and Tennyson's "St. Agnes' Eve" in the "Keepsake." But the
plates were, after all, the leading attraction. These, prepared for
the most part under the superintendence of the younger Heath, and
executed on the steel which by this time had supplanted the old
"coppers," were supplied by, or were "after," almost every
contemporary artist of note. Stothard, now growing old and past his
prime, Turner, Etty, Stanfield, Leslie, Roberts, Danby, Maclise,
Lawrence, Cattermole, and numbers of others, found profitable labour
in this fashionable field until 1856, when the last of the "Annuals"
disappeared, driven from the market by the rapid development of wood
engraving. About a million, it is roughly estimated, was squandered
in producing them.

In connection with the "Annuals" must be mentioned two illustrated
books which were in all probability suggested by them--the "Poems"
and "Italy" of Rogers. The designs to these are chiefly by Turner
and Stothard, although there are a few by Prout and others.
Stothard's have been already referred to; Turner's are almost
universally held to be the most successful of his many vignettes.
It has been truly said--in a recent excellent life of this artist
{10}--that it would be difficult to find in the whole of his works
two really greater than the "Alps at Daybreak," and the "Datur Hora
Quieti," in the former of these volumes. Almost equally beautiful
are the "Valombre Falls" and "Tornaro's misty brow." Of the "Italy"
set Mr. Ruskin writes:- "They are entirely exquisite; poetical in
the highest and purest sense, exemplary and delightful beyond all
praise." To such words it is not possible to add much. But it is
pretty clear that the poetical vitality of Rogers was secured by
these well-timed illustrations, over which he is admitted by his
nephew Mr. Sharpe to have spent about 7000 pounds, and far larger
sums have been named by good authorities. The artist received from
fifteen to twenty guineas for each of the drawings; the engravers
(Goodall, Miller, Wallis, Smith, and others), sixty guineas a plate.
The "Poems" and the "Italy," in the original issues of 1830 and
1834, are still precious to collectors, and are likely to remain so.
Turner also illustrated Scott, Milton, Campbell, and Byron; but this
series of designs has not received equal commendation from his
greatest eulogist, who declares them to be "much more laboured, and
more or less artificial and unequal." Among the numerous imitations
directly induced by the Rogers books was the "Lyrics of the Heart,"
by Alaric Attila Watts, a forgotten versifier and sometime editor of
"Annuals," but it did not meet with similar success.

Many illustrated works, originating in the perfection and
opportunities of engraving on metal, are necessarily unnoticed in
this rapid summary. As far, however, as book-illustration is
concerned, copper and steel plate engraving may be held to have gone
out of fashion with the "Annuals." It is still, indeed, to be found
lingering in that mine of modern art-books--the "Art Journal;" and,
not so very long ago, it made a sumptuous and fugitive reappearance
in Dore's "Idylls of the King," Birket Foster's "Hood," and one or
two other imposing volumes. But it was badly injured by modern
wood-engraving; it has since been crippled for life by photography;
and it is more than probable that the present rapid rise of modern
etching will give it the coup de grace. {11}

By the end of the seventeenth century the art of engraving on wood
had fallen into disuse. Writing circa 1770, Horace Walpole goes so
far as to say that it "never was executed in any perfection in
England;" and, speaking afterwards of Papillon's "Traite de la
Gravure," 1766, he takes occasion to doubt if that author would ever
"persuade the world to return to wooden cuts." Nevertheless, with
Bewick, a few years later, wood-engraving took a fresh departure so
conspicuous that it amounts to a revival. In what this consisted it
is clearly impossible to show here with any sufficiency of detail;
but between the method of the old wood-cutters who reproduced the
drawings of Durer, and the method of the Newcastle artist, there are
two marked and well-defined differences. One of these is a
difference in the preparation of the wood and the tool employed.
The old wood-cutters carved their designs with knives and chisels on
strips of wood sawn lengthwise--that is to say, upon the PLANK;
Bewick used a graver, and worked upon slices of box or pear cut
across the grain,--that is to say upon the END of the wood. The
other difference, of which Bewick is said to have been the inventor,
is less easy to describe. It consisted in the employment of what is
technically known as "white line." In all antecedent wood-cutting
the cutter had simply cleared away those portions of the block left
bare by the design, so that the design remained in relief to be
printed from like type. Using the smooth box block as a uniform
surface from which, if covered with printing ink, a uniformly black
impression might be obtained, Bewick, by cutting white lines across
it at greater or lesser intervals, produced gradations of shade,
from the absolute black of the block to the lightest tints. The
general result of this method was to give a greater depth of
colouring and variety to the engraving, but its advantages may
perhaps be best understood by a glance at the background of the
"Woodcock" on the following page.

Bewick's first work of any importance was the Gay's "Fables" of
1779. In 1784 he did another series of "Select Fables." Neither of
these books, however, can be compared with the "General History of
Quadrupeds," 1790, and the "British Land and Water Birds," 1797 and
1804. The illustrations to the "Quadrupeds" are in many instances
excellent, and large additions were made to them in subsequent
issues. But in this collection Bewick laboured to a great extent
under the disadvantage of representing animals with which he was
familiar only through the medium of stuffed specimens or incorrect
drawings. In the "British Birds," on the contrary, his facilities
for study from the life were greater, and his success was
consequently more complete. Indeed, it may be safely affirmed that
of all the engravers of the present century, none have excelled
Bewick for beauty of black and white, for skilful rendering of
plumage and foliage, and for fidelity of detail and accessory. The
"Woodcock" (here given), the "Partridge," the "Owl," the "Yellow-
Hammer," the "Yellow-Bunting," the "Willow-Wren," are popular
examples of these qualities. But there are a hundred others nearly
as good.

Among sundry conventional decorations after the old German fashion
in the first edition of the "Quadrupeds," there are a fair number of
those famous tail-pieces which, to a good many people, constitute
Bewick's chief claim to immortality. That it is not easy to imitate
them is plain from the failure of Branston's attempts, and from the
inferior character of those by John Thompson in Yarrell's "Fishes."
The genius of Bewick was, in fact, entirely individual and
particular. He had the humour of a Hogarth in little, as well as
some of his special characteristics,--notably his faculty of telling
a story by suggestive detail. An instance may be taken at random
from vol. I. of the "Birds." A man, whose wig and hat have fallen
off, lies asleep with open mouth under some bushes. He is
manifestly drunk, and the date "4 June," on a neighbouring stone,
gives us the reason and occasion of his catastrophe. He has been
too loyally celebrating the birthday of his majesty King George III.
Another of Bewick's gifts is his wonderful skill in foreshadowing a
tragedy. Take as an example, this truly appalling incident from the
"Quadrupeds." The tottering child, whose nurse is seen in the
background, has strayed into the meadow, and is pulling at the tail
of a vicious-looking colt, with back-turned eye and lifted heel.
Down the garden-steps the mother hurries headlong; but she can
hardly be in time. And of all this--sufficient, one would say, for
a fairly-sized canvas--the artist has managed to give a vivid
impression in a block of three inches by two! Then, again, like
Hogarth once more, he rejoices in multiplications of dilemma. What,
for instance, can be more comically pathetic than the head-piece to
the "Contents" in vol. I. of the "Birds"? The old horse has been
seized with an invincible fit of stubbornness. The day is both
windy and rainy. The rider has broken his stick and lost his hat;
but he is too much encumbered with his cackling and excited stock to
dare to dismount. Nothing can help him but a Deus ex machina,--of
whom there is no sign.

Besides his humour, Bewick has a delightfully rustic side, of which
Hogarth gives but little indication. From the starved ewe in the
snow nibbling forlornly at a worn-out broom, to the cow which has
broken through the rail to reach the running water, there are
numberless designs which reveal that faithful lover of the field and
hillside, who, as he said, "would rather be herding sheep on Mickle
bank top" than remain in London to be made premier of England. He
loved the country and the country-life; and he drew them as one who
loved them. It is this rural quality which helps to give such a
lasting freshness to his quaint and picturesque fancies; and it is
this which will continue to preserve their popularity, even if they
should cease to be valued for their wealth of whimsical invention.

In referring to these masterpieces of Bewick's, it must not be
forgotten that he had the aid of some clever assistants. His
younger brother John was not without talent, as is clear from his
work for Somervile's "Chace," 1796, and that highly edifying book,
the "Blossoms of Morality." Many of the tail-pieces to the "Water
Birds" were designed by Robert Johnson, who also did most of the
illustrations to Bewick's "Fables" of 1818, which were engraved by
Temple and Harvey, two other pupils. Another pupil was Charlton
Nesbit, an excellent engraver, who was employed upon the "Birds,"
and did good work in Ackermann's "Religious Emblems" of 1808, and
the second series of Northcote's "Fables." But by far the largest
portion of the tail-pieces in the second volume of the "Birds" was
engraved by Luke Clennell, a very skilful but unfortunate artist,
who ultimately became insane. To him we owe the woodcuts, after
Stothard's charming sketches, to the Rogers volume of 1810, an
edition preceding those already mentioned as illustrated with steel-
plates, and containing some of the artist's happiest pictures of
children and amorini. Many of these little groups would make
admirable designs for gems, if indeed they are not already derived
from them, since one at least is an obvious copy of a well-known
sardonyx--("The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche.") This volume,
generally known by the name of the "Firebrand" edition, is highly
prized by collectors; and, as intelligent renderings of pen and ink,
there is little better than these engravings of Clennell's. {12}
Finally, among others of Bewick's pupils, must be mentioned William
Harvey, who survived to 1866. It has been already stated that he
engraved part of the illustrations to Bewick's "Fables," but his
best known block is the large one of Haydon's "Death of Dentatus."
Soon after this he relinquished wood-engraving in favour of design,
and for a long period was one of the most fertile and popular of
book-illustrators. His style, however, is unpleasantly mannered;
and it is sufficient to make mention of his masterpiece, the
"Arabian Nights" of Lane, the illustrations to which, produced under
the supervision of the translator, are said to be so accurate as to
give the appropriate turbans for every hour of the day. They show
considerable freedom of invention and a large fund of Orientalism.

Harvey came to London in 1817; Clennell had preceded him by some
years; and Nesbit lived there for a considerable time. What
distinguishes these pupils of Bewick especially is, that they were
artists as well as engravers, capable of producing the designs they
engraved. The "London School" of engravers, on the contrary, were
mostly engravers, who depended upon others for their designs. The
foremost of these was Robert Branston, a skilful renderer of human
figures and indoor scenes. He worked in rivalry with Bewick and
Nesbit; but he excelled neither, while he fell far behind the
former. John Thompson, one of the very best of modern English
engravers on wood, was Branston's pupil. His range was of the
widest, and he succeeded as well in engraving fishes and birds for
Yarrell and Walton's "Angler," as in illustrations to Moliere and
"Hudibras." He was, besides, a clever draughtsman, though he worked
chiefly from the designs of Thurston and others. One of the most
successful of his illustrated books is the "Vicar of Wakefield,"
after Mulready, whose simplicity and homely feeling were well suited
to Goldsmith's style. Another excellent engraver of this date is
Samuel Williams. There is an edition of Thomson's "Seasons," with
cuts both drawn and engraved by him, which is well worthy of
attention, and (like Thompson and Branston) he was very skilful in
reproducing the designs of Cruikshank. Some of his best work in
this way is to be found in Clarke's "Three Courses and a Dessert,"
published by Vizetelly in 1830.

From this time forth, however, one hears less of the engraver and
more of the artist. The establishment of the "Penny Magazine" in
1832, and the multifarious publications of Charles Knight, gave an
extraordinary impetus to wood-engraving. Ten years later came
"Punch," and the "Illustrated London News," which further increased
its popularity. Artists of eminence began to draw on or for the
block, as they had drawn, and were still drawing, for the "Annuals."
In 1842-6 was issued the great "Abbotsford" edition of the "Waverley
Novels," which, besides 120 plates, contained nearly 2000 wood-
engravings; and with the "Book of British Ballads," 1843, edited by
Mr. S. C. Hall, arose that long series of illustrated Christmas
books, which gradually supplanted the "Annuals," and made familiar
the names of Gilbert, Birket Foster, Harrison Weir, John Absolon,
and a crowd of others. The poems of Longfellow, Montgomery, Burns,
"Barry Cornwall," Poe, Miss Ingelow, were all successively
"illustrated." Besides these, there were numerous selections, such
as Willmott's "Poets of the Nineteenth Century," Wills's "Poets' Wit
and Humour," and so forth. But the field here grows too wide to be
dealt with in detail, and it is impossible to do more than mention a
few of the books most prominent for merit or originality. Amongst
these there is the "Shakespeare" of Sir John Gilbert. Regarded as
an interpretative edition of the great dramatist, this is little
more than a brilliant tour de force; but it is nevertheless
infinitely superior to the earlier efforts of Kenny Meadows in 1843,
and also to the fancy designs of Harvey in Knight's "Pictorial
Shakespeare." The "Illustrated Tennyson" of 1858 is also a
remarkable production. The Laureate, almost more than any other,
requires a variety of illustrators; and here, for his idylls, he had
Mulready and Millais, and for his romances Rossetti and Holman Hunt.
His "Princess" was afterwards illustrated by Maclise, and his "Enoch
Arden" by Arthur Hughes; but neither of these can be said to be
wholly adequate. The "Lalla Rookh" of John Tenniel, 1860, albeit
somewhat stiff and cold, after this artist's fashion, is a superb
collection of carefully studied oriental designs. With these may be
classed the illustrations to Aytoun's "Lays of the Scottish
Cavaliers," by Sir Noel Paton, which have the same finished
qualities of composition and the same academic hardness. Several
good editions of the "Pilgrim's Progress" have appeared,--notably
those of C. H. Bennett, J. D. Watson, and G. H. Thomas. Other books
are Millais's "Parables of our Lord," Leighton's "Romola," Walker's
"Philip" and "Denis Duval," the "Don Quixote," "Dante," "La
Fontaine" and other works of Dore, Dalziel's "Arabian Nights,"
Leighton's "Lyra Germanica" and "Moral Emblems," and the "Spiritual
Conceits" of W. Harry Rogers. These are some only of the number,
which does not include books like Mrs. Hugh Blackburn's "British
Birds," Wolf's "Wild Animals," Wise's "New Forest," Linton's "Lake
Country," Wood's "Natural History," and many more. Nor does it take
in the various illustrated periodicals which have multiplied so
freely since, in 1859, "Once a Week" first began to attract and
train such younger draughtsmen as Sandys, Lawless, Pinwell,
Houghton, Morten, and Paul Grey, some of whose best work in this way
has been revived in the edition of Thornbury's "Ballads and Songs,"
recently published by Chatto and Windus. Ten years later came the
"Graphic," offering still wider opportunities to wood-cut art, and
bringing with it a fresh school of artists. Herkomer, Fildes,
Small, Green, Barnard, Barnes, Crane, Caldecott, Hopkins, and
others,--quos nunc perscribere longum est--have contributed good
work to this popular rival of the older, but still vigorous,
"Illustrated." And now again, another promising serial, the
"Magazine of Art," affords a supplementary field to modern
refinements and younger energies.

Not a few of the artists named in the preceding paragraph have also
earned distinction in separate branches of the pictorial art, and
specially in that of humorous design,--a department which has always
been so richly recruited in this country that it deserves more than
a passing mention. From the days of Hogarth onwards there has been
an almost unbroken series of humorous draughtsmen, who, both on wood
and metal, play a distinguished part in our illustrated literature.
Rowlandson, one of the earliest, was a caricaturist of inexhaustible
facility, and an artist who scarcely did justice to his own powers.
He illustrated several books, but he is chiefly remembered in this
way by his plates to Combe's "Three Tours of Dr. Syntax." Gillray,
his contemporary, whose bias was political rather than social, is
said to have illustrated "The Deserted Village" in his youth; but he
is not famous as a book-illustrator. Another of the early men was
Bunbury, whom "quality"-loving Mr. Walpole calls "the second
Hogarth, and first imitator who ever fully equalled his original
(!);" but whose prints to "Tristram Shandy," are nevertheless
completely forgotten, while, if he be remembered at all, it is by
the plate of "The Long Minuet," and the vulgar "Directions to Bad
Horsemen." With the first years of the century, however, appears
the great master of modern humorists, whose long life ended only a
few years since, "the veteran George Cruikshank"--as his admirers
were wont to style him. He indeed may justly be compared to
Hogarth, since, in tragic power and intensity he occasionally comes
nearer to him than any artist of our time. It is manifestly
impossible to mention here all the more important efforts of this
indefatigable worker, from those far-away days when he caricatured
"Boney" and championed Queen Caroline, to that final frontispiece
for "The Rose and the Lily"--"designed and etched (according to the
inscription) by George Cruikshank, age 83;" but the plates to the
"Points of Humour," to Grimm's "Goblins," to "Oliver Twist," "Jack
Sheppard," Maxwell's "Irish Rebellion," and the "Table Book," are
sufficiently favourable and varied specimens of his skill with the
needle, while the woodcuts to "Three Courses and a Dessert," one of
which is here given, are equally good examples of his work on the
block. The "Triumph of Cupid," which begins the "Table Book," is an
excellent instance of his lavish wealth of fancy, and it contains
beside, one--nay more than one--of the many portraits of the artist.
He is shown en robe de chambre, smoking (this was before his
regenerate days!) in front of a blazing fire, with a pet spaniel on
his knee. In the cloud which curls from his lips is a motley
procession of sailors, sweeps, jockeys, Greenwich pensioners, Jew
clothesmen, flunkies, and others more illustrious, chained to the
chariot wheels of Cupid, who, preceded by cherubic acolytes and
banner-bearers, winds round the top of the picture towards an altar
of Hymen on the table. When, by the aid of a pocket-glass, one has
mastered these swarming figures, as well as those in the foreground,
it gradually dawns upon one that all the furniture is strangely
vitalised. Masks laugh round the border of the tablecloth, the
markings of the mantelpiece resolve themselves into rows of madly-
racing figures, the tongs leers in a degage and cavalier way at the
artist, the shovel and poker grin in sympathy; there are faces in
the smoke, in the fire, in the fireplace,--the very fender itself is
a ring of fantastic creatures who jubilantly hem in the ashes. And
it is not only in the grotesque and fanciful that Cruikshank excels;
he is master of the strange, the supernatural, and the terrible. In
range of character (the comparison is probably a hackneyed one),
both by his gifts and his limitations, he resembles Dickens; and had
he illustrated more of that writer's works the resemblance would
probably have been more evident. In "Oliver Twist," for example,
where Dickens is strong, Cruikshank is strong; where Dickens is
weak, he is weak too. His Fagin, his Bill Sikes, his Bumble, and
their following, are on a level with Dickens's conceptions; his Monk
and Rose Maylie are as poor as the originals. But as the defects of
Dickens are overbalanced by his merits, so Cruikshank's strength is
far in excess of his weakness. It is not to his melodramatic heroes
or wasp-waisted heroines that we must look for his triumphs; it is
to his delineations, from the moralist's point of view, of vulgarity
and vice,--of the "rank life of towns," with all its squalid tragedy
and comedy. Here he finds his strongest ground, and possibly,
notwithstanding his powers as a comic artist and caricaturist, his
loftiest claim to recollection.

Cruikshank was employed on two only of Dickens's books--"Oliver
Twist" and the "Sketches by Boz." {13} The great majority of them
were illustrated by Hablot K. Browne, an artist who followed the
ill-fated Seymour on the "Pickwick Papers." To "Phiz," as he is
popularly called, we are indebted for our pictorial ideas of Sam
Weller, Mrs. Gamp, Captain Cuttle, and most of the author's
characters, down to the "Tale of Two Cities." "Phiz" also
illustrated a great many of Lever's novels, for which his skill in
hunting and other Lever-like scenes especially qualified him.

With the name of Richard Doyle we come to the first of a group of
artists whose main work was, or is still, done for the time-honoured
miscellany of Mr. Punch. So familiar an object is "Punch" upon our
tables, that one is sometimes apt to forget how unfailing, and how
good on the whole, is the work we take so complacently as a matter
of course. And of this good work, in the earlier days, a large
proportion was done by Mr. Doyle. He is still living, although he
has long ceased to gladden those sprightly pages. But it was to
"Punch" that he contributed his masterpiece, the "Manners and
Customs of ye Englyshe," a series of outlines illustrating social
life in 1849, and cleverly commented by a shadowy "Mr. Pips," a sort
of fetch or double of the bustling and garrulous old Caroline
diarist. In these captivating pictures the life of thirty years ago
is indeed, as the title-page has it, "drawn from ye quick." We see
the Molesworths and Cantilupes of the day parading the Park; we
watch Brougham fretting at a hearing in the Lords, or Peel holding
forth to the Commons (where the Irish members are already
obstructive); we squeeze in at the Haymarket to listen to Jenny
Lind, or we run down the river to Greenwich Fair, and visit "Mr.
Richardson, his show." Many years after, in the "Bird's Eye Views
of Society," which appeared in the early numbers of the "Cornhill
Magazine," Mr. Doyle returned to this attractive theme. But the
later designs were more elaborate, and not equally fortunate. They
bear the same relationship to Mr. Pips's pictorial chronicle, as the
laboured "Temperance Fairy Tales" of Cruikshank's old age bear to
the little-worked Grimm's "Goblins" of his youth. So hazardous is
the attempt to repeat an old success! Nevertheless, many of the
initial letters to the "Bird's Eye Views" are in the artist's best
and most frolicsome manner. "The Foreign Tour of Brown, Jones, and
Robinson" is another of his happy thoughts for "Punch;" and some of
his most popular designs are to be found in Thackeray's "Newcomes,"
where his satire and fancy seem thoroughly suited to his text. He
has also illustrated Locker's well-known "London Lyrics," Ruskin's
"King of the Golden River," and Hughes's "Scouring of the White
Horse," from which last the initial at the beginning of this chapter
has been borrowed. His latest important effort was the series of
drawings called "In Fairy Land," to which Mr. William Allingham
contributed the verses.

In speaking of the "Newcomes," one is reminded that its illustrious
author was himself a "Punch" artist, and would probably have been a
designer alone, had it not been decreed "that he should paint in
colours which will never crack and never need restoration."
Everyone knows the story of the rejected illustrator of "Pickwick,"
whom that and other rebuffs drove permanently to letters. To his
death, however, he clung fondly to his pencil. In technique he
never attained to certainty or strength, and his genius was too
quick and creative--perhaps also too desultory--for finished work,
while he was always indifferent to costume and accessory. But many
of his sketches for "Vanity Fair," for "Pendennis," for "The
Virginians," for "The Rose and the Ring," the Christmas books, and
the posthumously published "Orphan of Pimlico," have a vigour of
impromptu, and a happy suggestiveness which is better than correct
drawing. Often the realisation is almost photographic. Look, for
example, at the portrait in "Pendennis" of the dilapidated Major as
he crawls downstairs in the dawn after the ball at Gaunt House, and
then listen to the inimitable context: "That admirable and devoted
Major above all,--who had been for hours by Lady Clavering's side
ministering to her and feeding her body with everything that was
nice, and her ear with everything that was sweet and flattering--oh!
what an object he was! The rings round his eyes were of the colour
of bistre; those orbs themselves were like the plovers' eggs whereof
Lady Clavering and Blanche had each tasted; the wrinkles in his old
face were furrowed in deep gashes; and a silver stubble, like an
elderly morning dew, was glittering on his chin, and alongside the
dyed whiskers, now limp and out of curl." A good deal of this--that
fine touch in italics especially--could not possibly be rendered in
black and white, and yet how much is indicated, and how thoroughly
the whole is felt! One turns to the woodcut from the words, and
back again to the words from the woodcut with ever-increasing
gratification. Then again, Thackeray's little initial letters are
charmingly arch and playful. They seem to throw a shy side-light
upon the text, giving, as it were, an additional and confidential
hint of the working of the author's mind. To those who, with the
present writer, love every tiny scratch and quirk and flourish of
the Master's hand, these small but priceless memorials are far
beyond the frigid appraising of academics and schools of art.

After Doyle and Thackeray come a couple of well-known artists--John
Leech and John Tenniel. The latter still lives (may he long live!)
to delight and instruct us. Of the former, whose genial and manly
"Pictures of Life and Character" are in every home where good-
humoured raillery is prized and appreciated, it is scarcely
necessary to speak. Who does not remember the splendid languid
swells, the bright-eyed rosy girls ("with no nonsense about them!")
in pork pie hats and crinolines, the superlative "Jeames's," the
hairy "Mossoos," the music-grinding Italian desperadoes whom their
kind creator hated so? And then the intrepidity of "Mr. Briggs,"
the Roman rule of "Paterfamilias," the vagaries of the "Rising
Generation!" There are things in this gallery over which the
severest misanthrope must chuckle--they are simply irresistible.
Let any one take, say that smallest sketch of the hapless mortal who
has turned on the hot water in the bath and cannot turn it off
again, and see if he is able to restrain his laughter. In this one
gift of producing instant mirth Leech is almost alone. It would be
easy to assail his manner and his skill, but for sheer fun, for the
invention of downright humorous situation, he is unapproached,
except by Cruikshank. He did a few illustrations to Dickens's
Christmas books; but his best-known book-illustrations properly so
called are to "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the "Comic Histories" of
A'Beckett, the "Little Tour in Ireland," and certain sporting novels
by the late Mr. Surtees. Tenniel now confines himself almost
exclusively to the weekly cartoons with which his name is popularly
associated. But years ago he used to invent the most daintily
fanciful initial letters; and many of his admirers prefer the serio-
grotesque designs of "Punch's Pocket-Book," "Alice in Wonderland,"
and "Through the Looking-Glass," to the always correctly-drawn but
sometimes stiffly-conceived cartoons. What, for example, could be
more delightful than the picture, in "Alice in Wonderland," of the
"Mad Tea Party?" Observe the hopelessly distraught expression of
the March hare, and the eager incoherence of the hatter! A little
further on the pair are trying to squeeze the dormouse into the
teapot; and a few pages back the blue caterpillar is discovered
smoking his hookah on the top of a mushroom. He was exactly three
inches long, says the veracious chronicle, but what a dignity!--what
an oriental flexibility of gesture! Speaking of animals, it must
not be forgotten that Tenniel is a master in this line. His
"British Lion," in particular, is a most imposing quadruped, and so
often in request that it is not necessary to go back to the famous
cartoons on the Indian mutiny to seek for examples of that
magnificent presence. As a specimen of the artist's treatment of
the lesser felidae, the reader's attention is invited to this
charming little kitten from "Through the Looking-Glass."

Mr. Tenniel is a link between Leech and the younger school of
"Punch" artists, of whom Mr. George du Maurier, Mr. Linley
Sambourne, and Mr. Charles Keene are the most illustrious. The
first is nearly as popular as Leech, and is certainly a greater
favourite with cultivated audiences. He is not so much a humorist
as a satirist of the Thackeray type,--unsparing in his denunciation
of shams, affectations, and flimsy pretences of all kinds. A master
of composition and accomplished draughtsman, he excels in the
delineation of "society"--its bishops, its "professional beauties"
and "aesthetes," its nouveaux riches, its distinguished foreigners,-
-while now and then (but not too often) he lets us know that if he
chose he could be equally happy in depicting the lowest classes.
There was a bar-room scene not long ago in "Punch" which gave the
clearest evidence of this. Some of those for whom no good thing is
good enough complain, it is said, that he lacks variety--that he is
too constant to one type of feminine beauty. But any one who will
be at the pains to study a group of conventional "society" faces
from any of his "At Homes" or "Musical Parties" will speedily
discover that they are really very subtly diversified and
contrasted. For a case in point, take the decorously sympathetic
group round the sensitive German musician, who is "veeping" over one
of his own compositions. Or follow the titter running round that
amused assembly to whom the tenor warbler is singing "Me-e-e-et me
once again," with such passionate emphasis that the domestic cat
mistakes it for a well-known area cry. As for his ladies, it may
perhaps be conceded that his type is a little persistent. Still it
is a type so refined, so graceful, so attractive altogether, that in
the jarring of less well-favoured realities it is an advantage to
have it always before our eyes as a standard to which we can appeal.
Mr. du Maurier is a fertile book-illustrator, whose hand is
frequently seen in the "Cornhill," and elsewhere. Some of his best
work of this kind is in Douglas Jerrold's "Story of a Feather," in
Thackeray's "Ballads," and the large edition of the "Ingoldsby
Legends," to which Leech, Tenniel, and Cruikshank also contributed.
One of his prettiest compositions is the group here reproduced from
"Punch's Almanack" for 1877. The talent of his colleague, Mr.
Linley Sambourne, may fairly be styled unique. It is difficult to
compare it with anything in its way, except some of the happier
efforts of the late Mr. Charles Bennett, to which, nevertheless, it
is greatly superior in execution. To this clever artist's invention
everything seems to present itself with a train of fantastic
accessory so whimsically inexhaustible that it almost overpowers one
with its prodigality. Each fresh examination of his designs
discloses something overlooked or unexpected. Let the reader study
for a moment the famous "Birds of a Feather" of 1875, or that
ingenious skit of 1877 upon the rival Grosvenor Gallery and Academy,
in which the late President of the latter is shown as the proudest
of peacocks, the eyes of whose tail are portraits of Royal
Academicians, and whose body-feathers are paint brushes and
shillings of admission. Mr. Sambourne is excellent, too, at
adaptations of popular pictures,--witness the more than happy
parodies of Herrman's "A Bout d'Arguments," and "Une Bonne
Histoire." His book-illustrations have been comparatively few,
those to Burnand's laughable burlesque of "Sandford and Merton"
being among the best. Rumour asserts that he is at present engaged
upon Kingsley's "Water Babies," a subject which might almost be
supposed to have been created for his pencil. There are
indications, it may be added, that Mr. Sambourne's talents are by no
means limited to the domain in which for the present he chooses to
exercise them, and it is not impossible that he may hereafter take
high rank as a cartoonist. Mr. Charles Keene, a selection from
whose sketches has recently been issued under the title of "Our
People," is unrivalled in certain bourgeois, military, and
provincial types. No one can draw a volunteer, a monthly nurse, a
Scotchman, an "ancient mariner" of the watering-place species, with
such absolutely humorous verisimilitude. Personages, too, in whose
eyes--to use Mr. Swiveller's euphemism--"the sun has shone too
strongly," find in Mr. Keene a merciless satirist of their "pleasant
vices." Like Leech, he has also a remarkable power of indicating a
landscape background with the fewest possible touches. His book-
illustrations have been .mainly confined to magazines and novels.
Those in "Once a Week" to a "Good Fight," the tale subsequently
elaborated by Charles Reade into the "Cloister and the Hearth,"
present some good specimens of his earlier work. One of these, in
which the dwarf of the story is seen climbing up a wall with a
lantern at his back, will probably be remembered by many.

After the "Punch" school there are other lesser luminaries. Mr. W.
S. Gilbert's drawings to his own inimitable "Bab Ballads" have a
perverse drollery which is quite in keeping with that erratic text.
Mr. F. Barnard, whose exceptional talents have not been sufficiently
recognised, is a master of certain phases of strongly marked
character, and, like Mr. Charles Green, has contributed some
excellent sketches to the "Household Edition" of Dickens. Mr.
Sullivan of "Fun," whose grotesque studies of the "British
Tradesman" and "Workman" have recently been republished, has
abounding vis comica, but he has hitherto done little in the way of
illustrating books. For minute pictorial stocktaking and
photographic retention of detail, Mr. Sullivan's artistic memory may
almost be compared to the wonderful literary memory of Mr. Sala.
Mr. John Proctor, who some years ago (in "Will o' the Wisp") seemed
likely to rival Tenniel as a cartoonist, has not been very active in
this way; while Mr. Matthew Morgan, the clever artist of the
"Tomahawk," has transferred his services to the United States. Of
Mr. Bowcher of "Judy," and various other professedly humorous
designers, space permits no further mention.

There remains, however, one popular branch of book-illustration,
which has attracted the talents of some of the most skilful and
original of modern draughtsmen, i.e. the embellishment of children's
books. From the days when Mulready drew the old "Butterfly's Ball"
and "Peacock at Home" of our youth, to those of the delightfully
Blake-like fancies of E. V. B., whose "Child's Play" has recently
been re-published for the delectation of a new generation of
admirers, this has always been a popular and profitable employment;
but of late years it has been raised to the level of a fine art.
Mr. H. S. Marks, Mr. J. D. Watson, Mr. Walter Crane, have produced
specimens of nursery literature which, for refinement of colouring
and beauty of ornament, cannot easily be surpassed. The equipments
of the last named, especially, are of a very high order. He began
as a landscapist on wood; he now chiefly devotes himself to the
figure; and he seems to have the decorative art at his fingers' ends
as a natural gift. Such work as "King Luckieboy's Party" was a
revelation in the way of toy books, while the "Baby's Opera" and
"Baby's Bouquet" are petits chefs d'oeuvre, of which the sagacious
collector will do well to secure copies, not for his nursery, but
his library. Nor can his "Mrs. Mundi at Home" be neglected by the
curious in quaint and graceful invention. {14} Another book--the
"Under the Window" of Miss Kate Greenaway--comes within the same
category. Since Stothard, no one has given us such a clear-eyed,
soft-faced, happy-hearted childhood; or so poetically "apprehended"
the coy reticences, the simplicities, and the small solemnities of
little people. Added to this, the old-world costume in which she
usually elects to clothe her characters, lends an arch piquancy of
contrast to their innocent rites and ceremonies. Her taste in
tinting, too, is very sweet and spring-like; and there is a fresh,
pure fragrance about all her pictures as of new-gathered nosegays;
or, perhaps, looking to the fashions that she favours, it would be
better to say "bow-pots." But the latest "good genius" of this
branch of book-illustrating is Mr. Randolph Caldecott, a designer
assuredly of the very first order. There is a spontaneity of fun,
an unforced invention about everything he does, that is infinitely
entertaining. Other artists draw to amuse us; Mr. Caldecott seems
to draw to amuse himself,--and this is his charm. One feels that he
must have chuckled inwardly as he puffed the cheeks of his "Jovial
Huntsmen;" or sketched that inimitably complacent dog in the "House
that Jack Built;" or exhibited the exploits of the immortal "train-
band captain" of "famous London town." This last is his
masterpiece. Cowper himself must have rejoiced at it,--and Lady
Austen. There are two sketches in this book--they occupy the
concluding pages--which are especially fascinating. On one, John
Gilpin, in a forlorn and flaccid condition, is helped into the house
by the sympathising (and very attractive) Betty; on the other he has
donned his slippers, refreshed his inner man with a cordial, and
over the heaving shoulder of his "spouse," who lies dissolved upon
his martial bosom, he is taking the spectators into his confidence
with a wink worthy of the late Mr. Buckstone. Nothing more genuine,
more heartily laughable, than this set of designs has appeared in
our day. And Mr. Caldecott has few limitations. Not only does he
draw human nature admirably, but he draws animals and landscapes
equally well, so one may praise him without reserve. Though not
children's books, mention should here be made of his "Bracebridge
Hall," and "Old Christmas," the illustrations to which are the
nearest approach to that beau-ideal, perfect sympathy between the
artist and the author, with which the writer is acquainted. The cut
on page 173 is from the former of these works.

Many of the books above mentioned are printed in colours by various
processes, and they are not always engraved on wood. But--to close
the account of modern wood-engraving--some brief reference must be
made to what is styled the "new American School," as exhibited for
the most part in "Scribner's" and other Transatlantic magazines.
Authorities, it is reported, shake their heads over these
performances. "C'est magnifique, mais ce nest pas la gravure," they
whisper. Into the matter in dispute, it is perhaps presumptuous for
an "atechnic" to adventure himself. But to the outsider it would
certainly seem as if the chief ground of complaint is that the new
comers do not play the game according to the old rules, and that
this (alleged) irregular mode of procedure tends to lessen the
status of the engraver as an artist. False or true, this, it may
fairly be advanced, has nothing whatever to do with the matter, as
far, at least, as the public are concerned. For them the question
is, simply and solely--What is the result obtained? The new school,
availing themselves largely of the assistance of photography, are
able to dispense, in a great measure, with the old tedious method of
drawing on the block, and to leave the artist to choose what medium
he prefers for his design--be it oil, water-colour, or black and
white--concerning themselves only to reproduce its characteristics
on the wood. This is, of course, a deviation from the method of
Bewick. But would Bewick have adhered to his method in these days?
Even in his last hours he was seeking for new processes. What we
want is to get nearest to the artist himself with the least amount
of interpretation or intermediation on the part of the engraver. Is
engraving on copper to be reproduced, we want a facsimile if
possible, and not a rendering into something which is supposed to be
the orthodox utterance of wood-engraving. Take, for example, the
copy of Schiavonetti's engraving of Blake's Death's Door in
"Scribner's Magazine" for June 1880, or the cut from the same source
at page 131 of this book. These are faithful line for line
transcriptions, as far as wood can give them, of the original
copper-plates; and, this being the case, it is not to be wondered at
that the public, who, for a few pence can have practical facsimiles
of Blake, of Cruikshank, or of Whistler, are loud in their
appreciation of the "new American School." Nor are its successes
confined to reproduction in facsimile. Those who look at the
exquisite illustrations, in the same periodical, to the "Tile Club
at Play," to Roe's "Success with Small Fruits," and Harris's
"Insects Injurious to Vegetation,"--to say nothing of the selected
specimens in the recently issued "Portfolios"--will see that the
latest comers can hold their own on all fields with any school that
has gone before. {15}

Besides copperplate and wood, there are many processes which have
been and are still employed for book-illustrations, although the
brief limits of this chapter make any account of them impossible.
Lithography was at one time very popular, and, in books like
Roberts's "Holy Land," exceedingly effective. The "Etching Club"
issued a number of books circa 1841-52; and most of the work of
"Phiz" and Cruikshank was done with the needle. It is probable
that, as we have already seen, the impetus given to modern etching
by Messrs. Hamerton, Seymour Haden, and Whistler, will lead to a
specific revival of etching as a means of book-illustration.
Already beautiful etchings have for some time appeared in "L'Art,"
the "Portfolio," and the "Etcher;" and at least one book of poems
has been entirely illustrated in this way,--the poems of Mr. W. Bell
Scott. For reproducing old engravings, maps, drawings, and the
like, it is not too much to say that we shall never get anything
much closer than the facsimiles of M. Amand-Durand and the
Typographic Etching and Autotype Companies. But further
improvements will probably have to be made before these can compete
commercially with wood-engraving as practised by the "new American

"Of making many books," 'twais said,
"There is no end;" and who thereon
The ever-running ink doth shed
But probes the words of Solomon:
Wherefore we now, for colophon,
From London's city drear and dark,
In the year Eighteen Eight-One,
Reprint them at the press of Clark.

A. D.


{1} This is the technical name for people who "illustrate" books
with engravings from other works. The practice became popular when
Granger published his "Biographical History of England."

{2} Mr. William Blades, in his "Enemies of Books" (Trubner, 1880),
decries glass-doors,-- "the absence of ventilation will assist the
formation of mould." But M. Rouveyre bids us open the doors on
sunny days, that the air may be renewed, and, close them in the
evening hours, lest moths should enter and lay their eggs among the
treasures. And, with all deference to Mr. Blades, glass-doors do
seem to be useful in excluding dust.

{3} "Send him back carefully, for you can if you like, that all
unharmed he may return to his own place."

{4} No wonder the books are scarce, if they are being hacked to
pieces by Grangerites.

{5} These lines appeared in "Notes and Queries," Jan. 8, 1881.

{6} In the Golden Ass of Apuleius, which Polia should not have

{7} M. Arsene Houssaye seems to think he has found them; marked on
the fly-leaves with an impression, in wax, of a seal engraved with
the head of Epicurus.

{8} This chapter was written by Austin Dobson.--DP

{9} The recent Winter Exhibition of the Old Masters (1881)
contained a fine display of Flaxman's drawings, a large number of
which belonged to Mr. F. T. Palgrave.

{10} By Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse.

{11} These words were written before the "Art Journal" had
published its programme for 1881. From this it appears that the
present editor fully recognises the necessity for calling in the
assistance of the needle.

{12} The example, here copied on the wood by M. Lacour, is a very
successful reproduction of Clennell's style.

{13} He also illustrated the "Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi." But
this was simply "edited" by "Boz."

{14} The reader will observe that this volume is indebted to Mr.
Crane for its beautiful frontispiece.

{15} Since this paragraph was first written an interesting paper on
the illustrations in "Scribner," from the pen of Mr. J. Comyns Carr,
has appeared in "L'Art."

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