About the Print Makers
A native of Zurich, Bodmer is best known in the U.S. as the painter who captured the American West of the 19th century with incredibly accurate depictions of its inhabitants. The German explorer Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied hired Bodmer from 1832-1834 for his Missouri River expedition. He was hired as the artist of the expedition to record images of cities, rivers, towns and people they saw along the way, including many images of Native Americans. In 1877 Bodmer was made a Knight in the French Legion of Honour for his incredible artistic contributions.
William Curtis was a noted botanist who began The Botanical Magazine in 1787, this periodical sold two thousand copies of each print during William’s lifetime. After his death in 1799, his son Thomas Curtis took over the Magazine. However, it was his nephew, a biographer and horticulturalist, Samuel Curtis who really established the magazine and changed the name to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. It is the longest running botanical publication in history, and it continues to be published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as a publication for those interested in horticulture, ecology, or botanical illustration.
de Bry, Theodor
A Protestant family of engravers who owned and operated their own printing house, the head of the family was Theodor de Bry, who taught his son Johann Theodor de Bry his craft. Father and son shared a fascination with the discovery of the Americas and thusly their engravings primarily focused on the journey there, and on the peoples, the floral, and the fauna of North and South America. Since de Bry himself never was able to visit the “New World” his works are based on first-hand observations by explorers and their paintings, drawings, and written descriptions. His works reflect his decidedly European bias, nonetheless, these were the first images that many people saw of the Americas and helped to encourage European interest in them.
“Le Porcelaine Tendre de Sevres” (The Soft Porcelain of Sevres) by Edouard Garnier, was published in Paris circa 1891. The book focused on the finest of Sevres porcelain, using high quality chromolithographs to display the exquisite luminosity, colour, and gilding of Sevres porcelain. The Sevres factory was established in 1738 at the Chateau de Vincennes, to supply the wealthy and privileged of France under the patronage, and later the ownership, of Louis XV. Sevres porcelain was so loved by King Louis XV that when the company ran into financial difficulties he bought out the shareholders and became sole proprietor from his palace at Versailles. Sevres became known as the “Porcelain of French Royalty”.
Johnsons Household Book of Nature from 1880 was comprised of “…full & interesting descriptions of the Animal Kingdom based on the writings of the Eminent Naturalists Audubon, Wallace, Brehm, Wood, and others”.
Published by Henry J. Johnson this encyclopedic work on animals was modest in size and served to open the doors to the wonders of the world to children and common households. Its beautiful imagery and thrilling descriptions of the animal kingdom taught parents the value of bookshelves filled with educational literature.
Martin, Homer Dodge
Born and raised in Albany, NY, Martin in the early 1860s spent his summers in the Catskills, Adirondacks, or White Mountains and composed expansive lake and mountain views. A transitional figure in American landscapes during the second half of the 19th century, Martin links the painters of the Hudson River School to the American followers of the French Barbizon artists and eventually Impressionism. Many of his works are in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of the Arts.
Pannemaeker, Pieter De
In the 19th century when Belgium was the leading center for botanical publishing, the Ghent printmaker, landscape and botanical painter Pannemaeker produced some 3000 illustrations for botanical books and periodicals. He received the Croix de Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole from the French government in 1886 for his contributions to botanical science and horticulture.
Thornton, Dr. Robert
Temple of Flora, sometimes criticized for its scientific inaccuracy, is perhaps the single most famous of all florilegium. Dr. Robert Thornton was the driving force and visionary behind the creation of this great work. To produce it, he employed other artists and engravers. He intended to issue seventy plates dramatically and poetically illustrating the sexual system of plants. It required the completion of only twenty-eight plates to bring financial ruin upon the well-stationed physician. The project fell victim to Thorton’s almost fanatical attention to detail and the changing taste of a social elite who had become somewhat jaded by the preponderance of great flower books created during this period. Thornton died destitute, financially ruined by his dream.
Buffon, George Louis Leclerc, Comte De
A French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author, it has been said that “Truly, Buffon was the father of all thought in natural history in the second half of the 18th century”. Buffon published 36 quarto volumes of his Histoire Naturelle during his lifetime; with additional volumes based on his notes and further research being published in the two decades following his death. His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, and the art continues to influence us today.
The son of William Curtis who began the “Botanical Magazine” in 1787, Thomas ran the periodical until it was taken over by his cousin, Samuel Curtis.
Deshayes, Gérard Paul
A French geologist and a foremost malacologist (the branch of invertebrate zoology that deals with the study of mollusks), Deshayes is best known for his beautifully illustrated works and his research of the Paris Basin, from which important evolutionary information resulted. Thanks to the good working relationship between English geologist Charles Lyell, Deshayes was able to divide the Tertiary system into Eocene, Miocene and Pliocene.
Giardini was an Italian draughtsman and master silversmith, whose reputation was based on his pattern-book designs for sacred and common objects, which were engraved by Maximilian Limpach and published in Prague in 1714 as ‘Disegni diversi’. This was the most important collection of patterns for silversmiths of the 18th century. The objects were divided into different groups, with original decorative designs serving to demonstrate the influence of Baroque sculpture and architecture on the modern art world.
An English-born Welshman, Owen was a versatile architect and designer, in fact he was one of the most influential design theorists of the nineteenth century. He helped pioneer modern color theory, and his theories on flat patterning and ornamenting still resonate with contemporary designers today. He rose to prominence with his studies of Islamic decoration at the Alhambra, and the associated publication of his drawings, which pioneered new standards in chromolithography.
Published by Charles Theodore Middleton and titled A New and Complete System of Geography the book was touted to contain “…a full, accurate, authentic and interesting account and description of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, as consisting of continents, islands, oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, promontories, capes, bays, peninsulas, isthmusses, gulphs…with their strange ceremonies, customs, amusements”. The engravings were based on descriptions brought back to England from afar and were accompanied by written descriptions of the foreign lands, feeding the public’s hunger to see the world.
Ridinger, Johann Elias
A German painter, engraver, draughtsman, and publisher, Ridinger is considered one of the most famous German engravers of animals, in particular horses, hounds, and hunting scenes. His engraved, etched, and scratched sheets show animals in characteristic movements and positions in landscape environments, while the ornamental qualities of his works show Rococo tendencies. His drawings also were held in high esteem and were frequently transferred to decorate porcelain and ceramics.
The prints from Vanity Fair are printed by chromolithography and they range in subjects from Kings and Queens, to scientists and artists, authors and sportsmen, lawyers and politicians, and figures from pretty much all other types of occupations. There are some very famous figures (such as Winston Churchill, Bernard Shaw, P.T. Barnum) and a large group of now virtually unknown “Men of the Day.” Some of the images are fair staid, but many have a delightful verve and humor.
Wright was an English genre and portrait watercolour painter and illustrator. Wright painted domestic and sentimental subjects in the popular styles as well as historical compositions, notable for their detailed depictions of costumes. Indeed, for Wright the plays of Shakespeare were a frequent source of inspiration and joy.
Crombie, Charles Exeter Devereux
An Editorial Cartoonist Crombie specialized in cartoons and publication illustrations. His collection of humorous postcard cartoons “The Rules Of Golf” was published by Perrier in 1906, and rapidly became a best-selling series. Other similar sporting themes (including “The Rules Of Cricket”) followed with equal commercial success.
It is unknown if John was a blood relative of the Curtis publishing empire, but he was a prolific engraver for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and published many of his plates in said magazine.
An English-born American illustrator, landscape painter, etcher, and wood engraver. From 1870 – 1895 Fenn was the most prominent landscape illustrator in the United States, he was a sought-after illustrator for the leading illustrator periodicals, Century Magazine, “Harper’s Monthly,” “Harper’s Weekly,” and Scribner’s. Fenn’s work fostered pride in America’s scenic landscapes and urban centers, informed a curious public about foreign lands, and promoted appreciation of printed pictures as artworks for a growing middle class.
Jacquin, Nikolaus Jos.
A Dutch born botanist and one of the most proliﬁc botanical authors of eighteenth-century Europe, Jacquin’s career began with an expedition to the tropics. This experience then led him to the recording and documenting of around 2000 new plant species. Even more impressive are the 2927 plates depicting more than 3500 species of plants (and some fungi and lichens) that he published in 12 titles, most of them issued in multiple volumes of hand-colored folios.
Also known as Nicolas Lemery, Lemery learnt pharmacy before moving onto lecturing in chemistry and opening his own pharmacy. Lemery did not concern himself much with theoretical speculations, but held chemistry to be a demonstrative science. As a result, his lecture-room was thronged with people of all sorts, anxious to hear a man who shunned the barren obscurities of the alchemists, and did not regard the quest of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life as the sole end of his science. He published multiple instructional and informative volumes and dedicated himself to educational pursuits.
Monceau, Duhamel Du
Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-1782) was one of the most important French writers on fruit, plant physiology and agriculture, in this field he was one of the outstanding botanists of the eighteenth century and Traité des Arbres Fruitiers is among the finest of fruit books. The first volume begins by describing and illustrating different methods of pruning and grafting. This brief but concise description of techniques encouraged propagation of fruit trees throughout France. His intention was to promote the virtue and nutritional value of fruit-bearing trees. Each plate illustrated the plant’s seed, foliage, blossom, fruit, and sometimes cross sections of the specimen. As pears were Duhamel’s favorite fruit, they constitute the largest percentage of the two volumes.
Sellier, Charles Francois
A painter and a pupil of Leborne, Sellier in 1857 gained the “Prix de Rome” which was a French scholarship for arts students, initially for painters and sculptors. Winners were given a bursary that let them stay in Rome for three to five years at the expense of the state. He subsequently became the keeper of the Museum of Nancy. He produced religious paintings as well as botanical images.
Maurice Pillard Verneuil was a very well known French artist, designer, and decorator in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Movements, working with stylistic undulating and intertwining forms, transforming patterns into elegant ballets between flora and fauna. As his career progressed Verneuil transitioned into his much acclaimed geometric patterns, using bold colors and lines that influenced many others after him.