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Title: A Brief History of Wood-engraving from Its Invention
Author: Cundall, Joseph
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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available by Internet Archive (http://archive.org)

      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See

Transcriber's note:

      A carat character is used to denote superscription. A
      single character following the carat is superscripted
      (example: cccc^o).

      The original page numbers are enclosed by curly brackets
      and embedded in the text to facilitate the use of the
      index (examples: {vii} and {127}).

(_From Holinshed's 'Chronicles of England,'_ 1577)
_Page 100_]




Author of 'Holbein and His Works' etc.

Sampson Low, Marston, & Company
St. Dunstan's House
Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C.





  On Pictures of Saints--The print of _The Virgin with the
  Holy Child in her Lap_ in the Bibliothèque Royale de
  Belgique--On the print of _St. Christopher_ in the Spencer
  Library at Manchester--The _Annunciation_ and the _St.
  Bridget_ of Sweden                                              1


  On the Block Books of the Fifteenth Century--Biblia Pauperum;
  Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis, &c.                               11


  The Block Books of the Fifteenth Century--Ars Moriendi--
  _Temptacio Diaboli_--Canticum Canticorum, and others           20


  Block Book--Speculum Humanae Salvationis--_Casus
  Luciferi_--The Mentz Psalter of 1459--Book of Fables--The
  Cologne Bible--Nürnberg Chronicle--Breydenbach's
  Travels                                                        28


  On Wood-Engraving in Italy in the Fifteenth Century--The
  Venice _Kalendario_ of 1476--The _Triumph of Petrarch_--The
  _Hypnerotomachia Poliphili_--Aldo Manuzio--Portrait
  of Aldus                                                       40


  On Wood-Engraving in France in the Fifteenth Century--
  Engraving on Metal Blocks--'Books of Hours'--Famous
  French Publishers: Pierre Le Rouge, Simon Vostre,
  Antoine Verard, Thielman Kerver, Guyot Marchant,
  Philippe Pigouchet, Jean Dupré, and others                     51


  Wood-Engraving in England in the Fifteenth Century--William
  Caxton, _Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye_--_Dictes
  and Sayings of Philosophers_--_Game and Playe of
  the Chesse_, &c.--Wynkyn de Worde--Richard Pynson              61


  Wood-Engraving in Germany in the Sixteenth Century--Albrecht
  Dürer--_Coronation of the Virgin_--The Apocalypse--The
  Little Passion--His Engravings on Copper--The
  Triumphs of Maximilian--The _Triumphal Arch_--The
  _Triumphal Car_--The _Triumphal Procession_                    69


  Hans Holbein--_Dance of Death_--Bible Cuts--Hans
  Lützelburger--_Dance of Death Alphabet_--The Little
  Masters--Altdorfer--Beham--Brosamer--Aldegrever--Cranach       81


  Wood-Engraving in Italy and France in the Sixteenth
  Century--Giuseppe Porta of Venice--Geoffroy Tory and
  Robert Estienne of Paris--Borluyt's _Figures from the
  New Testament_--Christophe Plantin of Antwerp                  89


  Wood-Engraving in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
  in Italy and England--Printing in Chiaro-oscuro in
  Venice--Printing in Colour in Germany--_Habiti Antichi
  e Moderni_ by Vecellio--Wood-Engraving in England--Foxe's
  _Acts and Monuments_--Holinshed's _Chronicles_--_A
  Booke of Christian Prayers_--Dr. Cuningham's _Cosmographical
  Glasse_--_Æsop's Fables_--The French engraver
  Papillon                                                       99


  Thomas Bewick and his Pupils--_Select Fables_--_History of
  Quadrupeds_--_History of British Birds_--_Æsop's Fables_--
  Prices at which these books were published--Death of
  Bewick                                                        108


  Bewick's Successors--John Bewick (his Brother)--_Looking-glass
  for the Mind_--_Goldsmith's Poems_--_Somerville's
  Chase_--Robert Johnson--Charlton Nesbit--Robert Elliot
  R. Bewick--_History of Fishes_--Luke Clennell--William
  Harvey--George Bonner--W. H. Powis--John Jackson--Ebenezer
  Landells--Robert Branston--F. W. Branston--John
  Thompson--J. Orrin Smith--John and Mary Byfield--Samuel
  Williams--W. T. Green--O. Jewitt--C. Gray--S.
  Slader--J. Greenaway--W. J. Palmer--German Engravers--Modern
  English Engravers                                             116

  INDEX                                                         129


[Illustration: THE WOOD-ENGRAVER
_By Jost Amman_ (1568)]








Many volumes have been written on the subject of Wood-Engraving, especially
in Germany, Holland, and Belgium, where the art first flourished; as well
as in Italy, France, and England; and some of the best of these books have
been published during the present century.

The most important of them are, Dr. Dibdin's celebrated bibliographical
works; 'A Treatise on Wood-Engraving,' by W. A. Chatto, of which a new
edition has lately been issued; 'Wood-Engraving in Italy in the 15th
Century,' by Dr. Lippmann; and, above all, 'The Masters of Wood-Engraving,'
a magnificent folio volume written by Mr. W. J. Linton--himself a
Master--who, besides giving us the benefit of his technical knowledge
obtained by the practice of the art for fifty years, presents us with
copies, from blocks engraved by himself, of the most celebrated woodcuts of
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Many writers have asserted that the first wood-engravings are to be found
on playing-cards; others maintain that {2} the very rough prints on the
playing-cards of the early fifteenth century were taken from
stencil-plates. It is impossible to decide the point, nor is it of much
importance; there is no evidence whatever as to the method of their
production. They appeared in Europe about the year 1350: they came from the
East, but their positive history, according to Dr. Willshire, begins in the
year 1392.[1] It has been asserted that many prints of Images of Saints
produced by means of wood-engraving preceded even playing-cards.

The first undoubted fact that we can arrive at in the history of
wood-engraving is that early in the fifteenth century there were to be
found, in many of the monasteries and convents in various parts of Europe,
prints of the Virgin with the Holy Infant, the most popular Saints, and
Subjects from the Bible, which were certainly taken from engravings on
wood; and we have now to describe some typical examples of primitive
devotional pictures, printed by the xylographic process. The earliest of
these woodcuts may date from 1380, and there are many which are assigned to
the first half of the fifteenth century; they were all intended to be
coloured by hand, and are therefore simply in outline, without shading. The
designs are usually good, but the execution is not always so meritorious.

In the Royal Library at Brussels there is a coloured print of _The Virgin
with the Holy Child in her lap_, surrounded by four Saints in an inclosed
garden. On the Virgin's right hand sits St. Catherine, with a royal crown
on her head, the sword in her left hand, and, leaning against her feet, a
broken wheel. Beneath is St. Dorothea crowned with roses, with a branch of
a rose-tree in her right hand and the handle of a basket of apples in her
left; on the other side are St. Barbara holding her tower, and, under her,
St. Margaret with a book in her left hand; her right hand clasps a laidly
dragon, and a cross leans upon her arm. {3}

_In the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique_]

{4} Outside the palings a rabbit is feeding; a bird sits on the rail behind
St. Catherine, two others are flying, and, above all, three angels are
offering chaplets of roses to the Virgin; a palm-tree is growing on each
side of her. But the most important part of the print is the very solid
three-barred gate at the entrance to the garden, for on the uppermost of
the bars we distinctly read m: cccc^o xviii^o. The print itself measures
14½ inches in height by 9 inches in width, without reckoning the border
lines. It was found pasted at the bottom of an old coffer in the possession
of an innkeeper at Malines in 1844 by a well-known architect, M. de Noter,
who, recognising its great importance, offered it to the Royal Library at
Brussels. It has been reproduced in scrupulously exact facsimile and fully
described in the work entitled 'Documents iconographiques et typographiques
de la Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique,' published by MM. Muquardt of
Brussels. The small letters ^o are supposed to represent nails in the gate.

M. Georges Duplessis tells us that he has examined the print minutely
several times, and that he does not believe this date has been tampered
with in any way. Some collectors and would-be critics maintain that the
drawing of the figures and the folds of the garments are of a later date
than 1418; if they were to examine the works of Hubert and Jan van Eyck,
and the paintings of Meister Stephan Lochner of Cologne, Rogier van der
Weyden, and other artists who lived about this time, they would be
sufficiently answered. Mr. Linton is of opinion (and there can be no better
judge) that the _style_ of the engraving does not compel him to attribute
it to a later date than 1418, yet both he and Mr. Chatto express their
doubts as to its authenticity--it appears to us, without sufficient reason.

About the middle of the eighteenth century Herr Heinecken, a German
collector of engravings, discovered, pasted {5} inside the binding of a
manuscript in the library of the convent of Buxheim in Suabia, a folio
print brightly coloured of _St. Christopher bearing the Infant Christ_.

The outlines are printed in black ink, not by any kind of press, but in
much the same way as that used by wood-engravers of the present day in
taking their proofs, who first ink the engraved surface with a printer's
ball, then lay the paper carefully over the cut, waxed at the edges to hold
the paper firmly, and rub the back of the paper with a burnisher. In the
fifteenth century a roller called a _frotton_ was used, as being more

Our illustration gives an idea of the original, which is still in the cover
of the book in which it was discovered, and now in the Spencer Library at
Manchester. The cut measures 11½ inches in height by 8½ inches in width,
and is coloured after the manner of the time; that is, the Saint's robe is
tinted with red and the lining with yellow ochre, the nimbuses are of the
same kind of yellow; the robes of Christ and the monk are light blue, of
the same tint as the water; the grass and foliage are bright green; the
faces, hands, and legs are in a pale flesh-tint; there are but five or six
colours used, and they may have been either washed in by hand or brushed in
through a stencil-plate. As hand colouring would be quicker and less
troublesome, one does not see the advantage of the stencil. The inscription
beneath the cut reads thus:--

  Cristofori faciem die quacumque tueris Millesimo cccc^o
  Illa nempe die morte mala non morieris xx^o tercio

which may be rendered:

  On whatever day the face of Christopher thou shalt see,
  On that day no evil form of death shall visit thee.


[Illustration: ST. CHRISTOPHER
_The original (11½ in. by 8½ in.) is pasted inside the cover of an old
manuscript book in the Spencer Library now at Manchester._]

{7} Mr. Linton is enthusiastic in praise of this cut. 'I am well content,'
he says, 'to give some words of unstinted praise to our St. Christopher for
the design. I mind not the disproportionate space he occupies in the
picture. Is not he famous as a giant? The perspective also is good enough
for me, as doubtless it was to those in whose interest the print was
issued. It is certain he is crossing a stream; we see a fish beneath the
waves. He supports his colossal frame and helps his steady course with a
full-grown fruit-bearing palm-tree--fit staff for saintly son of Anak; no
heathen he; the nimbus is round his head. As on his shoulders he bears the
Lord of the World, can we fail to remark his upturned glance, inquiring why
he is thus bowed down by a little child? The blessing hand of the Blessed
plainly gives reply. Look again, and see on one side of the stream the
merely secular life; is it not all expressed by the mill and the miller and
his ass, and far up the steep road (what need for diminishing distance?)
the peasant with the sack of flour toiling towards his humble home. And on
the other side is the spiritual life--the hermit, by his windowless hut,
the warning bell above; he kneels in front, with his lantern of faith
lifted high in his hand, a beacon for whatever wayfarer the ferryman may
bring. Rank grasses and the fearless rabbit mark the quiet solitude in
which the hermit dwells. I can forgive all shortcomings. These old-century
men were in earnest.'

In the Spencer collection are two other prints which may be attributed to
the same period as the St. Christopher. One is a picture of _The
Annunciation_, which was found pasted on the end cover of the book (_Laus
Virginis_) in which the St. Christopher was discovered. It is of similar
size, and is printed with a dark-coloured pigment, probably by means of a
_frotton_. The Angel Gabriel is kneeling before the Virgin, who also is
kneeling; she holds a book in her hand, and is represented in a kind of
Gothic chapel; a vase with flowers in it stands under one of the
diamond-paned windows. The Holy Dove is descending in a flood of rays;
unfortunately the figure of the Almighty has been torn from the top
left-hand corner of the print. On one of the pillars of the chapel is a
small scroll with the legend

  Ave gracia plena dominus tecum.


_The original (11½ in. by 8½ in.) is pasted inside the cover of an old
manuscript book in the Spencer Library._]

{9} The wood-engraver may produce his design in two ways, either by means
of black lines on a white ground, or by white designs on a black ground.
The two methods are here united, while in the St. Christopher one only (the
first) is used. Notice the discreet use of masses of black to give force to
the design, and to contrast with the lightness of the other part of the
picture. The Annunciation belongs to quite a different school to the St.

The other print is of St. Bridget of Sweden (who died in 1373). She is
seated at a sloping desk, writing with a stylus in a book. The motto above
her head is o brigita bit got für uns ('O Bridget, pray to God for us'). In
the left upper corner is a small representation of the Virgin with the Holy
Infant in her arms, opposite is a shield with the letters S.P.Q.R. on it,
referring to her journey to Rome. In the lower corners are, on the left,
the palm and crown of martyrdom; and on the right is a shield with the
_Lion rampant_ of Sweden. A pilgrim's hat and scrip hang on a staff behind
the Virgin's seat. The print is roughly coloured, evidently by hand.

Many other woodcuts of the same character have been discovered, which are
believed to have been engraved in the first half of the fifteenth century.
In the Imperial Library at Vienna there is a print of _St. Sebastian_,
bearing the date 1437, which was found in the monastery of St. Blaise in
the Black Forest. 'Having visited,' says Herr Heinecken, 'in my last tour a
great many convents in Franconia, Suabia, Bavaria, and in the Austrian
States, I everywhere discovered in their libraries many of these kinds of
figures engraved on wood. They were usually pasted either at the beginning
or the end of old volumes of the fifteenth century. These facts have
confirmed me in my opinion that the next step of the {10} engraver on wood,
after playing-cards, was to engrave figures of Saints, which, being
distributed and lost among the laity, were in part preserved by the monks,
who pasted them into the earliest printed books with which their libraries
were furnished.' Herr Heinecken possessed more than a hundred of these
pictures of Saints. There can be little doubt they were produced in the
monasteries and convents, and distributed to the people, especially in the
processions of the Church, as aids to devotion. Among the thousands of
monks who lived in the fifteenth century there must have been many men who,
like Fra Angelico, were gifted with sufficient artistic taste to enable
them to draw and engrave such a picture as the St. Christopher.

       *       *       *       *       *




In the first half of the fifteenth century, before the invention of
printing by means of movable type, many books were produced in which the
woodcuts and the text were engraved on the same page, or sometimes the text
was on one page and the woodcut opposite. They were impressed on one side
only of the paper, and the two blank pages were often pasted together. They
are usually called Block Books. Many of the cuts are more than ten inches
in height by eight inches in width, and were probably cut with a knife upon
smoothly planed planks of the pear-tree, or other fine-grained wood, or
possibly some were engraved upon soft metal.

The most celebrated of them are:

     I. Biblia Pauperum.--Bible of the Poor.
    II. Apocalypsis Sancti Johnannis.--Visions of St. John.
   III. Ars Moriendi.--The Art of Dying.
    IV. Canticum Canticorum.--Solomon's Song.
     V. Ars Memorandi.--The Art of Remembering.
    VI. Liber Regum.--Book of Kings.
   VII. Temptationes Daemonis.--Temptations of a Demon.
  VIII. Endkrist (only known copy in the Spencer Library).
    IX. Quindecim Signa.--The Fifteen Signs.
     X. De Generatione Christi.--Of the Genealogy of Christ.
    XI. Mirabilia Romae.--The Wonders of Rome.
   XII. Speculum Humanae Salvationis.--Mirror of Salvation.
  XIII. Die Kunst Ciromantia.--The Art of Chiromancy.
   XIV. Confessionale.--Of the Confessional.
    XV. Symbolum Apostolicum.--Symbols of the Apostles.

{12} and are supposed to have been issued between the years 1420 and 1440.
There is no title-page to any of them, and the dates are generally only a
matter of conjecture. Probably they were copies of illuminated manuscripts,
and were drawn, engraved, and coloured by the monks in their _scriptoria_.
Doubtless other books of a similar character may be existing in some of the
old monasteries on the Continent at the present day.

The Block Books appear to have been made in Germany and Holland, and the
most popular volumes passed through many editions. The earliest specimens
are printed in a brown ink similar to that used for distemper drawings. It
sometimes happened that the blocks used for a book were afterwards cut up
and used over again in a different combination (as noticed by Bradshaw in
his 'Memoranda,' No. 3, pp. 5 and 6, and by William Blades, in his
'Pentateuch of Printing,' pp. 12 and 13.) A Block-book edition of the
'Biblia Pauperum,' printed at Zwolle, was cut up, and the pieces used
afterwards in a different combination. The same was done with the blocks of
the 'Speculum nostrae Salvationis,' which were cut up, and the pieces used
again for an edition printed at Utrecht in 1481. This was a step in the
development of the art of printing.

Biblia Pauperum.--In the Print Room of the British Museum there is a very
fine copy of this work, probably the first edition. It is a small folio
consisting of forty leaves impressed on one side only of the paper, in
pale-brown ink or distemper, by means of friction, probably by a _frotton_
or roller, as we can tell by the glazed surface on the back. The right
order of the pages is indicated by the letters a, b, c, &c., on the face of
the prints, each of which is about ten inches in height by seven and a-half
in breadth. On the upper part of each page are frequently two half-length
figures and two on the lower, intended for portraits of the prophets and
other holy men whose writings are cited in the Latin text. {13}

(_Reduced from 10 in. by 7½ in._)]

{14} The middle part of the page consists of three compartments, each of
which is occupied by a subject from the Old or New Testament. The greater
part of the text is at the sides of the upper portraits. On each side of
those below is frequently a rhyming Latin verse. Texts of Scripture also
appear on scrolls. The illustration, which is a much reduced copy of the
tenth page (k), will afford a better idea of the arrangement of the subject
and of the texts than any more lengthened description.

The picture in the middle represents the Temptation of Christ by the Devil;
that on the right, the Temptation of Adam by Eve; and that on the left,
Esau selling his birthright for a Mess of Pottage, which his Brother Jacob
has evidently just cooked in the iron pot suspended over the fire on a
ratchet in the chimney-breast. The ham and goat's flesh or venison hanging
on the kitchen wall remind us of the Dutch paintings of two centuries
later. Esau's bow and quiver will be seen to be of a very primitive

On the thirty-second page (to give another example) we find in the middle
compartment Christ appearing to His Disciples; on the left, Joseph
discovering himself to his Brethren; and on the right, the Return of the
Prodigal Son.

At the bottom of the page are these rhyming Latin verses:--

  _Under Joseph and his Brethren._

  Quos vex(av)it pridem
  Blanditur fratribus idem.

  _Under the Return of the Prodigal Son._

  Flens amplexatur
  Natum pater ac recreatur.

  Hic ihesus apparet: surgentis gloria claret.

Which have been roughly translated:

  Whom he so lately vexed
  He charms as brother next.

  The wept-one is embraced
  And as a son replaced,

  Here doth Christ appear, in rising glory clear.


_Facsimile of the original cut_]


The 'Biblia Pauperum,' although it could not be read by the laity, was
evidently issued for their especial benefit, and, with the help of the
priests, it afforded excellent lessons in Bible history. It is believed
that the first copies were printed at Haarlem about A.D. 1430 to 1440.

Five editions of the 'Biblia Pauperum' are known as block books with the
text in Latin; two with the text in German; and several others were printed
about 1475 with the text in movable type. At least three editions were
printed in Holland, and seven or eight others appear to be of German
origin; the earlier are of the Dutch School. There are four copies,
differing editions, in the British Museum, one in the Bodleian Library, and
one in the Spencer Library. Some of the copies are coloured in a very
simple manner.

Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis.--This work consists of forty-eight pages of
woodcuts about ten and a-half inches high by seven and a-half broad,
printed in ink or distemper of a greyish-brown tint on thick paper on one
side only. Each page is equally divided into two subjects, taken from the
Apocalypse, one above the other. The cuts are engraved in the simplest
manner, without any attempt at shading, as will be seen on examination of
our print, which forms the first page of the book. In the upper half St.
John is addressing three men and one woman. The words in the label Conversi
ab idolis per predicationem beati Johannis Drusiana et ceteri are literally
'Drusiana and the others are converted from idols by the preaching of the
blessed John.' The letter a indicates page 1. In the lower half we see St.
John baptizing Drusiana in a very small font in a small chapel; outside are
six ill-looking men trying to peep in through the chinks of the door. Over
the chapel are the words Sanctus Johannes baptisans, and over the men
Cultores ydolorum explorantes facta ejus, literally, 'Worshippers of Idols
spying on his acts.' Two of the idolaters are armed with hatchets, as if
they intended to break open the door. [The Latin words, in accordance with
the usual practice of the monks, are contracted in a manner very puzzling
to those unused to these mediæval writings.] There are several editions of
the Apocalypsis, all apparently of German origin. {17}

_One of the earliest of the Block Books_]


Many bibliographers, treating of block books and arguing from the very
simple style of the drawings and engravings, consider that the
'Apocalypsis' was the first that was produced. Many worse woodcuts were
issued in the eighteenth century. It would be very hazardous indeed to fix
a date by the quality of woodcut illustrations.

In order to assist our readers in reading the text printed with the early
woodcuts, we give them a key to the most usual abbreviations of Monkish

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 1. [-e] denotes a letter with a    **
  **     straight line over (or through the riser), [~e] the same with a **
  **     tilde-like curve.                                               **

1. A right line, thus (-), and a curve, thus (~), placed horizontally over
a letter, denote: (-) 1st, over a vowel in the middle or end of a word,
that _one letter_ is wanting, _e.g._ v[-e]d[-a]t=_vendant_,
bon[-u]=_bonum_, terr[-a]=_terram_. (~) 2nd, above or through a letter=the
omission of _more than one letter_, e.g. a[~i]a=_anima_, a[~l]r=_aliter_,
a[~l]ia=_animalia_, abla[~c]o=_ablatio_, Winto[~n]=Wintonia,
no[~b]=_nobis_, &c. A straight line through a consonant also denotes the
omission of one or more letters, _e.g._ vo[-b]=_vobis_, q[-d]=_quod_, &c.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 2. ? denotes a backward curl       **
  **     attached to the top of a letter.                                **

2. [?]=_er_, or _re_, as the sense requires, _e.g._ [?t]ra=_terra_,
[?p]dictus=predictus, _i.e._ _prædictus_.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 3. the first [?e] has an oblique   **
  **     line attached below the letter, the second a lightning bolt.    **

3. The diphthong is sometimes represented thus, terr[?e] or

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 4. the first [-p] has a straight   **
  **     line & the second a wavy one (like a tilde) through the         **
  *      descender. In the third a line continues the bottom of the loop **
  **     and bends down to cut the descender.                            **

4. A straight or curved line through the letter p, thus, [-p] [-p]=_per_,
_por_, and _par_. A curved line, thus [-p]=_pro_.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 5. the sign [3] resembles the      **
  **     type of 3 with an angled top, or a drachm sign.                 **

5. The character [3] at the end of a word=_us_, omnib[3]=_omnibus_, also
_et_, deb[3]=_debet_. {19}

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 6. the sign [zs] resembles a z     **
  **     with a reversed s drawn through the bottom stroke.              **

6. The figure [zs] at the end of a word=rum, ras, res, ris, and ram;
eo[zs]=_eorum_, lib[zs]=_libras_ or _libris_, Windeso[zs]=_Windesores_,
Alieno[zs]=_Alienoram_, &c.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 7. the sign [-&] is an ampersand   **
  **     with a straight line over; [q3] a q with a mark like a small 3  **
  **     on the right; [9] a raised spiral rather like a 9, [c)] has a   **
  **     long bracket-shaped mark descending below the baseline.         **

7. [-&]=_etiam_, [q3]=_que_, _quia_, and _quod_; [9] at commencement of
a word=_com_ or _con_; [9]mitto=_committo_, [9]victo=_convicto_. This
contraction is also printed thus, [c)]. [c)]=_concordia_ or _concessio_.
In the middle or end of a word [9]=_us_, De[9]=_Deus_, reb[9]=_rebus_,
Aug[9]ti=_Augusti_; also for os, p[9]=_post_, p[9]t=_post_.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 8. - and ~ are as in paragraph 1.  **
  **     ^ denotes the next letter is raised (so also in 12. below).     **

8. In Domesday Book 7=_et_, [-e]=_est_, [~s]t=_sunt_, [-M]=_manerium_,
m^o=_modo_, di[~m]=_dimidius_, &c.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 9. [-;] is like a semicolon with   **
  **     a straight line through the middle.                             **

9. _Est_ is sometimes written [-;] ÷.

10. Points or dots after letters often denote contractions, _e.g._ di. et
fi.=_dilectus et fidelis_, e. for _est_, plurib.=_pluribus_.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 11. [?t] has a sort of streamer to **
  **     the left and curling down.                                      **

11. [?t]=_et_ in later times.

12. A small letter placed over a word denotes an omission--p^ius=_prius_,
t^i=_tibi_, q^os=_quos_, q^i=_qui_, &c.

  ** Transcriber's note: In paragraph 13. ~ is as in paragraph 1.        **

13. X[~p]s, X[~p]c, X[~p]o, stand for _Christus_ and its different
cases. M[~e]= _Marie_.

These are the most common contractions. There are many more, including
numerous technical terms, which it would be useless for us to give for our
present purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *





Ars Moriendi.--Of all the block books known to us, this bears the palm for
artistic merit. It is probable that the 'Ars Moriendi' is of later date
than the block books already described. Mr. George Bullen (Holbein Society,
'Ars Moriendi,' 1881, p. 4) was of opinion that the first edition was
printed at Cologne in Germany about the middle of the fifteenth century.
Others say that the quarto edition is the earlier. The illustrations belong
to the lower Rhenish School, which, about the middle of the fifteenth
century, was influenced by the style of Roger van der Weyde, and probably
also by the work of some of the pupils of the Van Eycks. There are eleven
woodcuts, about eight and a-half inches, by five and a-half inches, without
including the frame-lines, printed on separate pages, and thirteen pages of
text, all impressed on one side only of the paper. Five of the pictures
represent a sick man in bed tempted by devils--I. To Unbelief; II. To
Despair and Suicide; III. To Impatience of Good Advice; IV. To Vainglory;
and V. To Avarice. In the five opposite pictures the sick man is attended
by Good Angels, who refute the arguments of the demons. In the eleventh
print we witness the death of the sick man. The drawings are somewhat
similar in manner to the works of Roger van der Weyde, who lived in the
early part of the fifteenth century. {21} It was a time when art was
beginning to awake from its long sleep, and such works as the 'Ars
Moriendi' were far in advance of any we know of belonging to the previous

One of the best of the illustrations is from the last temptation:
_temptacio diaboli de avaricia_, and is probably intended to be the
presentation of a dream. The sick man's bed is on the roof of his house! A
diabolus, as tall as the house, points to a youth--possibly the heir, who
is leading a very Flemish-looking horse into a doorway--and says, Intende
thesauro--take care of your treasures. The figures by the bedside must
represent the father and mother, wife, sisters, and young son of the dying
man. The diabolus on his right says Provideas amicis--'You may provide for
your friends.' The heads of the diaboli in this print are more laughable
than terrible, and suggest the make-up of a pantomime rather than the
demons who are messengers of the Evil One. On the next page an angel gives
good counsel to the dying man, a figure of Christ on the cross is at his
bed's head, and the Mother of Christ blesses him. A group of relations and
friends still attend him, and beside them are sheep and oxen. In the
foreground an angel is driving away a man and woman, who are evidently in
great grief, and a crouching demon says, Quid faciam--'What can I do?'
Pictures like this appealed forcibly to the minds of the laity in the
middle ages, and were doubtless fully explained to the uneducated by the
religious dwellers in the monasteries and convents which at that time
abounded throughout Europe.

A reproduction of this book was issued a few years since by the Holbein
Society. The designs were copied in careful pen-and-ink drawings by Mr. F.
Price, and the text was translated and the pictures described by Mr. George
Bullen, who also wrote a learned preface, enumerating the various editions
of the book which are known to have been printed in different languages.
Weigel printed a photographic reproduction of this book in 1869. {22}

The 'Ars Moriendi' was the most popular of all the block books. Before the
end of the fifteenth century eight different editions had been issued,
seven of them in Latin and one in French. M. Passavant states that he had
met with thirty different imitations of it issued in Germany and Holland.

There is but one quite perfect copy of the first edition of this book
known, and this fortunately is in the British Museum. It was bought at the
Weigel sale in Leipsic in 1872 for the large sum of £1,072 10s., exclusive
of commission.

Canticum Canticorum.--The Church's Love unto Christ prefigured in 'The Song
of Songs which is Solomon's.' This is a much more pleasing book than the
'Apocalypsis.' The figures are more gracefully designed and the engraver
has shown much more knowledge of his art; the indications of shading are in
many instances very happily given. It consists of only sixteen leaves with
two subjects, one above the other on each leaf; each picture is five inches
high by seven wide, and is printed by means of friction in dark-brown ink
or distemper, on thick paper.

Our illustration is from the second leaf. In the upper subject we see the
Bride and Bridegroom conversing, two maidens attending. The words on the
scroll on the left are Trahe me: post te curremus in odorem unguentorum
tuorum, 'Draw me, we will run after thee: because of the savour of thy good
ointments' (Song of Solomon, ch. i., v. 4 and 3). On the scroll to the
right, Sonet vox tua in auribus meis, vox enim tua dulcis et facies tua
decora, 'Let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance
is comely' (Song of Solomon, ch. ii., verse 14). In the lower subject, in
which the Bride is seen seated by her maidens and the Bridegroom is
standing near, on the left-hand scroll we read, En dilectus meus loquitur
mihi, Surge, propera, amica mea, 'My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise
up, my love, my fair one, and come away' (ch. ii., verse 10); and on the
right, Quam pulchra es amica mea, quam pulchra es! oculi tui columbarum,
absque eo quod intrinsecus latet, 'How beautiful art thou, my love, how
beautiful art thou! thy eyes are doves' eyes, besides what is hid within'
(ch. iv. 1). {23}

(_Much reduced_)]


On the sixth leaf, the Bride and Bridegroom are eating grapes in a
vineyard, three maidens attending, all seated. In the cut below, the
Bridegroom is standing outside a garden wall over which the Bride is
watching him. An angel is entering the gate, other angels with drawn swords
are on the wall.

It is supposed that these engravings were executed in the Netherlands: the
female figures are said to be in the costume of the Court of Burgundy!
There are several shields of arms to be found in three of the subjects, and
these have given rise to long dissertations by writers on heraldry. Mr.
Chatto's book has engravings of eighteen of them with descriptions. One is
the shield of Alsace, another of the house of Würtemberg, a third of the
city of Ratisbon; and the cross-keys, the _fleur-de-lis_, the black
spread-eagle, and a rose (much like our Tudor rose), may be seen on others.
Several copies of the 'Canticum' have been found, coloured and uncoloured.
Two editions of the Canticum Canticorum are known; both appear to have
emanated from Holland and the Low Countries, and both bear clear traces of
the influence of the school of the Van Eycks.

The Figure Alphabet.--In the Print Room of the British Museum there is a
curious little book (six inches by four inches in size) in which nearly all
the letters of the alphabet are formed by grotesque figures of men. Except
that it was bequeathed to the Museum by Sir George Beaumont, no one knows
anything of its history; but internal evidence warrants us in attributing
it to the work of an engraver of the first half of the fifteenth century.
The cuts are printed in a kind of sepia-coloured distemper which can be
easily wiped off by means of moisture. There is one very curious thing
connected with this work. In the cut forming the {25} letter L a young man
is leaning on a sword, on the blade of which is plainly written London, and
on the cloak of the youth lying below we read, in a current hand usual at
that date, the word _Bethemsted_. The figures, grotesque as they are, were
drawn by a better artist than those who designed the block books. We know
that the art of engraving was in a very low state in England at the time we
are speaking of; we should therefore rejoice if we could anyhow prove that
these very early specimens of wood-cutting were done in this country.


In the letter F, which we have given as an illustration, very much reduced
from the original, a tall man is blowing a very long trumpet; a youth,
bending down to form the crotch of the letter, is beating a tabor; while a
nondescript animal lies couched at his feet.

Many other block books exist in the British Museum, the Bodleian Library,
Oxford, the Spencer Library, Manchester, and in the large libraries on the
Continent besides those we have mentioned. Some were printed, long after
the introduction of printing, in Venice and in the cities of Lower Germany.

Before the beginning of the fifteenth century we have no record of any
examples of wood-engraving of an artistic kind, except, as we have said,
the designs on playing-cards, and the workmanship of these, whether it was
by woodcuts or by a stencil-plate, was very crude. The art really came into
existence in the first quarter of that famous fifteenth century. There were
scores of men at that time who could carve excellently well in stone or
wood, or who could design {26} and make beautiful jewels, and some of these
men, probably monks in their monasteries, as well as secular craftsmen,
drew and cut the first wood-engraving. No one knows who they were.

Up to the year 1475 the original method of wood-cutting changed very
little; nearly every print was in outline with a thick and a thin line. A
few, such as those in the 'Ars Moriendi,' had a little shading of the most
primitive kind. They were intended to be coloured, and, among the prints
that have been preserved, experts say they can detect the manner of
colouring prevalent in Upper or Lower Germany, the Rhine Provinces, or the
Netherlands. Towards the end of the century came a transition. Shading was
introduced and even cross-hatching was executed by the best wood-engravers
of the time. The art took, as it were, a sudden bound, and in a few years
attained a height which we at the end of the nineteenth century find it
hard to excel. But of this we must speak in a future chapter.

Ars Memorandi.--This very curious book--much more curious than
beautiful--contains fifteen designs and the same number of pages of
engraved text. The designs are intended to assist the memory in reading the
Gospels, and perhaps to assist the friars in preaching to the people. To
the Gospel of St. John, with which the book begins, there are three cuts
allotted, and as many pages of text; to St. Matthew five cuts and five
pages of text; to St. Mark, three cuts and three pages of text; and to St.
Luke, four cuts and four pages of text.

In every print an allegorical figure is represented; an eagle symbolical of
St. John, an angel of St. Matthew, a lion of St. Mark, and an ox of St.

The first cut is intended to represent, figuratively, the first six
chapters of St. John's Gospel. An upright eagle, with spread wings and
claws, has three human heads--that of the Saint with a dove above it is in
the middle, the head {27} of Christ is on its right, and that of Moses on
its left. A lute, from which three bells depend, lies across the eagle's
breast; this is supposed to refer to the Marriage in Cana, and a little
numeral tells us that the account of it is in the second chapter. Between
the outspread claws is a bucket surmounted by a crown. These are symbolical
of the Well of Samaria and the Nobleman's son at Capernaum in chapter iv.
On the bend of the eagle's outspread right wing is a fish and the numeral
5, referring to the Pool of Bethesda in chapter v., and on the left wing
are five barley loaves and two small fishes, and a small 6, referring to
the parable of the loaves and fishes in the sixth chapter. This very
singular book must have been a great favourite with the priests, and
perhaps with the laity, for it was reprinted over and over again. It
appears to have been of German origin.

Of the other block books mentioned in chapter ii. it would be tedious to
give an account; they are very similar to those we have just described.

       *       *       *       *       *




Historians tell us that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the
cities of the Netherlands were the most populous and the richest in all
Western Europe. Bruges, Ghent, Liège and Brussels by their manufactures,
and Antwerp by her commerce, in which she rivalled Venice, had become
celebrated for their great wealth, the grandeur of their rulers, and the
magnificence of their great Guilds. The more northern towns, too,
Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Utrecht, and many cities of Germany, such as Mentz,
Cologne, Strasburg, Nürnberg, Augsburg, and Basel, were rich and
prosperous. It was among these cities that the sister arts of printing and
wood-engraving first flourished.

From undoubted evidence accumulated by the patience and labour of many
bibliographers, it appears that the art of printing by means of movable
type was not invented by any one man, but was the result of a gradual
development of the art of engraving. In the fifteenth century, as in the
nineteenth, there was an ever-growing demand for school books. One of the
most popular of these in the fifteenth century was the 'Donatus,' a grammar
so called from the name of the author. There was also a Latin Delectus
called a 'Catho.' These were cheap books and were usually printed from
engraved wood blocks. These and the block books already described were
contemporary, and the immediate forerunners of separate types. (See Blades,
'Pentateuch of Printing,' p. 12.) {29}

In certain editions of the 'Speculum' there are to be seen woodcuts printed
in ink of one colour and text in ink of another colour, from metal movable
types. These types are rude in the extreme, far more so than the German
Indulgence of 1454, the very earliest known dated piece of printing. There
is no doubt that the Donatuses were at first printed from wood blocks, both
in Germany and the Low Countries, but there is not a single Dutch
block-book Donatus known, while there are some nineteen or twenty early
type-printed Dutch Donatuses already catalogued. Therefore it appears
likely that Gutenberg simply developed the process which had already been
for some time in use in the Low Countries for Donatuses and similar books.


The first book of importance that was printed at a press {30} and from
movable type was the celebrated Bible[2] which Gutenberg produced at Mentz
about the year 1455. About the same time it is asserted that Laurent
Janszoon Coster of Haarlem issued the _Speculum Humanæ Salvationis_, and
much discussion has risen as to which book has the prior claim. The Dutch
insist on Coster as being the proto-printer; the Germans not only assert
the claim of Gutenberg but say that Coster is a myth! The controversy is
still carried on and there is little likelihood that it will ever be

In the year 1462 there was a small revolution in Mentz, owing to the rival
claims of two Archbishops, and the city was sacked. The printers in the
employment of Gutenberg and his partners, Fust and Peter Schoeffer, were
scattered in every direction. Fifteen years afterwards printing-presses
were to be found in every large city of Germany and the Netherlands, as
well as in Italy and France; and about 1477, Caxton set up his first press
in the precincts of Westminster Abbey.

_Speculum Humanae Salvationis_--'The Mirror of Man's Salvation.'--This was
the first book, printed from type, that had wood engravings. It is a small
folio containing fifty-eight cuts, each of which is divided into two
subjects, inclosed in an architectural frame, in which is the title in
Latin. The cuts are placed at the head of the pages, of which they occupy
one-third. It is to be noticed that, though the cuts are all printed in
brown ink, the text beneath them is printed in black: probably because the
prints were to be coloured.

The arrangement and scope of this work are much like those of the 'Biblia
Pauperum'; the subjects are taken from the Old and New Testaments,
including the Apocrypha, and a few are from classic history.

The illustrations are from the first page: Casus {31} Luciferi--'The Fall
of Lucifer'--and Deus creavit hominem ad ymaginem et similitudinem
suam--'God created Man after His own image and likeness.'

(_Size of the original cut_)]


We see that the arts of drawing and engraving had improved since the time
of the 'Biblia Pauperum.' The figures are in better proportion: in many of
the designs the folds of the dress fall more gracefully and the shading is
more artistically done. There are four fifteenth-century editions of this
work known, two with the text in Dutch, and two in Latin. Three editions
are printed entirely with movable type, while part of the fourth--the
second Latin edition--is certainly from engraved blocks. No one can tell
the reason of this curious anomaly--we can only conjecture. Experts tell
the various editions by the state of the cuts; when these are unblemished,
it is assumed that they are of the first edition; when a few of the lines
of the cuts are broken, it is supposed that they belong to the second
edition; when many are broken, to the third edition, and so on.

Mr. Woodbery[3] has so graphically described the 'Speculum' that we cannot
do better than quote his words: 'A whole series needs to be looked at
before one can appreciate the interest which these designs have in
indicating the subjects on which imagination and thought were then
exercised, and the modes in which they were exercised. Symbolism and
mysticism pervade the whole. All nature and history seem to have existed
only to prefigure the life of the Saviour: imagination and thought hover
about Him, and take colour, shape, and light only from that central form;
the stories of the Old Testament, the histories of David, Samson, and
Jonah, the massacres, victories, and miracles there recorded, foreshadow,
as it were in parables, the narrative of the Gospels; the temple, the
altar, and the ark of the covenant, all the furnishings and observances of
the Jewish ritual, reveal occult meanings; the garden of Solomon's Song,
and the sentiment of the Bridegroom and the Bride who wander in it, are
interpreted, sometimes in graceful or even poetic feeling, under the
inspiration of mystical devotion; old kings of pagan Athens are transformed
into witnesses of Christ, and, with the Sibyl of Rome, attest spiritual
truth. {33}

[Illustration: THE GRIEF OF HANNAH
(_From the Cologne Bible_)]

{34} This book and others like it are mirrors of the ecclesiastical mind;
they picture the principal intellectual life of the Middle Ages; they show
the sources of that deep feeling in the earlier Dutch artists which gave
dignity and sweetness to their works. Even in the rudeness of these books,
in the texts as well as in the designs, there is a _naïveté_, an openness
and freshness of nature, a confidence in limited experience and contracted
vision, which make the sight of these cuts as charming as conversation with
one who had never heard of America or dreamed of Luther, and who would have
found modern life a puzzle and an offence. The author of the _Speculum_
laments the evils which fell upon man in consequence of Adam's sin, and
recounts them: blindness, deafness, lameness, floods, fire, pestilence,
wild beasts, and law-suits (in such order he arranges them); and he ends
the long list with this last and heaviest evil, that men should presume to
ask "why God willed to create man, whose fall He foresaw; why He willed to
create the angels, whose ruin He foreknew; wherefore He hardened the heart
of Pharaoh, and softened the heart of Mary Magdalene unto repentance;
wherefore He made Peter contrite, who had denied Him thrice, but allowed
Judas to despair in his sin; wherefore He gave grace to one thief, and
cared not to give grace to his companion." What modern man can fully
realise the mental condition of this poet, who thus weeps over the
temptation to ask these questions, as the supreme and direst curse which
Divine vengeance allows to overtake the perverse children of this world?'

By far the most excellent book issued about this time is The Psalter,
printed by Gutenberg's former partners, Fust and Schoeffer, at Mentz in
1459. The initial letters, which are printed in red and blue and the Gothic
type, all of which are in exact imitation of the best manuscripts, could
not be excelled at the present day. The book belongs more to the History of
Printing, but on account of its beautiful initial letters, which, it is
said, were drawn and engraved by Schoeffer, we feel constrained to notice
it. {35}

(_Much reduced_)]


A _Book of Fables_ issued from the press of Albrecht Pfister, of Bamberg,
in 1461, may be mentioned as a very early work in which woodcuts and type
were printed together; it is a small folio of twenty-eight leaves,
containing eighty-five fables in rhyme in the old German language,
illustrated with a hundred and one cuts. They are of little merit and show
no advancement in the art of wood-engraving. The only known copy of this
book, which is in the Wolfenbüttel Library, was taken away by the French
under Napoleon's orders and added to the Bibliothèque Nationale; it was
restored at the surrender of Paris in 1815.

We cannot give a list of all the books containing woodcuts that were issued
in Germany at the end of the fifteenth century; their name is legion. We
must, however, mention two or three of the most important.

In the Cologne Bible, printed about the year 1475, there are one hundred
and nine cuts, one of which we give as an example; they are about equal in
merit to those in the 'Biblia Pauperum,' but show no improvement. The
subject of the cut is 'The Grief of Hannah.' We see Elkanah and his two
wives, Hannah and Peninnah, in a room from which the artist has obligingly
taken away one of the sides. In the Nürnberg Bible, printed in 1482, we
find the same set of cuts.

The Nürnberg Chronicle, often quoted as an example of early German
wood-engraving, is a folio volume containing more than two thousand cuts,
which include views of cities, portraits of saints and other holy men,
scenes from Biblical and profane history, and a great many other subjects,
produced, we are told, under the superintendence of Michael Wolgemuth and
William Pleydenwurff, 'mathematical men skilled in the art of painting.'
The same head does duty for the portrait of a dozen or more historians or
poets--the {37} same portrait is given to many military heroes--the saints
are treated in the same way, and even the same view serves for several
different cities. The cuts are bolder and more full of colour than any we
have had before, and so far may be said to be in advance, and this we must
put down to the superintendence of Wolgemuth, who was an artist of repute.
Chatto says they are the most tasteless and worthless things that are to be
found in any book, ancient or modern--but this is too sweeping an
assertion. The work was compiled by Hartman Schedel, a physician of
Nürnberg, and printed in that city by Anthony Koburger in 1493.

The most important book of this time, so far as the woodcuts are concerned,
is a Latin edition of Breydenbach's Travels, which was printed in folio by
Erhard Reuwich in Mentz in 1486. We give a much reduced copy of the
frontispiece, which is without doubt the best example of wood-engraving of
the fifteenth century. In this cut we see for the first time cross-hatching
used in the shadows, in the folds of the drapery of the principal
figure--Saint Catherine, who is the patroness of learned men--in the upper
parts of the shields and beneath the top part of the frame. Bernard de
Breydenbach, who was a canon of the cathedral of Mentz, was accompanied in
his travels to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem and the shrine of St.
Catherine on Mount Sinai by John, Count of Solms and Lord of Mintzenberg,
and Philip de Bicken, Knight. The arms of the three travellers are given in
the cut with the names beneath them. Besides the frontispiece there are
many other good engravings in this volume--a picture of Venice, five feet
long and ten inches high; views of Corfu, Modon, in Southern Greece, and
the country round Jerusalem. There are also many pictures of animals, such
as a giraffe, a unicorn, a salamander, a camel, and a creature something
like an ouran-outang. Travellers saw wonderful things in those days! It is
a great pity that we do not know the names of the artists {38} who drew and
engraved the cuts in this most interesting book.

_From 'Navis Stultifera' (The Ship of Fools)_]

Just at the close of the century we find the first humorous conception of
German artists in the illustrations of the Navis Stultifera (Ship of
Fools), written by Sebastian Brandt and printed at Basel in 1497. This very
bold and original work had an immense success and was frequently reprinted.
Every page is adorned with the antics of clowns and men in fools' caps and
bells, in caricature of some absurdity, and the bibliomaniac is not spared:
'I have the first place among fools,' he is made to say; 'I have heaps of
books which I {39} rarely open. If I read them I forget them and am no
wiser.' As will be seen by the cut, though the perspective of the
draughtsman is not to be praised, the work of the engraver is excellent;
the fineness of the lines is new to us and the shadows are well treated.
Notice also the bindings of the books, with their bosses, hinges, and
clasps; nearly all are folios, and four or five are ornamented with the
same pattern. The decoration at the side is evidently copied from an
illuminated manuscript. With this book we may fitly close our notice of
German wood-engraving of the fifteenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *




Although at this time Germany took the lead of all European countries so
far as the illustrations of printed books are concerned, the transition
from German to Italian art is like the change from the strong bleak winds
of the North to the balmy air and sunny skies of the South. We are aware of
the difference both of climate and of art in a moment: the very first
picture presented to us reveals it. The Italians of the fifteenth century
could not take up a handicraft without making it a fine art. Here is a
title-page of a folio KALENDARIO produced in Venice in the year 1476. This
is the first title-page on which the contents of the book, the name of the
author, the imprint of the publishers, who were also the printers, and the
date of the issue of the book, were ever given. Mark the decoration. Though
the publishers were Germans, the artist who drew this border must have been
an Italian; and probably the engraver was an Italian also, for the book was
produced at Venice. The character of the design suggests the work of an
illuminator. The introduction of the printing-press must have interfered
sadly with the writer of manuscripts and his brother the illuminator, and
both were doubtless glad to avail themselves of the new art. The manuscript
writer may have turned compositor, and the illuminator may have been
transformed into a book decorator. {41}

PRINTED AT VENICE IN 1476 (_much reduced_)]

We have before us a facsimile of a cut called 'The Triumph of Love,' which
appeared as one of the illustrations of TRIUMPHI DEL PETRARCA, a book
printed in Venice, in 1488. A man, seated with his hands bound behind him,
is tied with a rope to a triumphal car which is drawn by four horses; on a
ball of fire, which rises from the car, a blindfolded Cupid is shooting an
arrow (apparently at the near leader); a great crowd of men and women,
among whom we see a king and a mitred bishop, follow and surround the car,
and on a distant hill we behold Petrarch conversing with his friend. There
are two rabbits feeding calmly in the {42} foreground, notwithstanding the
danger of the horses' hoofs, and the usual conventional designs for grass
and flowers. The groundwork of the border of this curious print is black,
with an Italian design carefully cut out in white, with but little shadow.
From the waviness of many of the lines which should be straight, we think
this print must be from an engraving on metal.

Of all the wood-engravings executed in Italy in the fifteenth century, none
can compare in excellence with those in the HYPNEROTOMACHIA POLIPHILI
(Dream of Poliphilo) printed in Venice, by Aldus, in 1499.[4] There are, in
all, one hundred and ninety-two subjects, of which eighty-six relate to
mythology and ancient history, fifty-four are pictures of processions and
emblematic figures, thirty-six are architectural and ornamental, and
sixteen vases and statues. They have been attributed to many different
artists, the most probable of whom is Carpaccio. The subject of the
'Hypnerotomachia' has been described as a 'Contest between Imagination and
Love'; it is a curious medley of all kinds of fable, history, architecture,
mathematics, and other matters, seasoned with suggestions which do not
reflect credit on the moral perceptions of its author, a Dominican monk,
named Francesco Colonna. An enthusiastic admirer of this book thus
poetically describes it: 'There is, perhaps, no volume where the exuberant
vigour of that age is more clearly shown, or where the objects for which
that age was impassioned are more glowingly described. {43}

_From 'Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,' printed by Aldus at Venice in 1499_]

The romantic and fantastic rhapsody mirrors every aspect of nature and art
in which the Italians then took delight--peaceful landscape, where rivers
flow by flower-starred banks and through bird-haunted woods; noble
architecture and exquisite sculpture, {44} the music of soft instruments,
the ruins of antiquity, the legends of old mythology, the motions of the
dance, the elegance of the banquet, splendour of apparel, courtesy of
manners, even the manuscript, with its cover of purple velvet sown with
Eastern pearls--everything that was cared for and sought in that time when
the gloom of asceticism lifted and disclosed the wide prospect of the world
lying, as it were, in the loveliness of daybreak.' But it is more on
account of the beauty of the cuts than the poetry of the author that this
book has been so much admired and so frequently reprinted. Our illustration
shows us where Poliphilo in his dream visits a bevy of fair maidens in a
garden. These nymphs are not very beautiful, but, though they have such
high waists, remark how gracefully their figures are drawn, and look at the
action and the drapery of the damsel running away. The engraving is,
without doubt, an exact facsimile of the artist's drawing; the lines are
clear and crisp, and are evidently the work of a practised hand. The
drawing of the gateway and trees is simply conventional. We are sorry that
we have not room for more of the illustrations of this remarkable work.

In these early books it seems to have been nobody's business to record the
name of the engraver who produced the illustrations, and, although the
printer's name is generally very conspicuous in the colophon, the artist's
name rarely, if ever, appears. But the work of certain masters of certain
schools is generally recognised with ease, either by some peculiarity of
manner, or by some particular mark. Thus one artist, who, towards the end
of the fifteenth century, illustrated a few books printed in Italy, is
known as 'the master of the dolphin,' because in most of his work this fish
appears among the decorations. Another is known to us only by the name of
'the illustrator of the "Poliphilus,"' that quaint romance of Colonna which
has taken a proud place in literature, not for its own intrinsic merits,
but {45} rather on account of the beauty of its woodcuts, the name of whose
author is still a matter of conjecture.

We may here say a few words about Aldo Manuzio, better known in England by
his Latinised name, Aldus Manutius, the celebrated printer, and some of the
other early printers of Venice. One of the first to set up a press in
Venice was Nicolas Jenson, a Frenchman, who had worked at Mentz, and who
was the first to cut and introduce Roman type such as is now in use. At his
death his business and plant were bought by a rich man, Andrea Torresano,
of Asola, and the work was carried on successfully. Aldo Manuzio, who was
born at Sermoneta, a village near Velletri, in 1450, received an excellent
education, especially in Greek; and the celebrated Pico da Mirandola made
him tutor to his nephews, Alberto and Leonardo Pio, Lords of Carpi. Alberto
Pio, under his master's training, became a great lover of literature; and
when Aldo conceived the idea of starting a printing-press, the young lord
advanced him the necessary funds, and gave him a house in Venice near the
Church of Sant' Agostino. Aldo then married a daughter of Torresano, and
the two printing businesses were joined and carried on together under
Aldo's direction. His house, we are told, was a veritable colony; besides
the compositors' rooms and the press-rooms, he had closets for
press-readers and studios for the special use of learned authors. The first
'printer's devil' was a little negro boy who had been brought by one of the
men from Greece.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century the wood-engravers of Florence
were celebrated for beautiful book illustrations in a distinct style. Those
in the QUATRO REGGIE, Florence, 1508, are typical examples; their chief
characteristics are, great breadth; masses of white and black {46} evenly
balanced; and the frequent use of white lines out of masses of black.


Some of the fine borders to these early Italian wood-engravings owe their
distinctive character to earlier work of {47} engravers on metal. Thus the
borders round the illustrations of the Venice folio of 1491 of the TRIUMPHS
OF PETRARCH seem to be direct copies of engravings in metal by Filippo
Lippi. The masses of white on a black background are very effective, and
the strength of the colour increases the effect of the picture which the
border surrounds.

Between 1474 and 1512 Aldus printed for the first time the works of
thirty-three Greek authors. The works of Aristotle, brought out in four
volumes, occupied three years. A learned Greek, Musurus of Crete, corrected
the proofs, in which Aldus himself assisted. The workmen were nearly all
Greeks. The Greek type was copied from the handwriting of Musurus, and the
Italian, known as the Aldine, from the writings of Petrarch; this was cut
by the celebrated artist-goldsmith, Francia of Bologna. The Aldine edition
of Virgil (1501), now exceedingly rare, was the first book printed in this
Italic type. Notwithstanding all his learning, energy, and philanthropy,
Aldus did not succeed in his business. Many of his books were pirated, wars
and insurrections interrupted him, the League of Cambray caused him to
close his works from 1506 to 1510, and he sold his books at a rate too
cheap to be remunerative.

The first printed edition of ÆSOP'S FABLES, which appeared at Verona as
early as 1481, and was reprinted at Venice in 1491, contains many excellent
engravings inclosed in ornamental borders, thoroughly Italian in character.
The figures are not unlike those in the 'Hypnerotomachia,' and we can
readily imagine that they were drawn by the same artist, who has given us
little more than outlines, which the engraver has well cut in facsimile.
The fable of 'The Jackdaw and the Peacock' is particularly well done. An
edition of OVID'S METAMORPHOSES appeared also at this time with tolerably
good illustrations not so well engraved.

There are some curious little cuts in the EPISTOLE DI SAN HIERONYMO
VOLGARE, published in Ferrara in 1497, which {48} are more valuable for
their originality than their beauty, either of drawing or engraving. The
book was evidently intended for the use of the illiterate, to whom the
quality of the pictures laid before them was of little consequence if they
told the story that was meant for them to read with their eyes. The homely
scene of Christ appearing like a Gardener with a hoe on His shoulder,
addressing Mary Magdalene in an Italian _pergola_, would appeal to their
feelings much more directly than the Transfiguration of Raphael.

[Illustration: A BOOTMAKER'S SHOP
_From the 'Decameron,' printed in Venice in 1492_]

We do not find record of any other important wood-engravings in the history
of printing in Italy at the end of the fifteenth century. Presses abounded
everywhere, chiefly managed by Germans; there was scarcely an important
town in Italy without a printer; few illustrated books, however, were
issued at this time. An edition of Boccaccio's {49} 'DECAMERON,' with many
excellent cuts, one of which, representing a bootmaker's shop, we give as
an illustration, was printed by the brothers Gregorio at Venice in 1492.
And there are some illustrations in a book called 'FIORE DI VIRTÙ,' which
appeared in Venice in the same year, that may be praised for the work of
the wood-engraver, though the designer shows a sad ignorance of the laws of
perspective and proportion. And we have before us an illustration to a poem
by POLIZIANO, in which Giuliano dei Medici is kneeling before the altar of
the goddess Minerva, where we see graceful drawing by the artist and fairly
good engraving. It {50} was printed in Florence, but the type bears no
comparison with the beauty of the Aldine books.


The love of colour, which is born in all Italians, led them to develop a
process of making pictures in chiaroscuro--by printing several wood-blocks
one upon another, each block giving a separate tint. In fact, it was the
beginning of the modern colour-printing. The invention of the new process
was claimed by Ugo da Carpi, who reproduced several of the designs of
Raphael. In the beginning of the next century we find pictures printed in
four different colours--trying to imitate water-colour, or, rather,
distemper drawings. (See p. 99.)

At Lyons, about the same time, there was an illustrated edition of
'TERENCE' published, with well-executed woodcuts, from which we are able to
give only the frontispiece, 'The Author writing his book.' It is sufficient
to show that the engraving is the work of a practised hand.

       *       *       *       *       *




Before we begin our brief history of wood-engraving in France it will be
well to speak of the technical part of the new art in the fifteenth
century. We have already stated that the engraving of the 'St. Christopher'
and other large prints were cut with a knife on planks of apple or pear or
other close-grained wood; but there has always been much doubt about the
small book illustrations which appeared in various countries quite at the
end of the century. The discovery, however, of some engraved blocks of
metal solved the difficulty. In those days workers in metal were to be
found in all large towns; the age of moulding and casting everything that
could be cast had not then arrived: of course, coins and medals were made
in the foundry; but handwork of the most perfect kind on metal was as
common as wood-carving for the churches.

Experts have discovered twisted lines in some of the old prints; a line in
a woodcut may easily be broken but it can hardly be bent, and it is now
asserted that many of the woodcuts, including the beautiful initial letters
in Fust and Schoeffer's 'Psalter,' were really engraved on metal. The view
of London at the head of the first page of the _Illustrated London News_
is, we are told, cut in brass; Mulready's well-known envelope, engraved on
brass by the celebrated wood-engraver, John Thompson, may be seen in the
South Kensington Museum; and scores of other examples of metalwork of this
kind might be cited.


(_Published by Vostre_)]

And there is no doubt that the famous illustrations of the Missal, or 'Book
of Hours,' issued in Paris between 1490 and 1520, were engraved on metal of
some kind, perhaps on copper or some amalgam of tin and copper. There was a
metal known as 'latten' in those days, and probably the engraving was done
on some material of this kind, not too hard to cut, not too soft to wear
away. It will be noticed that the groundwork of many borders in the French
books is filled with little white dots, _criblé_ it was called; these dots
are, in the first place, to imitate similar work in the gold grounds of the
borders of illustrated missals, and, in the second place, to save the
labour of cutting away so much of the metal as would be required for a
white ground. These dots were evidently {53} made by means of a sharp and
finely-pointed tool driven by a blow into the metal. (See page 59.)

France was not early in the field with illustrated books, but she quickly
made up for the delay by the excellence of her work, more especially in
ornament. In 1488, Pierre Le Rouge, a printer and publisher, sent forth a
book, 'LA MER DES HISTOIRES,' which contains many charming designs, from
which beautiful wall-papers we know of have been borrowed; they are as well
engraved as similar work at the present day, and only needed better
'over-laying' by the pressman, an art but little practised at that time.
This book contains the first decorative work by wood-engraving we have met
with, and shows the great excellence of art in France at this period. There
is a good example, though much reduced in size, among the illustrations of
Mr. William Morris's paper 'On the Woodcuts of Gothic Books,' that he read
before a meeting of the Society of Arts in January 1892: it is printed in
the Journal of the Society for February 12th.

Besides Le Rouge, there were in Paris at the end of the fifteenth and
beginning of the sixteenth centuries four celebrated printers, who were
also publishers, whose books command our attention. Their names are Simon
Vostre, Antoine Verard, Thielman Kerver, a German, and Guyot Marchant; they
all published the 'Book of Hours,' illustrated and decorated by the best
artists and engravers of their time. There was likewise a printer named
Philippe Pigouchet, who was also an engraver on wood, and who began by
cutting blocks for Simon Vostre, and afterwards turned publisher on his own
account. An important point to notice in connection with the illustrations
of French 'Books of Hours' at this time is that they are nearly all
inspired by German artists and nearly all copied from illuminated MSS.


(_From a Missal published by Simon Vostre_)]

{55} At the end of the fifteenth century the art of illumination was at its
height in Paris. No one excelled the exquisite work of Jean Foucquet,
servant to the King, and Jean Perreal, painter to Anne of Brittany.
Manuscripts containing their miniature paintings command a large sum
whenever they are offered for sale at the present day. These artists, it is
said, gave their aid to the publishers of the 'Book of Hours' (_Heures à
l'usage de Rome_), which had such an enormous sale that each publisher
produced an edition for himself. Mr. Noel Humphreys asserts, in his
'History of the Art of Printing,' that no fewer than sixty editions were
published between 1484 and 1494. In his 'Introduction to the Study and
Collection of Ancient Prints,' Dr. Willshire says: 'Towards the end of the
fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries some well-known French
printers--Pigouchet, Jean Dupré, Antoine Verard, and Simon
Vostre--published some beautiful "Books of Hours," ornamented with
engravings having some peculiar characters. The chief of these were that
the ground and often the dark portions of the print were finely _criblé_ or
dotted white, serving as a means of "killing black"--a practice then
prevalent among French engravers; secondly, each page of text was
surrounded by a border of little subjects engraved in the same manner, and
often repeated at every third page.... Not unfrequently they were printed
in brilliant ink on fine vellum, that they might compete with the
illuminated MS. "Books of Hours" then in fashion. The prints decorating
these books have been generally considered to be impressions from wood.'
But Mr. Linton says they are from engraved blocks of metal; and every
practical man will, we are sure, agree with the great living Master of

Our first illustration is from a 'Book of Hours,' or Missal, published by
Simon Vostre in 1488. It represents 'The Death of the Virgin,' a subject
that was always chosen by the illustrator of religious books in those days;
in our account of wood-engraving in the next two centuries we shall
frequently meet with it among the works of the great artists. {56}

(_After a painting by Martin Schongauer. From a Missal by Simon Vostre_)]

{57} The Gothic framework of the cut is evidently borrowed from church
ornament. The expression of the faces in the crowd of visitors is far in
advance of anything we have seen hitherto in the German cuts; and the
engraving, which was probably on metal, is evidently facsimile of the
drawing and is remarkably well executed. The narrow border on the right of
the cut is from an illuminated manuscript. In another of Vostre's Missals
we find a copy of an engraving after the German painter, Martin Schongauer,
'Christ bearing the Cross,' enclosed in a French Renaissance frame. In the
sky there is a good example of the _criblé_ work of which we have spoken.
The towers of Jerusalem in the background must have been evolved from the
artist's inner consciousness: he certainly never saw the Holy City.

Antoine Verard also published many 'Livres d'Heures,'[5] very much like
Vostre's. We are told that he frequently printed a few copies on the finest
vellum and had them coloured in exact imitation of the illuminated Missals.
One of Verard's patrons was the Duc d'Angoulême, a noted bibliophile, who
commissioned him to print on vellum the romance of 'TRISTAN,' the 'Book of
Consolation' of Boethius, the 'Ordinaire du Chrétien,' and the 'Heures en
François,' all with illuminated borders and handsome bindings. For this
great amount of work Verard received about 240l., then equivalent perhaps
to 1,000l. of the present day. We give an outline copy of one of the pages
of the romance of 'TRISTAN,' which will repay much attention both for the
principal subject, the King's Banquet, and the tapestry on the wall, which
ought to be coloured to be properly appreciated. This famous publisher
issued also a huge chronicle in five folio volumes, the 'Miroir
Historical,' profusely illustrated with good wood engravings; the first
volume in 1495, the last in 1496. {58}

[Illustration: THE KING'S BANQUET
(_From the romance of 'Tristan,' published by Antoine Verard_)]

Thielman Kerver, the German, also brought out many 'Books of Hours,'
copying those issued by Simon Vostre in a most barefaced way; indeed,
piracy of this kind was rampant all over Europe, and but little regarded.
We give {59} a reduced copy of Kerver's book-mark; in the original it will
be seen that the background is _criblé_, thus suggesting that it was cut on


It was Guyot Marchant who produced, in 1485, the first edition of the
'DANCE OF DEATH,' which contained seventeen engravings on ten folio leaves,
with the text printed in the old Gothic characters. This awe-inspiring but
highly popular subject had been painted on the walls of many public
buildings in Germany and France, and in past ages it had always been a
great favourite with the lower classes (many of our readers will remember a
version of it on the walls of the curious old wooden bridge at Lucerne, the
designs of which have doubtless been handed down by tradition)--but {60}
Marchant was the first who printed the story in a series of woodcuts, well
drawn and admirably engraved, and he had his reward, for the work was
reprinted over and over again. The Pope, the Emperor, the Bishop, the Duke
and the Duchess are given with much spirit, and are evidently the work of a
clever draughtsman, who might, however, have made his Death a little less
hideous. But there was a great love of the horrible in those days.

A special chapter might well be devoted to the beautiful marks used by
French printers. Guyot Marchant's mark represents leather-workers engaged
at their trade, and above are a few musical notes. There are two varieties
of this device. The mark of Jehan Du Pré is an elaborate piece of work, in
which heraldry plays a conspicuous part, while that of Antoine Caillaut is
pictorial. The Le Noirs used devices in which the heads of negroes figured
prominently. The well-known mark of Badius Ascensius represents printers at
work. Jehan Petit used several beautiful cuts, in which his mark forms part
of an elaborate design.

       *       *       *       *       *




In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many of the finest churches in
England were built by architects so celebrated that some of them were sent
for to erect similar buildings in France. The beautiful carvings and highly
decorated monuments still existing in our cathedrals prove that the art of
sculpture in England was at that time little inferior to that of other
countries. And in the British Museum and Bodleian Library, and many private
collections, there is plentiful evidence that the miniature painters and
illuminators were but little behind their brethren in Italy and France;
even the binders, as we see by existing work, used excellent ornament in
the decoration of the covers of their books. Why is it, then, that we find
the art of wood-engraving, when it was flourishing in all the chief
countries on the Continent, almost at its earliest state of infancy in
England? This is a question very difficult to answer. Certainly our great
printers, William Caxton, and his successors, Wynkyn de Worde and Richard
Pynson, did not follow the example of the great typographers of Venice or
the yet more-to-be-praised booksellers of Paris, who devoted so much energy
and taste in the decoration of their books.

Of the few cuts printed in the fifteenth century, such as they are, we must
say a few words. The earliest are all {62} small devotional pictures,
representing Scriptural subjects, as 'The Image of Pity,' a figure of
Christ on the Cross surrounded by emblems of the Passion; four or five only
of these early cuts have been found.

William Caxton, the first English printer, who was born in the Weald of
Kent about the year 1422, was apprenticed to Robert Large, a rich mercer of
London, who was Lord Mayor in 1440. In the following year the master died
and Caxton went to Bruges, where he prospered in business, and in 1462 was
made Governor of a Company of English Merchants who traded in Flanders,
then the foremost mercantile country in the world. In 1471 Caxton gave up
commerce and attached himself to the court of Margaret, Duchess of
Burgundy, the sister of Edward IV. At the request of the duchess, he then
translated the _Le Recueil des Histoires de Troye_, written by Raoul
Lefevre, and employed Colard Mansion of Bruges to produce it. This was the
first book printed in the English language. In passing his book through the
press Caxton learned the new art, and with type bought of Colard Mansion he
set up the first printing-press in England, at the sign of 'The Red Pale'
in the Almonry at Westminster, at the end of the year 1476. 'The Dictes and
Sayings of Philosophers,' which appeared in 1477, is believed to be the
first book printed in England; this was followed by 'The Morale Prouerbes
of Cristyne,' and several other books, all without illustration. In 1478 he
printed 'The Mirrour of the World,' the first book printed in England with
cuts, one of which we give as an example; and the more famous 'Game and
Playe of the Chesse,' from the second edition of which we have taken as a
specimen 'The Knight,' which Caxton thus describes: 'The knyght ought to be
maad al armed upon a hors in such wise that he have an helme on his heed
and a spere in his right hond, and coverid with his shelde, a swerde and a
mace on his left syde, clad with an halberke and plates tofore his breste,
legge harnoys on his legges, spores on his heelis, on hys handes hys
gauntelettes, hys hors wel broken and taught, and apte to bataylle, and
coveryd with hys armes.' {63}

[Illustration: MUSIC
(_From Caxton's 'Mirrour of the World'_)]

(Orthography was not much regarded in those days.) This book is so rare and
so keenly sought for that at the sale at Osterley Park in 1855 a perfect
copy was bought for the enormous sum of 1,950l. In 1483 appeared 'The
Golden Legende,' considered to be his _magnum opus_, on account of the
beauty of the typography; and about 1490 'The Talis of Cauntyrburye' with
27 cuts representing individual pilgrims, and one with all the pilgrims
seated round a large table. It is {64} said that Caxton printed ninety-nine
different works, of which sixty-four survive either in perfect books or in
fragments, which may be consulted at the British Museum. He produced the
first printed edition of Chaucer, Lydgate, Gower, and Sir Thomas Malory's
'King Arthur.' He was an accomplished linguist, and translated and
published Cicero's Orations 'De Senectute' and 'De Amicitia,' Virgil's
'Æneid' and many other classical works.

[Illustration: THE KNIGHT
(_From Caxton's 'Game and Playe of the Chesse'_)]

With one exception none of his books has a title-page, though some have
prologues and colophons; and the pages are not numbered. They are all
printed in the Gothic {65} character known as 'black letter,' and nearly
all are in small folio size. Caxton, we are assured, received the patronage
and friendship of all the great men of his time and was much esteemed
throughout Europe; and from a miniature painting in a beautiful manuscript
in the library of Lambeth Palace we know that Earl Rivers presented him
with his first book in his hand to the King, Edward IV. It is supposed that
he died at the end of 1491 in his sixty-ninth year.

_With Caxton's Initials_]

Wynkyn de Worde, Caxton's pupil and successor, was a native of Lorraine. He
probably came over with him from Bruges, and so attached was he to his
master, and so highly did he esteem him, that in all the nine book-marks
that De Worde used, he always included the initials W. C. The mark we have
given is of rare occurrence, and is one of the best pieces of engraving of
the time. Bibliographers have found four hundred books printed by him;
among them is 'The Golden Legende,' with woodcuts (1493); a translation of
'Huon de Bordeaux,' from which Shakespeare borrowed the plot of his
'Midsummer Night's Dream'; and his best-known {66} work, often reprinted,
'Treatyses perteynynge to Hawkynge and Huntynge, and Fyshynge with an
Angle,' by Dame Juliana Berners (1496), which contains many woodcuts, one
of which, a man fishing, is very quaint (_see engraving_). A book which was
'imprynted at London in Flete Street in 1531,' called 'Pilgrymage of
Perfeccyon, A devoute Treatyse in Englysshe,' is illustrated by three
curiously folded woodcuts. De Worde was the first printer in England who
used the Roman type. Several of his books have a woodcut on the title-page.

In his 'History of Wood-engraving,' Mr. Chatto gives his opinion about the
cuts of this period:--'Although I am inclined to believe that within the
fifteenth century there were no persons who practised wood-engraving in
this country as a distinct profession, yet it by no means follows from such
an admission that Caxton's and De Worde's cuts must have been engraved by
foreign artists. The manner in which they are executed is so coarse that
they might have been cut by any person who could handle a graver. Looking
at them merely as specimens of wood-engraving, they are not generally
superior to the practice-blocks cut by a modern wood-engraver's apprentice
within the first month of his novitiate.'

Soon there were other printers in London. Richard Pynson began to publish
books from his own press in Fleet Street. His first book illustrated with
woodcuts appears to have been 'The Canterbury Tales,' printed before 1493.
In the following year Pynson issued Lydgate's 'Falle of Princis' with
numerous small woodcuts by a master-hand, which appear too good to be


(_From 'The Book of St. Albans,' printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1496_)]

For a 'Sarum Missal' of 1500, he used some beautifully engraved borders and
ornaments, as well as a large cut of Archbishop Morton's coat of arms.
Another of his important works was Lord Berners' translation of Syr John
Froissart's 'Cronycles of Englande, Fraunce, Spayne, &c.' We give a {68}
copy of Pynson's 'Mark,' but we fear both this and De Worde's were engraved
on the Continent.


In 1498, Julian Notary established an office from which twenty-three books
have been traced. Many of them have curious woodcuts, some of which seem to
have descended to him from Caxton and Wynkyn de Worde. We find the
decoration of the covers of Notary's works mentioned with approval in the
early history of book-binding, which arrived at a much greater perfection
than wood-engraving in this country at the close of the fifteenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *




We must now retrace our brief history to Germany, where, under the
immediate direction and control of such well-known artists as Albrecht
Dürer of Nürnberg (_b._ 1471, d. 1528) and Hans Burgkmair of Augsburg (_b._
1472, d. 1531), as well as of Lucas Cranach, a Franconian (_b._ 1472, d.
1553), and, afterwards, of Hans Holbein of Augsburg (_b._ 1497, d. 1543),
the art of wood-engraving in its grandest and purest form arrived at its
first culmination. This was in a great measure due to the liberal patronage
of the Emperor Maximilian, who, possessing a great love of art, esteemed
all painters, architects, designers, and engravers as highly as his
warriors. He was fond of magnificence in a truly imperial way, and the
superb series of wood-engravings--the noblest the world has ever
seen--known as 'The Triumphs of Maximilian,' were the outcome of this
generous tendency. Of these celebrated works, which were not completed when
the Emperor died in 1519, we must speak in their proper place.

It was to the genius of Albrecht Dürer and the engravers who translated his
drawings into woodcuts that the art received its new vigour. Up to this
time wood-engraving in Germany had been the work of craftsmen who were
little better than mechanics; but when Dürer and Burgkmair, who knew the
capabilities of the art, made drawings on the wood expressly for the
engravers to reproduce in exact lines, there {70} was a quick improvement
which went on increasing in excellence for more than half a century. After
the death of Holbein and his immediate successors, the art faded into
insignificance in Germany for many years.

The first important work of the early life of Albrecht Dürer was a series
of fifteen large drawings on wood representing allegorical Scenes from the
Apocalypse. They are mystical, indeed almost incomprehensible; at the same
time we are obliged to notice the tremendous vigour and the wonderful power
of invention in the man who designed them. But his attempt to embody the
supernatural led him into the most extravagant conceptions. 'In attempting
to bring such themes within the power of expression which art possesses,'
writes Mr. Woodbery, 'he strove to give speech to the unutterable.' Yet the
genius of the true artist was apparent through all his work. The most
celebrated of the Apocalypse designs is the fourth in the book, 'The
Opening of the First Four Seals,' a wonderfully grand conception of the
Four Horsemen going forth to conquer; Death on the pale horse below, and
'Hell following him.' (Revelation vi. 8.) King, burgher, peasant and
priest, have all fallen beneath him. Although we are expressly told that
Dürer himself printed this work in 1498, it by no means follows that he
engraved the woodcuts; they are greatly in advance of any previous work of
the kind, and this may be attributed to the fact that the artist who
designed them knew the best capabilities of the art. If he and the unknown
engraver had learned the advantages of lowering the face of the wood when
delicate lines were required, and the present methods of overlaying the
cuts to produce greater intensity of colour, some of the engravings of
Dürer's time would be models of excellence.

The series of the Apocalypse was succeeded by three others in which the
human interest is far greater. These were what the artist himself called
'The Larger Passion of {71} Our Lord,' a series of eleven large cuts, with
a vignette on the title-page; 'The Life of the Virgin,' a series of twenty
cuts; and 'The Smaller Passion of Our Lord,' a series of thirty-six cuts of
less size, with a well-known vignette of 'Christ Mocked' on the title-page.
These works mark an important era in the history of wood-engraving and
clearly led onwards to its future development. They were all published
between 1510 and 1512, and so great was their popularity that the
celebrated Italian engraver, Marc Antonio Raimondi, reproduced the whole of
'The Smaller Passion' in copper-plate--much, as may be imagined, to Dürer's

In the 'Larger Passion of Our Lord' we find representations of the Last
Supper, Christ on the Mount of Olives, the Betrayal, the Scourging, Christ
Mocked, Christ Bearing his Cross, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and
other subjects from the New Testament; and so deeply did the highly-wrought
artist feel the awful importance of his subject that he repeated some of
these events in at least five different series. In all of them his
characters are dressed in the uncouth habiliments of German peasants, and
we see bits of German villages; but in this respect he only followed the
example of the great Italian painters, who clothed the most sacred figures
in the costumes of their own towns, and, when possible, gave an Italian
landscape for a background to their pictures of the Holy Land.

The series of twenty large engravings called 'The Life of the Virgin' was
published and sold by Dürer himself in book form at about the same time
(1510), and was equally well received by the German people, who were at
that time in a state of religious ferment consequent on the preachings of
Martin Luther, and Dürer was one of his prominent disciples.


_Engraved by Jerome Andre_ (_?_)]

{73} But it was the series of thirty-seven smaller woodcuts, known as 'The
Lesser Passion,' that was most popular; in some measure, perhaps, because
the prints are of a more handy size. All the subjects of 'The Larger
Passion' are repeated, with variations, in this series, and twenty-five
others from the Life of Christ are added. By a happy chance, thirty-five of
the original woodcuts of this series are preserved in the British Museum.
In the year 1840 they were reprinted, by permission of the trustees, under
the care of Mr. Henry Cole. The wood was found to be much worm-eaten, but
all injury was deftly repaired by Mr. Thurston Thompson, and a small
edition of the work was issued[6] with an exhaustive introduction by Mr.

The most admired of all the works of Dürer are the large plates known as
'The Knight, Death, and the Devil,' 'The Conversion of St. Eustace,'
'Melencolia,' 'St. Jerome in his Chamber,' and several others which he
engraved or etched on copper with his own hands and which he himself
published. Fine impressions of these marvellous works are now as eagerly
sought for as celebrated Rembrandt etchings.

Dürer made also many drawings on wood which were engraved and printed under
his immediate supervision, and issued in separate sheets. Of one of the
most beautiful, of these, 'The Virgin crowned by two Angels,' we are able
to give an impression which is an exact facsimile (reduced) of a print of
the year 1518. Nothing of its kind can exceed the brilliancy of the
original, the engraving is as nearly perfect as possible, and were it not
for the hardness of the lines in the faces and other objects where softness
is required, no craftsman of the present day could surpass its excellence
as a product of the printing-press. Many other separate large
wood-engravings, after Dürer's drawings, appeared between the years 1510
and 1518, such as 'The Holy Family with the three Rabbits,' 'St. Jerome in
his Chamber,' 'The Flight into Egypt,' 'Beheading of St. John the Baptist,'
and, among other strange subjects, a representation of a Rhinoceros. {74}
Dürer also designed a frontispiece to his own book of poems, published in

Three magnificent books illustrated with woodcuts of great size, the
'Theuerdank,' the 'Werskunig,' and the 'Freydal,' appeared in Germany early
in the sixteenth century. The first is an epic relating to the Emperor
Maximilian's journey to Burgundy on matrimonial affairs; it was published
in 1517. Hans Schaufelein drew the designs for a hundred and eighteen cuts,
measuring 6½ inches by 5½ inches each. The second is in honour of the
Emperor's journeys in distant lands, and the third to celebrate his deeds
of prowess. There are 237 designs, chiefly by Hans Burgkmair of Augsburg,
in the 'Werskunig'; the blocks are still preserved; they remained unused
till long after the Emperor's death, and were not published till 1775. The
'Freydal' has never been completed, though the designs are still in


But we have yet to speak of 'The Triumphs of Maximilian.' This imperial
work, the most important production of the art of wood-engraving the world
has ever seen, was executed by command of the Emperor Maximilian to convey
to posterity a pictorial representation of the magnificence of his court,
the splendour of his victories, and the extent of his dominions. It
consists of three distinct sets of designs: (I.) The 'Triumphal Arch,'
(II.) the 'Triumphal Car,' both from the hand of Albrecht Dürer, and (III.)
the 'Triumphal Procession,' by Hans Burgkmair. The size of the work is
immense; if the whole series were laid out side by side it would cover
about one hundred and ninety-two feet (64 yards!) The drawings were made on
pear-wood and were cut by about eleven different engravers, of whom the
most famous was Jerome of Nürnberg. Many of the original blocks are happily
preserved in the Imperial Library at Vienna, and on the backs of them are
written the names or {75} initials of the various engravers. It is evident,
therefore, that at the beginning of the sixteenth century there was a
recognised school of wood-engravers in Germany of considerable importance.
One of them, Jobst de Neger, or Dienecker, came from Antwerp; a few lived
at Nürnberg, others at Augsburg.

Some idea of the 'Triumphal Arch' is conveyed to our mind when we learn
that it was drawn on ninety-two separate blocks of wood, and that when
properly joined it is ten and a half feet high and nine and a half feet
wide! It was designed 'after the manner of those erected in honour of the
Roman Emperors at Rome;' there are three gateways or entrances--that in the
centre is called the Gate of Honour and Power, on the right is the Gate of
Nobility, on the left the Gate of Fame, a part of which is seen in the
illustration. The arch itself is decorated with portraits of the Roman
Emperors from the time of Julius Cæsar, shields of arms showing the descent
of the Emperor and his alliances, representations of his most famous
exploits, including his adventures while chamois-hunting in the Tyrol, with
explanatory verses in the German language cut in the wood. Above the
central entrance is a grand tower surmounted by a figure of Fortune holding
the imperial crown. The whole is a kind of epitome of the history of the
German Empire. The 'projector of the design' was Hans Stabius, who calls
himself the historiographer and poet of the Emperor. The work was begun in
1515--four years before the Emperor's death--and was not quite finished at
the time of the death of the artist in 1528. Although we do not see the
greatest excellence of Dürer's peculiar genius in this immense production
executed to order, for it is too full of German fantasies and very unlike
the classic simplicity of the old Roman arches, it will be found to contain
the finest work of the wood-engraver at that period. Some parts of it are
of a marvellous delicacy that can hardly be surpassed. {76}

[Illustration: THE GATE OF FAME
(_From the 'Triumphal Arch' by Albrecht Dürer. Engraved by Jerome Andre._)]


The 'Triumphal Car,' also designed by Dürer at the suggestion of Stabius,
is a richly decorated chariot drawn by six pairs of horses. In it the
Emperor in his imperial robes is seated under a canopy amid allegorical
figures representing Justice, Truth, Clemency, Temperance, and the like,
who offer to him triumphal wreaths. Over the canopy is an inscription: quod
. in . celis . sol . Hoc . in . terra . Caesar . est. The Car is driven by
Reason with Reins of Nobility and Power, and the horses are guided by
female figures of Swiftness, Prudence, Boldness, and similar equine
virtues. The whole of the design is seven feet four inches in length and
about a foot and a half in height.

To modern eyes the car is not prepossessing, the figures of the attendant
damsels are by no means elegant, and the horses would not, we fear, meet
with the approval of English critics. It brings to us a reminiscence of the
funeral car of the Duke of Wellington, which, we remember, was designed by
a German artist. Some parts of the decorations are excellent and the whole
is well engraved.

The 'Triumphal Procession' is still more important. It consists of a series
of one hundred and thirty-five large cuts, which, joined together, would
cover in length one hundred and seventy-five feet (upwards of 58 yards!) A
herald, mounted on a fantastic, four-footed winged gryphon, leads the
procession; next follow two led horses bearing a tablet with these words,
doubtless by Stabius: 'This Triumph has been made for the praise and
everlasting memory of the noble pleasures and glorious victories of the
most serene and illustrious prince and lord, Maximilian, Roman Emperor
elect, and head of Christendom, King and Heir of seven Christian kingdoms,
Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy and of other grand principalities and
provinces of Europe.' More horses follow, then come falconers with hawks on
their wrists, hunters of the chamois and the bear, behind them are elks and
buffaloes, richly caparisoned stags four abreast, and camels drawing
decorated chariots in which ride the musicians.


(_From 'The Triumphal Procession' by Burgkmair. Cut by Dienecker and other

The Emperor's favourite jester, Conrad von der Rosen, follows on horseback,
bearing an immense flag; then come fools, fencing-masters, and soldiers of
all kinds armed for every service, horsemen three abreast, with banners
inscribed with the names of the great battles which the Emperor had won,
cars filled with trophies taken from conquered nations, among them the
'Savages of Calicut'--natives of India--one of them riding a huge elephant,
and numerous other figures filled up the immense length of the engraving.

(_From 'The Triumphal Procession' by Burgkmair. Cut by Dienecker and other

The whole work, though evidently intended to be a glorification of the
great Emperor, is much {80} more valuable to us at the present day as a
marvellous record of the barbaric magnificence of the middle ages, and an
outward aspect of secular life. 'The ideal of worldly power and splendour,
the spirit of pleasure and festival, is shown forth in this marvellously
varied march of laurelled horses and horsemen, whose trappings and armour
have the beauty and glitter of peaceful parade. There is nowhere else a
work which so presents at once the feudal spirit and feudal delights in
such exuberance of picturesque and feudal display.'

Dürer's designs for the 'Prayer-book of Maximilian' also claim a short
notice. Only three copies of the work are known to be in existence, one of
which is in the British Museum. The margins are full of fanciful designs;
amid intertwining branches, birds are singing, apes are climbing, snakes
creeping, and gnats flying. King David is charming a stork with his harp; a
fox is playing a flute to poultry. It is a curious mixture of the sacred
and profane, for which Dürer has often been censured. The engraving of the
subjects, which are in outline, is excellent.

       *       *       *       *       *




Hans Holbein, who first saw the light at Augsburg in the year 1497, was the
greatest artist ever born in Germany, and as he passed half of his artistic
life in England we may claim some little share in the glory of his
undisputed eminence.

The son of a worthy painter of sacred pictures for the Church, he was
brought up amidst all the paraphernalia of the studio, and at a very early
age began to design title-pages, initial letters, and ornaments for
numerous important books published by Johann Froben, Valentine Curio, and
other printers of Basel, and Christoph Froschover, of Zürich. Some of these
folio title-pages, most of which are of an architectural character, are
veritable works of art, and are greatly treasured at the present day. Next
we find him making illustrations for the New Testament, some of which were
engraved on wood and some on metal, probably by Dienecker or Lützelburger,
though of this we have no direct evidence.

But Holbein's greatest fame, as a designer of book-illustrations, is
derived from his well-known series of the 'Dance of Death,' which was first
given to the world in the year 1538, though from some proofs still in
existence they are known to have been engraved before the artist's first
visit to London in 1527. It is believed that the original forty-one
drawings on wood were all cut by Hans Lützelburger, who has been very
properly called the 'True Prince of Wood-Engravers,' for, in the opinion of
our foremost critics, these 'Dance of Death' cuts are the masterpieces of
the art at that period, excelling even the work of Jerome Andre of Nürnberg
on Dürer's 'Triumphal Arch.' {82}


Seventeen other designs were added to the 'Dance of Death' afterwards,
making the complete series fifty-eight. The original blocks are lost; they
have been copied on the Continent many times, and were reproduced in
England in perfect facsimile and in the very best manner under the
superintending care of Francis Douce, a celebrated antiquary, by John and
Mary Byfield and George Bonner, all excellent engravers. Accompanied by a
learned dissertation by Mr. Douce, the work {83} was published by William
Pickering[7] in the year 1833. It is from electrotypes of these blocks that
we are enabled to present to our readers the designs of 'The King,' 'The
Queen,' 'The Astrologer,' and 'The Pedlar,' four of the best of the series.


Wall-pictures of 'The Dance of Death,' with but little artistic merit,
existed at a much earlier period, and some of them may still be traced in
the cloisters of old cathedrals. The subject was a great favourite with
both priest and people in the Middle Ages; it appealed to the feelings of
rich and poor, old and young, and Holbein's 'fearful' pictures, as soon as
they appeared, met with immense popularity, which, to this day, has never
ceased. {84}


Almost every class is represented in them--the King at his well-spread
board is served by his fellow King, who fills his bowl; the Queen, walking
with her ladies, is led into an open grave; in a landscape, in which we see
a flock of sheep, Death appears to an aged Bishop; here we see Death
running away with the Abbot's mitre and crozier; there he visits the
Physician and the Astrologer. In the church is a Preacher who holds the
people in awe, behind him is a Preacher more dread still; the Miser with
his bags, the Merchant with his bales, are alike surprised by Death; the
Knight's armour is defenceless, the Pedlar with his basket cannot escape,
the Waggoner with {85} his wine-cart is overthrown. All are represented in
their turn--the Duchess in her bed, the poor woman in her hovel, the child
who is ruthlessly taken from his mother. We can imagine the sensation which
such a work would create among a very impressionable people at that season
of religious ferment, the greatest the world has ever known. Thirteen
editions from the original blocks are known to have been printed between
the years 1538 and 1563.


About the same time another series of wood-engravings appeared, consisting
of eighty-six designs by Holbein, drawn on wood larger than the 'Dance of
Death' blocks and just as well engraved, probably by Lützelburger; these
were 'Scenes from Old Testament History,' generally known as 'Holbein's
Bible Cuts'; they were issued separately with descriptions in verse and
were also used to illustrate Bibles. {86}

_Engraved by Lützelburger_]

This series was also reproduced by the same artists who cut the 'Dance of
Death,' under the superintendence of Mr. Douce; and it is from electrotypes
of these blocks that we are enabled to give our two Bible illustrations,
'The Happiness of the Godly' (Psalm i.), and 'Joab's Artifice' (2 Samuel
xiv. 4). They copy the original prints in exact facsimile, and, looking at
them, one cannot but wonder at the high state of perfection to which the
art of wood-engraving had attained nearly four hundred years ago. At that
time, Germany stood alone in its excellence; France, and even Italy, were
far behind her; and England and Spain were nowhere. We ought to add that
both the 'Dance of Death' and the 'Bible Cuts' were {87} issued, with text,
by the brothers Trechsel, the celebrated publishers of Lyons, in 1538, when
Holbein must have been in England.

A wonderful alphabet, with 'Dance of Death' figures, evidently designed by
Holbein, has Hanns Lützelburger (Formschnider) genant Franck printed at the
foot of the page. These letters were probably engraved on metal. A
'Peasant's Dance' and 'Children's Sports,' designed as headings of chapters
by the same artist, are well known, as they have been frequently

_Engraved by Lützelburger_]

In the works of 'The Little Masters' who succeeded Dürer and Holbein we are
not much concerned. Albrecht Altdorfer (d. 1538) was a designer as well as
an engraver on wood. Hans Beham (d. 1550?) is best known by his {88}
twentysix designs from the Apocalypse which Mr. Linton praises as of
'supremest excellence.' He says, moreover, that they were probably engraved
on metal (perhaps copper), by Beham himself, as well as his 81 little Bible
cuts which were used to illustrate the first English Bible. He also
designed and perhaps engraved several large cuts, one of which, 'The
Fountain of Youth,' is four feet long; another is 'The Dance of the
Daughter of Herodias,' reproduced by Dr. Lippmann. Hans Brosamer (d. 1552)
designed and engraved pictures for books. Heinrich Aldegrever (d. 1558) is
well known for his portraits of Luther, Melanchthon, and the notorious John
of Leyden. Virgil Solis (d. 1562) was a prolific book-illustrator; he
designed a series of 216 Bible pictures, all of small size, as well as 178
cuts for Ovid's 'Metamorphoses,' and 194 for Æsop's Fables; he also
designed and probably engraved much ornament, especially for title-pages of
books, some of which was very good. Jost Amman (d. 1591) is celebrated for
his book of 'All Ranks, Arts, and Trades,' with one hundred and thirty-two
figures. (See page 128).

The religious books printed in Germany at the end of the sixteenth century
were altogether inferior as regards their illustrations, though a few are
fairly designed and executed. Ornamental borders, especially on title
pages, were usual, and those designed by Lucas Cranach are of considerable
merit. Many of the German printers' marks or devices, which are very well
engraved, were the work of some of the best artists of the times.

These were but expiring efforts, and by the end of the century, owing to
continual warfare and internal disturbances, the art of wood-engraving in
Germany was almost forgotten.

       *       *       *       *       *




In the early years of the sixteenth century, the printers of Florence
issued many cheap popular books, chiefly _Rappresentazioni_, i.e. Plays,
sacred or secular. These plays are generally badly printed in double
columns, but they are illustrated with numerous cuts, some of which are of
peculiar merit. The earliest known printer of them was Francesco Benvenuto
(c. 1516-1545), but the majority appear to have been issued between 1550
and 1580, anonymously, though we know that Giovanni Baleni of Florence was
the printer of some of these.

There were also many quaint little tracts, metrical _Novelle_ and
_Istorie_, of which a collection has been found at the University Library,
Erlangen; a valuable description of them was published by Dr. Varnhagen.
The poems are, as a rule, illustrated with small cuts, inclosed within a
neat border, the subjects are usually well chosen, and the drawing very
good; the treatment of some of the domestic scenes is worthy of Bewick.


_By Giuseppe Porta Venice 1540_]

[Illustration: LE POT-CASSÉ
(_Device of Geoffroy Tory_)]

In striking contrast to the simplicity of these popular wood-engravings are
the elaborate engravings which appeared in the more expensive books issued
in the latter half of the same century, when illustrated editions of Dante,
Boccaccio, Ovid, Æsop's Fables, and Alciat's 'Emblems,' appeared, one after
the other, but not one of these calls for {91} special notice; nor did the
best of their wood-engravings equal the work of Lützelburger. The
frontispiece of a curious book, _Le Sorti di Marcolini da Forli_, printed
at Venice in 1540, of which we offer a reduced copy, gives us a good idea
of the prevailing art of the period. It is said to be taken from a design
by Raphael for his celebrated picture 'The School of Athens,' and we see by
the tablet in the foreground that it was either drawn on the wood or
engraved by Joseph (Giuseppe) Porta, known as Salviati, after his more
celebrated master whom he accompanied to Venice.

In Paris, in the first half of the sixteenth century, there lived a very
celebrated printer, 'Geoffroy Tory, Peintre et Graveur, Premier Imprimeur
Royal, Reformateur de l'Orthographe, et de la Typographie,' as he is
described by his biographer, M. A. Bernard (Paris, 1857). He was born at
Bourges in 1480, and in early life went to Paris, where he not only wrote
books and printed them, but designed ornamental borders and engraved them.
He also studied his profession in Italy, and brought back with him new
ideas about printing and illustrating books. Such a man had great influence
at that time, for he had much inborn taste and excellent skill, and
publishers should all be proud of him as one of their most praiseworthy
ancestors. He adopted the singular design the _Pot-cassé_, of which we give
a copy, as his somewhat enigmatical device; and some writers maintain that
the little 'Cross of Lorraine' (++) found on many of the cuts of this
period is also his mark. {92}

_Engraved by Geoffroy Tory_]

{93} In our illustration, taken from the _Heures_, printed by Simon de
Colines, this Cross of Lorraine will be seen under the kneeling priest. He
made antique letters, he himself tells us, for Monseigneur the Treasurer
for War, Master Jehan Grolier, whom we know as one of the best patrons of
book-binding; and wrote a book which he called '_Champfleury, auquel est
contenu l'art et science de la deue proportion des lettres ... selon le
corps et le visage humain_,' a very learned and amusing treatise. Some of
the initial letters in this book are very cleverly designed and
engraved--probably by the ingenious author. The picture of 'Antoine Macault
reading his translation of Diodorus Siculus to the King' is said to have
been engraved by Tory; it is evidently either from a design by Hans Holbein
or by an artist who copied his style. All the figures in this excellent
engraving are portraits--the King (Francis I.), his three sons, and his
favourite nobles. It is the best cut that was issued at Paris at this time.
Geoffroy Tory died in 1533, though his workshop was carried on for many
years afterwards.

Among other woodcuts of this period we find a small portrait of the poet
Nicholas Bourbon, dated 1535. As this is a direct copy of the portrait of
the same individual, undoubtedly by Holbein, which is now at Windsor
Castle, and as the ornamentation is quite in Holbein's style, we cannot
doubt that this celebrated painter had frequent relations with the
publishers on the Continent in the first half of the sixteenth century.


_Designed by Holbein. Engraved by Geoffroy Tory?_]

{95} Another celebrated printer who enjoyed the patronage of the King was
Robert Estienne, who, by some curious perversity, is frequently spoken of
by English scholars and biographers as Robert Stephens, simply because,
following the fashion of the day, he often latinised his name and signed
Robertus Stephanus. Estienne was, next to Aldo Manuzio of Venice, the most
learned of printers, and deserves to be held in due reverence. The most
important illustrated book he published was 'The Lives of the Dukes of
Milan,' by Paulus Jovius (Paris, 1549). This work has sixteen portraits of
the Dukes, well engraved, some say by Geoffroy Tory himself, but this is a
matter of dispute, though they certainly were cut in his workshop.

Among the most characteristic works of the wood-engraver in the middle of
the century were two large processions, 'The Triumphal Entry of King Henri
II. into Paris,' published by Roville of Lyons, in 1548, and 'The Triumphal
Entry into Lyons,' issued in the following year. These prints were designed
either by Jean Cousin or Cornelis de la Haye, but the name of the engraver
is nowhere mentioned. They are somewhat similar to 'The Triumph of
Maximilian,' by Burgkmair, but are not nearly so important as works of art,
and did nothing to raise the character of wood-engraving.

In the books published in the second half of the century we frequently meet
with the name of Bernhard Salomon (born at Lyons in 1512), generally called
Le Petit Bernard, who made designs for Alciat's 'Emblems' (A.D. 1560) and
Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' (A.D. 1564), which were engraved in the workshop of
Geoffroy Tory, and published by Jean (or Hans) de Tournes, of Lyons.
Bernard's style was much influenced by the Italian painters Rosso and
Primaticcio, who had been invited by the King to decorate Fontainebleau,
and may be easily recognised by the extreme height and tenuity of his
figures, and by the peculiar ornament which he used as framework for his

Another book containing equally good illustrations is _Ghesneden Figuera
wyten Niewen Testamente_ ('Engraved Figures from the New Testament'),
adorned with ninety-two small cuts besides the title-page and initial
letters; these were drawn and probably engraved by Guilliame Borluyt, {96}
citizen of Ghent, and published by Jean de Tournes of Lyons in 1557. From
the fineness of the lines and other indications we suspect these designs
were cut on metal, which was much used at this time instead of wood.
Through the kindness of Messrs. H. S. Nichols & Co., of Soho Square, who
possess an excellent copy of this very rare book, we are enabled to offer
our readers two cuts, 'The Woman of Samaria' and 'Christ Scourged,' of the
same size as the originals. The publishers of Lyons were celebrated from
the end of the fourteenth to the middle of the fifteenth century for their
dainty little books, which were very prettily illustrated.

_By Guilliame Borluyt_]

We must not conclude this chapter without mentioning another celebrated
publisher, Christophe Plantin of Antwerp. He was born at Saint-Avertin,
near Tours, in 1514, and at an early age apprenticed to a printer and
book-binder, Robert Macé, at Caen; thence he went to Paris, whence wars
soon drove him away. He next took refuge at Antwerp, where he employed
himself in binding books and making leather boxes, _coffrets_, curiously
inlaid and gilt. {97}

_By Guilliame Borluyt_]

By mistake he was, one dark evening, stabbed with a sword, and he
afterwards suffered so much pain from the wound that he could not stoop
without feeling it: consequently he turned to the business of a printer,
and soon became the most celebrated man of the day in that craft. Philip
II. of Spain made him his chief printer, and under royal orders Plantin
produced the well-known Polyglot Bible in eight folio volumes (1568-1573).
He had previously printed some smaller books of Emblems (1564), and
_Devises Héroïques_ (1562), and had employed Pierre Huys, Lucas de Heere,
Godefroid Ballain, and other artists, to illustrate them. He died in 1589.
His second daughter married Jean Moret, one of the overseers of {98} the
printing-office, and the business known as 'Plantin-Moretus' continued to
prosper up to the present century. A few years since the offices were
bought by the city authorities, and the Plantin Museum is now one of the
principal attractions of Antwerp. In his various works Plantin used many
woodcuts, but most of his title-pages have borders executed by Wierix,
Pass, and other celebrated copperplate engravers. His device was a Hand
with a pair of compasses, and his motto _Labore et Constantia_.

The history of wood-engraving and wood-engravers in Holland forms the
subject of a monograph from the pen of Mr. W. M. Conway ('The Woodcutters
of the Netherlands,' Cambridge, 1884). The list commences with a Louvain
engraver, who worked for Veldener in 1475, and about the same time for John
and Conrad de Westphalia.

Most of the greater Dutch towns had wood-engravers, and the work of these
artists appears in many of the books printed in the Low Countries. As in
France, many of the printers' marks are very good.

It was in this century that publishers began to illustrate their books with
copperplate engravings, which soon came into general use, and these plates
for many years, to a very great extent, superseded engraving on wood.
Etchings by the artist's own hands are also frequently met with, and to
these causes we may in a great measure attribute the decay of the
Formschneider's art for at least two centuries.

       *       *       *       *       *




In the portfolios of collectors of works of art of the sixteenth century we
frequently meet with very interesting examples of printing in
_chiaro-oscuro_, as it was called, by means of successive impressions of
engraved wood-blocks. Sometimes two or three blocks were used, sometimes
six or eight, in all cases with the intention of reproducing the appearance
of a tinted water-colour drawing or an oil-painting. Those prints which
were the least ambitious were the most successful, They were generally
printed in various shades of grey and brown--from light sepia to deep
umber--and sometimes the effects are admirable. A well-known designer and
engraver on wood, Ugo da Carpi (c. 1520), introduced this new style of
printing into Venice, and other artists, Antonio da Trento, Andrea
Andreani, Bartolomeo Coriolano, and others made many successful efforts in
a similar direction; their best works are much prized.

At the same time a group of Venetian artists, who were also engravers on
wood, distinguished themselves by copying the works of Titian and other
Italian painters. The most celebrated of these engravers were Nicolo
Boldrini, Francesco da Nanto, Giovanni Battista del Porto, and Giuseppe
Scolari, who all flourished between the years 1530 and 1580. Their {100}
productions, which are on a large scale, are greatly valued by artists.

Near the end of the century a book of costume entitled _Habiti Antichi e
Moderni di tutto il Mondo_ was designed and published at Venice by Cesare
Vecellio, who is said to have been a nephew of the great Titian. This work
contains nearly six hundred figures in the costume of every age and
country, admirably drawn and engraved; indeed, they are the best examples
of the art of wood-engraving in Italy at the time. This excellent work was
reproduced in their well-known style by Messrs. Firmin, Didot & Cie in two
volumes (Paris, 1860).

An edition of 'Dante' published by the brothers Sessa at Venice in 1578 is
well illustrated with good woodcuts.

German artists were also bitten at this time with a mania for reproducing
pictures by means of colour blocks. The results, however, were much more
curious than beautiful. We have before us a copy of a painting designed by
Altdorfer, one of the 'Little Masters,' of 'The Virgin with the Holy Infant
on her Lap,' set in an elaborate architectural frame. In this print at
least eight different colour-blocks were used, among them a deep red and a
vivid green. The printer's register has been fairly well kept, and the
mechanical part of the work is worthy of all praise; but we fear the effect
on most of our readers would be to produce anything but admiration. A Saint
Christopher, designed and probably engraved by Lucas Cranach, printed in
black and deep umber, only with the high lights carefully cut out of the
latter block, is much more satisfactory.

In the middle and towards the end of the sixteenth century there were
several excellent wood-engravings published in London in illustration of
Foxe's 'Book of Martyrs' (1562), Holinshed's 'Chronicles of England,
Scotland, and Ireland' (1577), 'A Booke of Christian Prayers' (1569), and
other works, chiefly from the press of the celebrated John Daye. {101}


{102} As an example we give one of the illustrations of Holinshed's
Chronicles as a frontispiece. There can be no doubt that Holbein designed
it; the ornamentation alone would almost prove it to be from his hand. The
title-page of the 'Bishops' Bible,' printed about the same time, has a
finely engraved border, representing the King handing the volume to the
Bishops, who in turn present it to the people. There are many woodcuts in
the text, but they are of very low merit.

We give an illustration of 'A Booke of Christian Prayers,' known as Queen
Elizabeth's Prayer-book, from a fine portrait of Her Majesty kneeling on a
handsome cushion, with clasped hands before a kind of altar. The Queen's
dress is magnificent, and the ornamentation of the whole design is of a
similar character. It is an excellent piece of engraving, and we are able
to give a facsimile of it, cut about sixty years ago by George Bonner. Mr.
Linton thinks the original was on metal; who engraved it is at present
unknown. We fear there was no one in England who could produce such work,
nor can anyone tell who made the design. It is printed on the back of the
title-page, which is decorated with a border of a 'Jesse-tree,' with a
figure of Jesse at the foot and the Virgin with the Holy Infant on her lap
at the head. There are woodcut borders to each of the 274 pages, all
betraying German origin, and evidently by different hands. A few floral
designs and single figures of 'Temperance,' 'Charity,' and the like are the
best. Among the rest is a series of 'Dance of Death' pictures, but _not_ by
Holbein. Another edition of this work was printed in 1590 at London, 'By
Richard Yardley and Peter Short for the assignes of Richard Day dwelling in
Bred-street hill at the signe of the Starre.' [Doubtless this was on the
site of the present printing office of Richard Clay & Sons.] Richard Day
was a son of John Day or Daye, as we often find the name printed.


(_From 'A Booke of Christian Prayers.' Printed by John Daye, London,

{104} Another illustrated book, 'The Cosmographical Glasse, conteinyng the
pleasant Principles of Cosmographie, Geographie, Hydrographie or
Navigation. Compiled by William Cuningham, Doctor in Physicke' (of
Norwich), was printed by John Day in 1559, with many cuts. In the
ornamental title-page there is a large bird's-eye view of the city of
Norwich, with a mark of the engraver, I. B. There is also a large and
well-engraved portrait of the author, 'ætatis 28,' a rather sad-looking
young man; and many initial letters, some of which have a small I. D. at
the foot, which probably tell us that John Day himself engraved them.
Others have a small I inside a larger C, and this monogram appears
frequently on the small cuts in the border of Queen Elizabeth's Book of
Prayers. John Day tells us in a work published in 1567 that the Saxon type
in which it is printed was _cut_ by himself.

John Day was a great friend of John Foxe, and assisted him in producing his
celebrated 'Acts and Monuments of the Church,' generally known as his
'Booke of Martyrs.' In the 'Acts and Monuments,' printed in 1576, there is
a large initial C, evidently drawn and engraved by the artists who produced
the Queen's portrait. In this initial, Elizabetha Regina is seen seated in
state, with her feet resting on the same cushion that appears in the larger
print, attended by three of her Privy Councillors standing at her right
hand. A figure of the Pope with two _broken_ keys in his hands forms part
of the decoration of the base; an immense cornucopia reaches over the top.

Early in the seventeenth century we meet with the name of an excellent
wood-engraver at Antwerp, Christoph Jegher, who worked for many years with
Peter Paul Rubens, and produced many large woodcuts. We are enabled to give
a much-reduced copy of a 'Flight into Egypt,' which in the original is
nearly twenty-four inches in length. Underneath appears the inscription,
_P. P. Rub. delin. & excud._, from which we learn that Rubens himself
superintended the {105} printing, for _C. Jegher sculp._ appears on the
other side. Some of this series of cuts were printed with a tint of sepia
over them in imitation of the Italian chiaro-oscuro prints of the previous
century. Christoph Jegher was born in Germany in 1590 (?) and died at
Antwerp in 1670. He lived through many tempestuous years and did much good
work. A contemporary wood-engraver named Cornelius van Sichem, living at
Amsterdam, produced a few excellent cuts from drawings by Heinrich Goltzius
(d. 1617), who copied the Italian school.

_Reduced copy of the engraving by C. Jegher_]

At the end of the seventeenth century the art of wood-engraving reached its
lowest ebb. There were a few tolerably good mechanical engravers on the
Continent, who were {106} chiefly employed in the manufacture of ornaments
for cards, and head and tail pieces for books and ballads, but nearly all
the woodcuts we meet with in English books are of the most childish
character. The rage for copper-plate engravings had set in with so much
vigour among all the printers and publishers that the poor wood-engraver
was well-nigh forgotten.

In London a new edition of 'Æsop's Fables,' edited by Dr. Samuel Croxall,
and illustrated with many woodcuts much better engraved than was customary
at the time, was published by Jacob Tonson at the Shakespear's Head, in the
Strand, in 1722. We do not learn the names of the artists. In 1724 Elisha
Kirkall engraved and published seventeen Views of Shipping, from designs by
W. Vandevelde, which he printed in a greenish kind of ink; and in a
portfolio full of woodcuts in the Print Room of the British Museum Mr. W.
J. Linton recently discovered a large Card of Invitation (query--to a
wedding?) from Mr. Elisha and _Mrs._ Elizabeth Kirkall, dated '_August_ the
31st, 1709. Printed at His Majesty's Printing Office in _Blackfryers_,'
which is very firmly and boldly engraved, probably in soft metal. On the
left of the Royal Arms, Fame, blowing a trumpet, holds up a circular
medallion portrait of Guttenburgh (we follow the spelling); a similar
figure on the right holds the portrait of W. Caxton and a scroll; at the
foot, in the middle, is a view of London Bridge over the Thames, with the
Monument and St. Paul's Cathedral, and on either side is a Cupid--one with
a torch and a dove, with masonic emblems at his feet, the other with
attributes of painting, sculpture, and music. The Cupids are very like the
fat-faced little cherubim we so constantly meet with on seventeenth-century
monuments, though Mr. Linton has nothing but praise to give to the
engraving, which he says is the first example of the use of the 'white
line' in English work.

In Paris there was a family of three generations of {107} engravers named
Papillon, who illustrated hundreds of books with small and very fine cuts,
in evident imitation of the copper-plates then so much in vogue. Jean
Michel Papillon, the youngest of them, published a _Traité Historique et
Pratique de la Gravure en Bois_, in two volumes with a supplement, which,
though full of credulous errors, has been of inestimable service to all
writers on the history of wood-engraving. This Papillon was probably in
England at one time, for he received a prize from the Society of Arts. He
was born in the year 1698, began to engrave blocks when only eight years
old, and lived till the year 1776.

       *       *       *       *       *




In the year 1775, the Society for the Encouragement of Arts offered a
series of small money premiums for the best engravings on wood. These
prizes were won by Thomas Hodgson, William Coleman, both then living in
London, and Thomas Bewick, of Newcastle, who sent up for competition five
engravings intended to illustrate a new edition of 'Gay's Fables.' It is of
the last of these three--who received an award of seven guineas, which he
immediately gave over to his mother--that we have now to write. He was born
at Cherryburn, a farmhouse on the south bank of the Tyne, in the parish of
Ovingham, about twelve miles from Newcastle, in August 1753. This we learn
from an inscription now over the door of the 'byre,' or cowshed, which is
still standing. His father was a farmer, who also rented a small coal-pit
at Mickley, close by. After having received a fair education at local
schools and at Ovingham parsonage, young Thomas, who had shown a great love
of drawing, was in October 1767 apprenticed to Ralph Beilby, a general
engraver, in St. Nicholas' Churchyard, Newcastle. Here the boy learned to
cut diagrams in wood, engrave copper-plates for books, tradesmen's cards,
etch ornament on sword-blades, and other work of the kind, much as Hogarth
had done some fifty years before him; and, as luck would have it, his
master received an {109} order to engrave a series of wood-blocks to
illustrate a 'Treatise on Mensuration' written by Mr. Charles Hutton, a
schoolmaster in Newcastle--afterwards Dr. Hutton, a Fellow of the Royal
Society. This work was issued in fifty sixpenny numbers, and published in a
quarto volume in 1770. It was on this book that Thomas Bewick trained his
'prentice hand in the art in which he was afterwards to become so famous.

At the end of his apprenticeship in 1774, he worked with his old master for
a short time at a guinea a week; then he went to live for a time at
Cherryburn, and in 1776, with three guineas sewed in his waist-band, he
walked to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and northwards to the Highlands, always
staying at farm-houses on the road. He returned to Newcastle in a Leith
sloop, and, after working till he had earned sufficient money, took a berth
in a collier for London, where he arrived in October and soon found several
Newcastle friends. But London life did not suit this child of the
country-side. 'I would rather be herding sheep on Mickley bank top,' he
writes to a friend, 'than remain in London, although for so doing I was to
be made Premier of England.'

Soon after his return to Newcastle he joined his old master in partnership,
and took his younger brother, John, as an apprentice, and for eight years
the brothers made a weekly visit to Cherryburn, often fishing by the way.
In the year 1785, their mother, father, and eldest sister all died, and in
the following year Thomas Bewick married Isabella Elliot, of Ovingham, one
of the companions of his childhood. He was at that time living in the
'fine, low, old-fashioned house'--with a long garden behind it, in which he
cultivated roses--formerly occupied by Dr. Hutton; and going daily to work
in the old house overlooking St. Nicholas' Churchyard.

We have previously said that the early wood-engravings were cut with a
knife, held like a pen and drawn towards the craftsman, on 'planks' of the
soft wood of the pear or {110} apple-tree, or some similar tree. It is
believed that Bewick was the first who used the wood of the box-tree, which
is very hard, and who made his drawings on the butt-ends of the blocks, and
cut his lines with the graver pushed from him. He brought into practice
what is known as the 'white line' in wood-engraving; that is, he produced
his effects more by means of many white lines wide apart to give an
appearance of lightness, and by giving closer lines to produce a grey
effect, as in our cut of 'The Yellowhammer.' He gave up the old method of
obtaining 'colour,' as it is termed, by means of cross-hatching, and used a
much simpler and more expeditious way of giving depth of shadow by leaving
solid masses of the block, which of course printed black--and he constantly
adopted the plan of lowering the wood in the background, and such parts of
the block as were required to be printed lightly.

(_From_ '_The Land Birds_')]


The first book of real importance that was illustrated by Thomas Bewick was
the 'Select Fables' published by Saint of Newcastle in 1784; this is now
very rare; there is, however, a copy in the British Museum (press-mark
12305 g 16) which can at all times be consulted. Most of the designs are
derived from 'Croxall's Fables,' and many of these were copied from the
copper-plates by Francis Barlow in his edition of Æsop, published 'at his
house, The Golden Eagle, in New Street, near Shoo Lane, 1665.' Though
Bewick improved the drawings, there was little originality in them, but the
engravings were far in advance of any other work of the kind done at that
period. The success of this book induced him to carry out an idea he had
long entertained of producing a series of illustrations for a 'General
History of Quadrupeds,' on which he was engaged for six years, making the
drawings and engraving them mostly in the evening. He tells us he had much
difficulty in finding models, and was delighted when a travelling menagerie
visited Newcastle and enabled him to depict many wild animals from nature.
It was while he was employed on this work that he received a commission to
make an engraving of a 'Chillingham Bull,' one of those famous wild cattle
to which Sir Walter Scott refers in his ballad, 'Cadyow Castle':

 'Mightiest of all the beasts of chase
    That roam in woody Caledon.'

He made the drawing on a block 7¾ inches by 5½ inches, and used his highest
powers in rendering it as true to nature as he could; it is said that he
always considered it to be his best work. After a few impressions had been
taken off on paper and parchment, the block, which had been carelessly left
by the printers in the direct rays of the sun, was split by the heat; and,
though it was in after years clamped in gun-metal, no impressions could be
taken which did not show {112} a trace of the accident. Happily, one of the
original impressions on parchment may be seen in the Townsend Collection in
the South Kensington Museum. Meanwhile the 'Quadrupeds' were going on
bravely: Ralph Beilby compiled the necessary text, which Bewick revised
where he could, and in 1790 the book was published. It sold so well that a
second edition was issued in 1791, and a third in 1792. Since then it has
been frequently reprinted. [The first edition consisted of 1,500 copies in
demy octavo at 8s., and 100 in royal octavo at 12s. The price of the eighth
edition, with additional cuts, published in 1825, was one guinea.]

[Illustration: TAIL-PIECE
(_From 'The Quadrupeds'_)]

Besides the engravings of quadrupeds, the best that had appeared up to that
time, the numerous tail-pieces which Bewick drew from nature charmed the
public immensely. We give an example, one of them in which a small boy,
said to be a young brother of the artist, is pulling a colt's tail, while
the mother is rushing to his rescue. This little cut gives an admirable
idea of their style. Many of them are humorous, many very pathetic, many
grimly sarcastic, and all perfectly original. {113}

[Illustration: THE WOODCOCK
(_From 'The Water Birds'_)]

As soon as the success of the 'Quadrupeds' was assured, Bewick commenced
without delay his still more celebrated book, the 'History of British
Birds.' In making the drawings for this work he was much more at home, for
he knew every feathered creature that flew within twenty miles of Ovingham,
and it was all 'labour of love.' He worked with all his soul first at the
'Land Birds' and afterwards at the 'Water Birds,' and it is on these two
books that Bewick's fame both as a draughtsman and an engraver principally
rests. We give a copy of the 'Yellowhammer,' which the artist himself
considered to be one of his best works, and the 'Woodcock,' in which all
the excellences of his peculiar style may readily be traced.

The first volume, the 'Land Birds,' appeared in 1797, and was received with
rapture by all lovers of nature. Again, {114} the tail-pieces, pictures in
miniature, were applauded to the skies, and the gratified author was beset
on all sides with congratulations. Mr. Beilby wrote the descriptions as
before, and performed his work very creditably.

[Illustration: A FARMYARD
(_From 'The Land Birds'_)]

The partnership between Ralph Beilby and Thomas Bewick was dissolved in
1797, and the descriptions to the second volume, 'The Water Birds,' which
did not appear till 1804, were written by Bewick himself, and revised by
the Rev. H. Cotes, Vicar of Bedlington. It is known that Bewick was
assisted in the tail-pieces by his pupils, Robert Johnson as a draughtsman,
and Luke Clennell as an engraver, but it is certain that every line was
done under his immediate superintendence, and no doubt the originator of
these excellent works was beginning to feel that he was no longer young.

[Of the first edition of the 'Land Birds' 1,000 were printed in demy octavo
at 10s. 6d., 850 on thin and thick royal octavo, at 13s. and 15s., and
twenty-four on imperial octavo at £1 1s. The first edition of the 'Water
Birds' in 1804 consisted of the same number of copies as that of the 'Land
Birds,' but the prices were increased respectively to 12s., 15s., 18s., and
£1 4s.]

The only book of importance on which Bewick was engaged after 1804 was an
edition of 'Æsop's Fables,' which was published in 1818. Mr. Chatto says:
'Whatever may be the merits or defects of the cuts in the Fables, Bewick
certainly had little to do with them--for by far the greater number were
designed by Robert Johnson and engraved by W. W. Temple and William Harvey,
while yet in their apprenticeship.' Bewick amused himself by re-writing the
Fables, to which he contributed a few of his own, but he was in no sense a
literary man, and several of his greatest admirers openly expressed their
disappointment at the book; even his supreme advocate, Dr. Dibdin, said: 'I
will fearlessly and honestly aver that his "Æsop" disappointed me.'

In 1826 Bewick lost his wife, who left to his care one son and three
daughters. In the summer of 1828 he visited London alone; he was not in
good health, took but little interest in what was going on, and soon longed
to return home. There he was busy as ever on a large cut of an old horse
'Waiting for Death' (which Mr. Linton has faithfully copied). Early in
November he took the block to the printers to be proved, and after a few
days' illness, he died on November 8, 1828. He was buried in Ovingham
churchyard, where a tablet is erected to his memory. But his books are his
true monument, and they will live for ever.

       *       *       *       *       *




It redounds greatly to the glory of Thomas Bewick that the important
advance in the art of wood-engraving which was due to his talents and his
industry did not die with him. He left behind him several eminent
successors, whose influence is felt to the present day.

His brother John, seven years younger than himself, was his first pupil,
and to him we are indebted for the illustrations to a work called 'Emblems
of Mortality,' 1789, copied from Holbein's 'Dance of Death,' the
'Looking-Glass for the Mind,' and 'Blossoms of Morality,' 1796. Of these,
the cuts in the 'Looking-Glass for the Mind' are decidedly the best, and
after examining them carefully we cannot but regret that the artist was
taken away so young. His drawings are very unlike those of his elder
brother, and are certainly more graceful--we give one as an example of
their style. Two other books, 'Poems,' by Goldsmith and Parnell, 1795, and
Somerville's 'Chase,' 1796, also contain some of his best work; they were
printed in quarto by Bulmer, 'to display the excellence of modern printing
and wood-engraving.' For the former of these, John Bewick made most of the
drawings, in which he was assisted by the clever artist, Robert Johnson, a
fellow-pupil, and nearly all were engraved by Thomas and John Bewick, and a
few by another pupil, Charlton Nesbit. {117} For 'The Chase,' John Bewick
made all the drawings except one, and nearly all were engraved by his
brother. For five or six years John Bewick lived in London, till ill-health
compelled him to return to his native place, where he died in the same year
in which Somerville's 'Chase' was published. He was buried in Ovingham
churchyard, where a tablet is erected to his memory.

_From 'Looking-Glass for the Mind'_]

Robert Elliot Bewick, the only son of Thomas Bewick, was trained to the
business of wood-engraver, and at one time, over the window of the house in
St. Nicholas' Churchyard, there was a board with an inscription 'BEWICK AND
SON, _engravers and copper-plate printers_.' Robert suffered much from
ill-health and turned his attention to drawing rather than engraving. He
died in 1849, leaving fifty beautiful designs for a 'History of Fishes,'
which he had long in contemplation as a companion volume to his father's
works. {118} These drawings, the gift of the last of Bewick's daughters,
are now in the British Museum.

The most celebrated of Bewick's other pupils were Charlton Nesbit, born at
Shalwell, near Gateshead, in 1775; Luke Clennell, born at Ulgham, a village
near Morpeth, in 1781; and William Harvey, born near Newcastle in 1796.
Nesbit engraved a few of the tail-pieces in the 'Land Birds,' and most of
the head and tail pieces in the 'Poems' of Goldsmith and Parnell. He also
engraved, from a drawing by Robert Johnson, a large block, 15 inches by 12
inches, of St. Nicholas Church, Newcastle, which at the time was considered
a triumph of art. About the end of the century Nesbit migrated to London,
where for many years he was employed by Rudolph Ackermann and other
publishers in engraving the drawings of the artist, John Thurston, whose
work was at that time very popular. In 1815 Nesbit returned to Shalwell,
where he continued to reside till 1830, doing but little work besides the
engraving of 'Rinaldo and Armida' for Savage's 'Hints on Decorative
Printing,' after a design by Thurston. This is considered to be his best
work. He then went back to London, and was chiefly engaged in engraving
drawings by William Harvey for the second volume of Northcote's 'Fables.'
He died at Queen's Elms in November 1838, aged 63. Mr. Chatto says: 'Nesbit
is unquestionably the best wood-engraver that has proceeded from the great
northern hive of art--the workshop of Thomas Bewick.'

The story of Luke Clennell's life is very sad. Like many other artists, he
showed an early disposition to make sketches on his slate instead of 'doing
sums,' and was often reproved; his uncle sympathised with him, and in 1797
apprenticed him to Thomas Bewick for the usual seven years, during which
time he engraved many of the tail-pieces to the 'Water Birds' and learned
to make water-colour drawings from nature. When his apprenticeship was over
he assisted Bewick in the illustrations to a 'History of England,' {119}
published by Wallis and Scholey, in which Nisbet had also joined, but
finding that Bewick was paid five pounds for each cut, while he received
only two pounds, Clennell sent some specimens of his abilities to the
publishers, who immediately offered him work in London, where he arrived in
the autumn of 1804. Two years afterwards he received the gold palette of
the Society of Arts for a wood-engraving of a battle-scene, and soon
afterwards he was engaged on illustrations to new editions of Beattie's
'Minstrel,' 1807, and Falconer's 'Shipwreck,' 1808. About this time he
married the eldest daughter of Charles Warren, a well-known line engraver,
and became intimate with Abraham Raimbach and other artists whose
friendship was of much service to him. His most important work as a
wood-engraver was the 'Diploma of the Highland Society,' a large block 13½
inches by 10½ inches, of which we give a much-reduced copy. Benjamin West
made the original design on paper, Clennell himself drew the Highlander and
Fisherman on the wood, and gave Thurston fifteen pounds to fill in the
circle with Britannia and her attendant groups. After he had worked on the
block, which was of boxwood veneered upon beech, for about two months, the
same fate befell it that had ruined Bewick's 'Chillingham Bull'; one
evening, while he was at tea, the boxwood split with a loud report, and it
is said poor Clennell threw the tea-things into the fire! This was the sad
beginning of a long malady. Taking courage, however, he procured a block
made of pieces of solid boxwood firmly clamped together, paid Thurston
again for drawing the central groups, and, after much labour, produced his
_chef d'oeuvre_, for which he received 150 guineas from the Highland
Society, and was further rewarded with the gold medal of the Society of
Arts, May 30, 1809. This second block likewise met with an untimely fate;
it was burnt in the fire at Bensley's printing-office. John Thompson
afterwards engraved it in fac-simile. A copy of Clennell's original
engraving, bequeathed by Mr. John {120} Thompson, may be seen in the Art
Library at South Kensington.

_Engraved by Luke Clennell_]

Among the best wood-engravings by Clennell we may rank the illustrations
designed by Stothard as head and tail pieces for a small edition of
Rogers's 'Pleasures of Memory,' 1810. They were drawn in pen and ink, and
engraved in facsimile with charming spirit and fidelity. After this time,
Clennell, who could work beautifully in water-colours, gave up engraving
and exhibited drawings and paintings at the Academy, the British
Institution, and the Exhibition of Painters in Water-Colours at their room
in Spring Gardens. In March 1815, the British {121} Institution set aside
1,000 guineas for premiums for the best oil-paintings illustrating the
career of Wellington. One of these premiums was awarded to Clennell for his
'Charge of the Life Guards at Waterloo,' a picture full of spirit, which
was afterwards engraved. In 1814 the Earl of Bridgewater gave him a
commission to paint 'The Banquet of the Allied Sovereigns in Guildhall.' He
experienced great difficulty in obtaining sitters for the necessary
portraits, and suffered so much from anxiety that, although in April 1817
he had nearly conquered all his troubles, he suddenly lost his reason. This
so much affected his wife that she also became insane and soon died. By the
advice of his friends poor Clennell was sent to live with a relation who
resided near Newcastle, and there he lingered till February 1840, when he
died, leaving three children, who were for a time supported in a great
measure by the Committee of the Artists' Fund and by the profits of the
engraving of the 'Charge of the Life Guards.'

William Harvey was apprenticed to Bewick in 1810 and was his favourite
pupil. He frequently made drawings on the wood after the designs of Robert
Johnson, and engraved many of the cuts in 'Bewick's Fables,' 1818. On New
Year's Day 1815 Bewick presented him with a copy of his 'History of British
Birds' in two volumes, which he always showed to his friends with much
pride. In September 1817 Harvey came to London and, to improve his
knowledge of drawing, took lessons of an excellent master--B. R. Haydon.
While under his tuition Harvey copied his picture of the 'Assassination of
Dentatus' on a large block, and engraved it with most elaborate care. This
cut has always been greatly admired by the profession, who point to the
variety of the lines of engraving in the right leg of Dentatus as being a
triumph of their art. If we can find any fault with this celebrated work,
it is that, to use Mr. Chatto's words, 'More has been attempted than can be
efficiently {122} represented by means of wood-engraving'--it is, in fact,
too much like an attempt to rival copper-plate line-engraving.

About the year 1824 Harvey had so many commissions for designs for both
copper-plates and woodcuts that he gave up entirely the practice of
engraving, and devoted himself to drawings for the illustration of books.
His first successes were his vignettes for Dr. Henderson's 'History of
Ancient and Modern Wines,' 1824, the illustrations to Northcote's 'Fables,'
1828 and 1833, the 'Tower Menagerie,' 1828, 'Gardens and Menagerie of the
Zoological Society,' 1831, and 'The Children in the Wood' and a 'Story
without an End,' 1832. But perhaps his most characteristic designs were the
illustrations to Lane's 'Thousand and One Nights' in 1834-40; these are
considered to be his best work. He was at this time at the height of his
reputation, and for twenty-six years more he almost monopolised the
illustration of books published in London. Merely to give a list of them
would occupy too much space. During the latter years of his life, Harvey
lived near the old church of Richmond, and there he died in 1866. He was
one of the most courteous and amiable of men, and though his designs were
'mannered,' they were always pleasant to look at, and often very poetical.

There were other pupils of Bewick who obtained some little fame. Among them
were John Anderson, a native of Scotland, who assisted Thurston in
illustrating Bloomfield's 'Farmer's Boy,' published in 1800 by Vernor and
Hood; John Jackson, who was born at Ovingham in 1801, and Ebenezer
Landells, born at Newcastle in 1808. Jackson for some reason quarrelled
with his master, came to London and worked for William Harvey, who was much
employed about that time in making illustrations for the various works
issued by Charles Knight, including the 'Penny Magazine,' Knight's
'Shakspere,' 'Pictorial Bible,' 'Pictorial Prayer-book,' and a hundred
other books which appeared between 1828 and 1840--under the auspices of
that enterprising publisher. Some of {123} Jackson's best work will be
found in the 'Tower Menagerie' and other illustrations of animals designed
by Harvey. He will always be remembered for the share he took in the
'Treatise on Wood-Engraving,' for which Mr. Chatto wrote the text. This
work was undertaken at the sole risk of Mr. Jackson, who engraved many of
the three hundred illustrations. It is a very valuable book and,
supplemented by Mr. Linton's 'Masters of Wood-Engraving,' tells pretty well
all that is ever likely to be known of this fascinating art. Jackson died
in London in the year 1848.

At the death of Bewick, Ebenezer Landells came to London, 1829, and soon
found employment in engraving designs for the _Illustrated London News_,
_Punch_, and other periodicals. His studio became quite a nursery of art,
and many excellent draughtsmen--among them, Birket Foster--and engravers
were educated under his superintendence. He died at Brompton in 1860, the
last of Bewick's pupils.

Going back to the last century we find that we have omitted to speak of
another self-taught wood-engraver, Robert Branston, who was born in 1778 at
Lynn in Norfolk. When he was twenty-one years of age he settled in London
and soon found employment in working for the publishers. He engraved the
'Cave of Despair' from a drawing by Thurston for Savage's 'Hints on
Decorative Printing' in rivalry with Nesbit's 'Rinaldo and Armida'; this is
considered to be his best work. He also assisted in engraving the cuts in
Scholey's 'History of England,' Bloomfield's 'Wild Flowers,' 1806, and a
series of 'Fables' after Thurston's designs which, though beautifully
executed, were never published. He died at Brompton in 1827. Among his
pupils were his son, Robert Branston the younger, who for many years
produced excellent work.


[Illustration: HAYMAKING. BY W. MULREADY, R.A.
_Engraved by John Thompson_]

John Thompson, one of the princes of wood-engravers, was born in Manchester
in 1785, came to London early in life, and, after practising for some years
under Robert Branston the elder, soon gained great distinction in his art.
Like all other wood-engravers of the period, he was employed chiefly in
rendering the designs of Thurston. In 1818 he engraved the illustrations to
a new edition of Butler's 'Hudibras,' and about the same time he was
engaged by the Bank of England to produce a bank-note which could not be
imitated. Then followed the illustrations to the 'Blind Beggar of Bethnal
Green,' 1832, Shakespeare, 1836, and the 'Arabian Nights,' 1841, all after
designs by William Harvey. He also engraved many of the beautiful cuts in
the books of Natural History published by Van Voorst. In {125} 1843 he
produced the work for which he will for ever be celebrated, the
illustrations to the 'Vicar of Wakefield' from the drawings by
Mulready--one of the most charming books ever published. It would take too
much time to enumerate even the best of the engravings he executed in his
long life. We must not, however, forget to mention that he engraved in
gun-metal Mulready's design for a postal envelope in 1839, and the figure
of Britannia which is still printed on Bank of England notes. He presented
his collection of valuable woodcuts to the Art Library at South Kensington,
and died at Kensington in 1866, aged 81. His son, Thurston Thompton, was
also an excellent engraver.

Among the other celebrated wood-engravers of the latter half of this
century were John and Mary Byfield, who engraved the facsimile cuts of
Holbein's 'Dance of Death' and 'Scenes from Old Testament History' for
Pickering's editions of these celebrated works; W. H. Powis, some of whose
best work may be seen in 'Solace of Song'; J. Orrin Smith, born in
Colchester in 1800, who placed himself under the tuition of William Harvey,
and became a very expert craftsman, and whose best work may be seen in
Wordsworth's 'Greece,' 'The Solace of Song,' Lane's 'Arabian Nights,' and
in 'Paul et Virginie,' published by Curmer of Paris--Orrin Smith died in
1843; Samuel Williams, also a native of Colchester, who designed on the
wood most of the works which he engraved--he was famous for his country
scenes, the best of which are in Thomson's 'Seasons' and Cowper's 'Poems,'
published about 1840--he died in 1853 in his 65th year; W. T. Green and
Thomas Bolton, both excellent reproducers of landscape, and especially of
the drawings of Birket Foster; Charles Gray, and Samuel V. Slader, all of
the first repute; Orlando Jewitt, celebrated both for his beautiful
reproductions of architectural work, for Parker's 'Glossary,' and other
important works; and, lately, we have lost J. Greenaway, brother of the
famous artist, Kate {126} Greenaway, and W. J. Palmer, both excellent men
and engravers of the very first class.


Still with us, we can only mention in a few words the modern prince of
wood-engravers, W. J. Linton, who has for {127} many years resided in
America; W. L. Thomas, the originator of _The Graphic_ newspaper, and one
of the ablest artists in water-colours in 'The Institute'; Edmund Evans and
Horace Harral, who so successfully rendered Birket Foster's drawings some
years ago; J. W. Whymper, the brothers Dalziel and James Cooper, the
producers of thousands of good engravings, and a comparatively new man, W.
Biscombe Gardner, who excels in portraiture.

In Germany, during the last half-century, wood-engraving met with much
encouragement, and reverting to the earlier and purer style of the
fifteenth century, many artists and engravers produced work of great merit:
E. Kretzschmar, of Leipsic, the brothers A. and O. Vogel, F. Unzelmann and
H. Müller, rendered the drawings of Adolf Menzel and Ludwig Richter with
careful exactitude. In the atelier of Hugo Bürkner, of Dresden, the
much-admired 'Death as a Friend,' by Rethel, was engraved by Jungtow, and
'Death as an Enemy' by Steinbrecher: and A. Gaber, recently deceased,
faithfully reproduced the drawings of Overbeck, Schnorr von Carolsfeld,
Oscar Pletsch, and Moritz von Schwind. Of living engravers we may refer our
readers to the excellent examples of skill to be seen in the 'Meisterwerke
der Holzschneidekunst,' a monthly periodical of great merit; and especially
to the works of Pfnorr of Darmstadt; Höfel of Vienna; Flegel and Weber of
Leipsic; Mezger and Vieweg of Brunswick; H. Günter, Karl Oertel, Lüttge,
and E. Krelb.

In France no great advance has been made, and most of the engravers have
been contented to produce work a little above mediocrity. Several French
publishers have given commissions to English engravers--Orrin Smith, Henry
Linton, and others.

In America great strides have been made, and, in the estimation of many
excellent judges, the best works ever done by wood-engravers have been
presented to us in the pages of the illustrated magazines. These
publications excite {128} our wonder not only at the great energy which is
thrown into them, apparently without regard to cost, but at the immense
success which they have justly achieved. Some critics disapprove of the
style to which we have just referred, and say it is in too close an
imitation of steel engraving, but it seems hard to censure works which have
given unbounded satisfaction to so many thousand lovers of art.

Owing to the invention of various mechanical processes, and the perfection
to which photography has attained, the art of wood-engraving would seem to
be in danger of becoming extinct. This is by no means the real case, for
the brilliant band of wood-engravers which has arisen in America, of whom
we have just spoken, still continue to give us excellent examples of their
skill; and especially we may mention the inimitable copies of paintings by
the Old Masters by Timothy Cole, whose rendering of Paul Potter's 'Young
Bull' excites our warmest admiration.

In England, under the influence of Mr. William Morris and his followers, a
revival of this interesting craft, as practised in the fifteenth century,
has been set on foot in some of the Schools of Art--notably at Birmingham,
where in 1893 the students issued a Book of Carols illustrated with
original designs, some of which were cut by the students themselves. This
revival of the earlier and purer methods of engraving, coupled with a
careful study of the possibilities of the art, may be taken as a sign that
by no means the last chapter on the history of engraving on wood has yet
been written.

At present, much of the new process work which we find in such
over-abundance in newspapers and magazines is slovenly to the last degree.
On the other hand, now and then we see beautiful results--the best in the
American magazines; let us hope that the facile cheapness of this new
craft--art it cannot be called--will in good hands soon achieve something
more worthy of our regard.

       *       *       *       *       *



_The Engravings in this book are referred to in italic type_

  Abbreviations of Latin words, 18
  Æsop's Fables (1481), 47
  Æsop's Fables (Bewick's), 115
  Aldegrever, 88
  Aldus Manutius, 45-47
  _Alphabet_, _Figure_, XV Cent., 25
  Altdorfer, Albrecht, 87, 100
  Amman, Jost, 88
  Anderson, John, 122
  Andre, Jerome, 82
  Andreani, Andrea, 99
  _Annunciation, The_, 8
  Apocalypse, Dürer's, 70
  _Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis_, 17
  Ars Memorandi, 11, 26
  Ars Moriendi, 11, 20, 26

  Battista del Porta, 99
  Beham, Hans, 87
  Beilby, Ralph, 108,112
  Berners, Dame Juliana, 66
  Bewick, John, 116
  Bewick, Robert, 117
  Bewick, Thomas, 108-115
  _Bible Cuts_, Holbein's, 86, 87
  _Biblia Pauperum_, 12-16
  _Bibliomaniac, The_, 38
  Block Books of the XV Cent., 11
  Blossoms of Morality, 116
  Boldrini, Nicolo, 99
  Bolton, Thomas, 126
  Bonner, George, 82, 102
  _Booke of Christian Prayers_ (Q. Elizabeth), 100
  Book of Fables (Pfister, 1461), 36
  Book of Hours, 55
  Book of St. Albans, 66
  Borluyt's _Figures from New Testament_, 96, 97
  Bourbon, Nicolas, 93
  Brandt's _Navis Stultifera_, 38
  Branston, Robert, 123
  _Breydenbach's Travels_, 35, 37
  _British Birds_, History of (Bewick), 110-115
  _British Quadrupeds_, History of (Bewick), 111, 112
  Brosamer, Hans, 88
  Bürkner (German engraver), 127
  Bullen, Mr. George, 20
  Burgkmair, Hans, 69-80
  Byfield, John and Mary, 82, 125

  Caillaut, Antoine, 60
  Canterbury Tales, The, 66
  _Canticum Canticorum_, 11, 23
  _Casus Luciferi_, 30
  Caxton, William, 62
  Chatto, W. A., 1, 4, 66, 118
  Chiar-oscuro, Printing in, 50, 99
  Chillingham Bull (Bewick), 111
  _Christopher, Saint_, 6
  Clennell, Luke, 118-121
  Cole, Mr. Henry, 73
  Cole, Timothy, 128
  Colines, Simon de, _Heures_ de, 92
  _Cologne Bible_, 33, 36
  Colonna, Francesco, 42
  Colour Printing in Germany (XVI Cent.), 100
  Conway, W. M. (Woodcutters of the Netherlands), 98
  Copperplate-Engraving introduced, 98
  Coriolano, Bartolommeo, 99
  Cranach, Lucas, 69, 88, 100
  Croxall's Æsop, 106, 111
  Cuningham's Cosmographical Glasse, 102
  Curio, Valentine, 81

  Dance of Death (1485), 59
  _Dance of Death_ (Holbein's), 81-85
  _Daye, John_ (Printer), 101-104
  _Death of the Virgin_ (Missal), 54
  _Decameron, The_ (1492), 48
  Dentatus, Death of (_engraved by W. Harvey_), 121
  Dibdin's, Dr., Works, 1
  Dienecker (Engraver), 78
  _Diploma of Highland Society_ (Clennell), 120
  Douce, Francis, 82
  Duplessis, M. Georges, 4
  Dupré, Jean, 55, 60
  Dürer, Albrecht, 69
  ---- Apocalypse, 70
  ---- Engravings on Copper, 71
  ---- Life of the Virgin, 71
  ---- Passion of Our Lord, 71
  ---- 'Smaller' Passion, 71, 73
  ---- _Virgin crowned by Angels_, 72

  _Elizabetha Regina_ (1569), 103
  Elizabeth's, Queen, Prayer Book, 102
  Emblems of Mortality (1789), 116
  Estienne, Robert, 93

  Figure Alphabet, The, 24
  _Flight into Egypt_ (Jegher's), 105
  Foster, Birket, _Drawing_ by, 126
  Foxe's Book of Martyrs, 100
  Froben, Johann, 81
  Froschover, Christoph, 81
  _Fyshynge with an Angle_ (1496), 67

  Gaber (German Engraver), 127
  _Game and Playe of the Chesse_ (Caxton's), 62, 64
  German Engravers, 127
  Gray, Charles, 125
  Green, W. T. (Engraver), 125
  Greenaway, J., 125
  Gutenberg's Psalter, 34

  Harvey, William, 115, 121
  Heinecken, Herr, 4, 10
  _Henry VIII in Council_, _frontispiece_
  _Heures à l'usaige de Chartres_, 52
  _History of British Birds_ (Bewick), 110-114
  _History of Quadrupeds_ (Bewick), 111, 112
  Holbein, Hans, 69, 81-87
  ---- Alphabet of Dance of Death, 87
  ---- _Bible Cuts_ (Old Testament), 86, 87
  ---- _Dance of Death_, 82-84
  ---- Society, 20, 21
  Holinshed's 'Chronicles of England,' &c., 100
  Humphreys, Noel, 55
  _Hypnerotomachia Poliphili_ (1494), 42-44

  Illuminated Books of XV Century, 53
  Images of Saints, 2

  Jackson, John, 122
  _Jegher, Christoph_, of Antwerp, 104
  Jewitt, Orlando, 125
  Johnson, Robert, 115
  Jovius, Paulus, 95
  Jungtow, 127

  _Kalendario_ (Venice, 1476), 41
  Kerver, Thielman, 53, 58, 59
  _King's Banquet, The_, 58
  Kirkall, Elisha (1724), 106
  Knight, Charles, 122

  Landells, Ebenezer, 122
  Le Noir (Printers' mark), 60
  Le Rouge, 53
  Linton, W. J., 1, 5, 106
  Lippmann, Dr., 1
  Little Masters, The, 87
  Livres d'Heures, 57
  _Looking-glass for the Mind_, 116, 117
  Lützelburger, Hans, 81, 87

  _Macault reading his Translation_, 94
  Macé, Robert, of Caen, 96
  Mansion, Colard, of Bruges, 62
  _Manuzio, Aldo_, 45, 46
  Marchant, Guyot, 53, 59
  Maximilian, Emperor, 69, 74-80
  Mazarine Bible, 30
  Mer des Histoires, La, 53
  Milan, Lives of Dukes of, 95
  Metal Blocks, 51
  _Mirrour of the World_ (1478), 63
  Morris, William, 53, 128
  Mulready: _Vicar of Wakefield_, 125

  Nanto, Francesco da, 99
  _Navis Stultifera_ (1497), 38
  Nesbit, Charlton, 116, 118
  Notary, Julian, 68
  Nürnberg Chronicle, 36

  Palmer, W. J., 126
  Papillon, J. M. (French Engraver), 107
  _Passion of our Lord_ (Missal), 56
  Petit, Jehan, 60
  Pigouchet, Philippe, 55
  Plantin, Christophe, Antwerp, 96
  Playing Cards, 2
  Porta, Giuseppe, 90, 91
  Porto, Battista del, 99
  Powis, W. H. (Engraver), 125
  Printers' marks, 60
  ---- _Kerver's_, 59
  ---- _Le Noir's_, 60
  ---- _Plantin's_, 98
  ---- _Pynson's_, 68
  ---- _Tory's, Geoffroy_, 91
  ---- _Wynkyn de Worde's_, 65
  Psalter, Gutenberg's, 34
  Pynson, Richard, 66

  Recueil des Histoires de Troye, 62

  Saint Bridget of Sweden, 9
  _Saint Christopher_, 6
  Saint Sebastian, 9
  Salomon, Bernhard (Petit Bernhard), 95
  Schaufelein, Hans, 74
  Schongauer, Martin, 56, 57
  Scolari, Giuseppe, 99
  Select Fables (Bewick), 111
  Sessa Brothers, of Venice, 100
  Slader, Samuel, 125
  Smith, J. Orrin, 125
  Somerville's Chase, 117
  _Sorti di Marcolini_ (1540), 90, 91
  _Speculum Salvationis_, 11, 29

  _Terence_ (Lyons, 1493), 49
  Theuredank, Adventures of, 74
  Thompson, John, 119, 123, 124
  Thurston, John, 118
  Tory, Geoffroy, 91, 92, 94, 95
  Tournes, Jean de, 95, 96
  Trento, Antonio da, 99
  _Tristan, Romance of_, 58
  Triumphs of Maximilian, 74-80
  ---- _Triumphal Arch_ (Dürer), 75, 76
  ---- _Triumphal Car_ (Dürer), 77
  ---- _Triumphal Procession_ (Burgkmair), 78, 79
  Triumphal entry of Henri II into Lyons, 95
  Triumphal entry of Henri II into Paris, 95
  Triumphi del Petrarca (1488), 41, 47

  Ugo da Carpi, 99

  Vecellio, Cesare, 100
  Verard, Antoine, 53, 57
  Virgil Solis, 88
  _Virgin with four Saints_ (1418), 3
  Vostre, Simon, 53, 55

  Werskunig, 74
  Williams, Samuel, 125
  Willshire, Dr., 2, 55
  Woodbery, Mr., 32
  _Wood-Engraver, The_, x
  Wood Engravers (Living), 126
  Wynkyn de Worde, 65

_Spottiswoode & Co. Printers, New-street Square, London._

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] W. H. Willshire, _Playing and other Cards in the British Museum_, 1
vol. 8vo. (1876).

[2] It is often called the Mazarine Bible, because a copy was discovered,
with notes written in it by the illuminator, in the library of Cardinal
Mazarin. It is very scarce. In 1884 Mr. Quaritch bought a very fine copy
from the library of Sir John Thorold, for which he paid £3,900.

[3] _History of Wood-Engraving_, 1883.

[4] An English version, neither faithful nor complete, was published in the
time of Queen Elizabeth, '_At London, Printed for Simon Waterson, and are
to be sold at his shop in St. Paule's Churchyard at Chepegate, 1592._' It
is extremely scarce. Many of the pages, as giving examples of costume, have
lately been reprinted by authority of the Science and Art Department.

There is a French edition of Poliphilo, printed at Paris by Kerver in 1561,
with illustrations in a late florid French style.

[5] In a recent Catalogue, Mr. Quaritch offers no less than seven different
editions of the illustrated 'Livre d'Heures' printed by Verard, at prices
varying from 60l. to 200l.

[6] It was printed, with descriptions in black-letter, at the Chiswick
Press, and published by Joseph Cundall, 12 Old Bond Street, 1840.

[7] It is now issued by George Bell & Sons, who also publish Holbein's
Bible Pictures.

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