Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hand-Colored Prints from Victorian England

Anonymous printmaker
Queen Victoria's bedroom in Buckingham Palace, with new baby
ca. 1840
hand-colored lithograph
British Museum

Dean & Co
The Royal Railroad Carriage
(Victoria, Albert, children and maids, with Windsor Castle in the distance)
ca. 1843
hand-colored lithograph
British Museum

W.H.J. Carter (publisher)
The Fearful Accident on the North London Railway
hand-colored lithograph
British Museum

Anonymous printmaker
ca. 1840-50
hand-colored lithograph
British Museum

from For the Union Dead

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

.     .     .

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

– Robert Lowell (1964)

Anonymous printmaker after Henry Fuseli
The Nightmare
before 1868
hand-colored etching
British Museum
A.M. Huffam after Alexandre Marie Collin
The Toilet
ca. 1840
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

William Holl the Younger after Eden Upton Eddis
The Most Noble the Marchioness of Stafford
ca. 1849-56
hand-colored etching
British Museum

Richard James Lane
Miss Vandenhoff as Juliet
ca. 1830-40
hand-colored lithograph
British Museum

Anonymous printmaker
Commemorative Portrait of Tom Sayers, Champion of England
ca. 1865
hand-colored photogravure
British Museum

Richard James Lane after Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Portrait of His Highness the Maharajah Duleep Singh
before 1872
hand-colored chromolithograph
British Museum

Pierre Loti Visits the Maharaja of Travancore

The country-side reminded him of France.
But dawns were different:
lodged in a European guest house,
he woke each morning to the clamor of crows.
"They infest India," he wrote.
But he welcomed the sparrows, so surprisingly
like home, who hopped in and out of his room,
pecking rice from his table.

When at last the maharaja summoned him,
it was to talk of Europe.
The maharani, splendid
in silks like crinkled poppy petals,
wished only to hear of styles and carriages.
He recorded sadly
that even had they desired to speak
of those spiritual things he thirsted for
his interpreter would not have known
the French words.

The maharaja
sent the royal musicians to the guest house
with vinas and tamburas carved from gourds,
and small, oiled drums.
"Harsh and monotonous"
the good Abbé du Bois had written,
"but let us remember, the heathen
has not our sensibilities."

The maharaja's guest
waited attentively before the "huge guitars
and tom-toms". When the music started
almost inaudibly, he was astonished,
having expected noise. Notes droned and slid,
too alien to grasp.
                               At last he thought
that these most subtle modulations
expressed all that the maharaja might have said.

He took no pleasure in a music
that lacked all harmonies,
but thought he could discern a pattern.
The singing, "strange and rare", moved him.
It seemed unbearably sad.
But halfway through the concert
a page announced "the elephant is here".
Fearing to bore his guest, the maharaja
had ordered a diversion.

The bewildered foreigner
mounted the great beast's trunk
with the drone of vina and mridangam
still sounding in his ears. He was borne, swaying,
outside the landscaped grounds. Monkeys
skipped before him. The sun beat down.
Beyond the palace crashed the desolate sea.
And nothing now reminded him of home.

– Erika Mumford (published in Poetry, 1984)

Anonymous printmaker
Portrait of William Shakespeare
before 1868
hand-colored engraving
British Museum

Henry Shaw after Isaac Oliver
Queen Elizabeth I (after the portrait at Hatfield House)
before 1873
hand-colored aquatint
British Museum

J. Allport
Mary, Queen of Scots
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Henry Shaw after William Scrots
Portrait of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
before 1852
hand-colored aquatint
British Museum