Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hand-Coloring over Printing from 18th-century Europe

Anonymous German printmaker
Egyptischen Lotterie (playing card)
ca. 1700-1750
hand-colored etching
British Museum

William Hooper, MD
Rational Recreations (plate X)
1787
hand-colored engraving
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

William Hooper, MD
Rational Recreations (plate XI)
1787
hand-colored engraving
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

"I did not feel responsible for the fantastic world in which I was living.  Call it the fantastic or the wondrous.  In this zone my knowledge was, strictly speaking, the concept.  I reached it by a hidden staircase – the image.  Abstract inquiry had taught me to consider it a gross delusion, and here, at its absolute limit, the concept, in its concrete form, with its wealth of particularities, no longer strikes me as being in the least different from this spurned mode of knowledge, the image, which is poetic knowledge; vulgar forms of knowledge, beneath the pretext of science or logic, serve merely as conscious bridges which the image, that burning bush, wondrously burns behind it."

Pierre Fran├žois Hugues, Baron d'Hancarville
Hercules and a companion in combat with the Centaurs
from a Greek vase in the collection of Sir William Hamilton

1766-67
hand-colored etching and engraving (book illustration)
Victoria & Albert Museum

Teodoro Viero (publisher)
Venetian gentleman in normal day attire
ca. 1740
hand-colored engraving
British Museum

Francesco Bartolozzi
Plate from the Transparency exhibited in London on the 10th of March 1789
in the General Illumination commemorating the Recovery of King George III
1790
hand-colored engraving
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Francesco Bartolozzi
The Origin of Painting
1786
hand-colored stipple-engraving
Victoria & Albert Museum

"The fact is just a category.  But the image borrows only the form of fact, for the mind can conceive it as existing outside itself.  The image then, at every stage of its development, exhibits itself to the mind with all the guarantees that the  mind demands from its modes of knowledge.  It is law in the domain of abstraction, it is fact in the domain of events, and it is knowledge in the domain of the concrete.  The latter is one's ultimate touchstone, permitting one to declare, summarily, that the image is the way of all knowledge.  So there is justification in viewing the image as the outcome of the mind's total movement, in neglecting whatever is not it, in devoting oneself exclusively to poetic activity, at the expense of every other activity."

Anonymous printmaker after Sigmund Freudenberger
La Visite
ca. 1770-1801
hand-colored etching
British Museum

Sayer & Bennett
A Bagnio Scene 
(with a white-legged chicken coaxing an old dotard)
1778
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Sayer & Bennett
A Bagnio Scene
1778
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

James Bretherton after Catherine Maria Fanshawe
Ancient and Modern Pyramids
(elderly lady at left in the fashion of 1760)
1787
hand-colored etching
British Museum

Matthew Darly (publisher)
Macaronies drawn after the Life
1773
hand-colored etching
British Museum

"The conquests of the mind are nothing to me.  Researchers of every sort, what is your object if not the repugnant apology of the senses?  At times I believed in the existence of new refreshments.  I brought my lips to these snows.  Fruits, melting lights, youths, plaintive waters, forests.  Perfume of the world, the only thing that secures me to your toboggan is an illusory strap; slide down the bending trail, and the spills you take are like a flight of birds.  Before this cross commemorating a mortal accident of thought, I repeat: The conquests of mind are as nothing to me.  When man walks through the hall of New Acquisitions with a smile, with a smile! – I shall never be able to tolerate that smile.  No terrain has been won since the caveman, we have not advanced one inch against the mystery."

– quotes passages are by Louis Aragon, from Le Paysan de Paris (1924), translated as Nightwalker by Frederick Brown (1970)

Matthew Darly (publisher)
The Petticoat at the Fieri Maschareta
(wearer is probably a man in masquerade)
1775
hand-colored etching
British Museum

Matthew Darly and George Edwards
Design for Chinoiserie Chair
1754
hand-colored etching and engraving
British Museum