Posted by on Jan 8, 2011 in New Arrivals, Personal Picks | 1 comment

1820s – 1890s Book Plates – Unique Look at the Development of Color Printing

1820s – 1890s Book Plates – Unique Look at the Development of Color Printing

One of my most favorite collections to have come to the shop recently, and which is now largely available for you to enjoy, is a vast ephemera collection that ranges in date from the early 1820s through the mid 1890s. Most of the collection consists of antique image plates from a variety of material printed in the 19C.

I am absolutely enthralled with paper (ephemera, as it’s called amongst us uber-nerds); the smell, the touch and the distinct coloration of paper holds a special power for me. It’s a shame, because practically speaking, ephemera is super susceptible to decomposition. Proper storage, handling and care are absolutely necessary for the preservation of antique paper.

This collection came courtesy of a local couple. His father was an antiques dealer on the east coast for years, and when he passed away the ephemera collection came to the west coast, where it has been stored for some time. I have had the most incredible time going through the boxes and preparing some of my very favorite selections for sale. Something that has really impressed me about the collection as a whole, that may be less visible parted out, is that it provides a wonderful visual of the historic development of color printing technologies that came about in the 19C.

From wood engravings, to steel plate etchings delicately hand colored, to early color lithography, these prints are not just beautiful works of art, but also a road map of change in the way images were printed for publication.

Some features of the collection include the following;

  • Harper’s Weekly covers and images dating to the first 1/2 of the 19C
  • Scores of hand colored plates from an 1842 collection of Jardin’s Naturalist’s Library
  • Dozens of hand colored plates from 1850s volume detailing English weeds

Come by this month and take a look! There’s lots to take in. I’ve got lots out priced as low as $3 for small images (b&w) to $65 for some of the hand colored etchings of birds. There are lots of deals on multiple prints and a great selection for reasonable prices.  No point in enjoying it, if you can’t bring one home. :)

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