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OLD PICTURE BOOKS

OLD PICTURE BOOKSWITH OTHER ESSAYS ON BOOKISH SUBJECTS, BY

ALFRED

W.

POLLARD

l

LONDON: METHUEN AND CO36

ESSEX STREET, W.C.

1902

^-

To JOHN MACFARLANE.Librarian of the Imperial Library^ Calcutta.

My dear Macfarlane, Just as you had completed a valuable monographon that enterprising French publisher Antoine Verard, youicere rchirled-

away

to

Indiait

to

organise a great library at,

Calcutta.

I havey

seen

stated in the neii'spapers on highis

authority

that

your Imperial Library

to

be a second

Museum, but I am afraid that, developed by your energy and skill, itBritish

even when fullyicill

contain

no

Verards.

I

hope, hoivever,"will

that

when you come over onto

furlough you

resume the pleasant studies we usedthat you

pursue

together,

and

may

even be induced

to

read

another paper before the learned Society of which you wereonce

my

fellaw secretary.is

To keep alive your interest

in

old books

thus a reasonable pretext for dedicating

to you

these bookish essays.

My

real hope

is

that as they stand

on your book-shelf theyBritish

Museum and

of the

may remind you of the original many friends you left behindamid our Bloomsbury

here after your seventeen years' workfogs.

Faithfully yours,

Alfred

\V.

Pollard

NOTEThepaper on'

England and the Bookish Arts'to'

originally-

appeared as an introductionLibrary' (Keganare reprinted from

The English Bookman's

Paul'

and

Co.).

The

other

Essays

Bibliographica,'Library,'

'The Connoisseur,'

'The Guardian,' 'The

'The King's College'

School Magazine,' 'Longman's Magazine,'Magazine,'

Macmillan's

'The

Newbery

House

Magazine,'

'The

Pageant,' and the 'Transactions' of the BibliographicalSociety.at the

Separate acknowledgment of

its

source

is

made

beginning of each paper, but the author desires

here to thank the Publishers and Editors toindebted for permission to reprint.

whom

he

is

All the essays hav^e

been revised, and some of the illustrations appear herefor the first time.

CONTENTSOLD PICTURE BOOKS

.....BIBLES. .

PAGE3II

FLORENTINE RAPPRESENTAZIONI AND THEIR PICTURES

TWO ILLUSTRATED ITALIANA BOOK OF HOURS

37.

,

51

THE TRANSFERENCE OF WOODCUTSSIXTEENTH CENTURIESES

TU SCHOLARIS?

..... ......IN'.

THE FIFTEENTH AND7o

99106 124 146 159172

ENGLISH BOOKS PRINTED ABROAD

SOME PICTORIAL AND HERALDIC INITIALS

ENGLAND AND THE BOOKISH ARTSTHE FIRST ENGLISH BOOK SALE

JOHN DURIE'S 'REFORMED LIBRARIE-KEEPER

WOODCUTS

IN ENGLISH PLAYS

HERRICK AND HIS FRIENDSA POET'S STUDIESPRINTERS'

.... .... ......PRINTED BEFORE 1660OF

.

183

200 216

MARKS

CENTURIES

......THEFIFTEENTH

AND

SIXTEENTH227242

THE FRANKS COLLECTION OF ARMORIAL BOOK-STAMPS

.

Bv Alice PollardA QUEEN ANNE POCKET-BOOK260273

WHY MEN

don't MARRY

Tin; SIEGE

Ol'

NOVA TROJA.

FROM GKONINGER'S 'VIRGIL': bTRASSBUKG, I502

OLD PICTURE BOOKSthe edition of Virgil published

by Griininger

at

IN

Strassburg

in

1502, Sebastian Brant boasted thatit,

the illustrations to

whose preparation he had

superintended,

made

the story of the book as plain to the:

unlearned as to the learned'

Hie legere historias commentaque plurima doctus,

Nee minus indoctus

perlegere

ilia potest.'

The

though it must be would have been puzzled by the cannon here shown as employed in the siege of Nova Troja, and similar medicevalisms abound throughout the volume. Coming almost at the end of the first series ofgrantedthat

boast was no ill-founded one,Virgil

early illustrated books, the Virgil of 1502 thus exemplifies

two of the chief featuresinto thelife

to

which they owe

their

charm

:

the power of telling a story and the readiness to import

of their

most uncongenial themes some touches of the own day. But by Brant's time illustrationits

was already losingbe otherwise

pristine simplicity.

It

could hardlyjust

when such

a

man

as Brant,'

who had

gained a European reputation by his

Narrenschiff,'

was

concerning himself with

it.

rather a craft than an art, alike in

At the outset it had been Germany, in Italy, inif

the Netherlands, and in France, and,

w^e

do not add

England to the list, it is only because in England the workmen, though naive enough in all conscience, were

'^'i/'

.'

:

OLD PICTURE BOOKSthem craftsmen would be But whether skilled or unskilled,

so entirely untrained that to calltoo great a compliment.

the woodcutters' objects were everywhere the

same

:

to

render his design with the greatest possible simplicity ofoutline,to tell

the story with

a directness which often

verges on caricature, and to keep his pictures in decorative

harmony with

the type-page on which they were to appear,

printed with the

excellent ink, on the

same pull of the same excellent

press, with the

same

paper.

In papers brought together in thisis

volume the reader

asked

to

look at the

woodcuts

Bibles, at the beautiful cuts

to two old Italian which make the Florentine

Miracle Plays or Rappresentazioni so highly esteemed,at the illustrations to

French editions of the Hours of the Blessed Virgin,' and at some examples of the curious transformations and vicissitudes which old wood blocks and the designs for them went through ere yet either'

cliches

or

photographic processes had been

invented.

The reproductions which accompany these and other articles will give a better idea of these Old Picture Books to those who do not already know them than could be conveyed by any verbal descriptions. Here it may suffice to emphasise one or two points which are often overlooked.

In the

first

place,

it

only do we speak of w^oodcuts, a

may have been noticed that not common enough word,'The Woodcuttersof

but also of woodcutters, a term which, until Sir Martin

Conway used

it

in the title of hisit

the Netherlands,' where

wasin

ridiculed at the time

as

suggesting the stalwart workmen

who

cut

downIt

trees,

was hardly ever employedincongruitieij

this sense.

cannot bein

denied that the use of the word sometimes lands usof

phrase

;

but

inasmuch

as there

is

no

OLD PICTURE BOOKSevidence of the graver having beenbefore

5in

used

woodcuts

the

eighteenth

century,

it

is

clearly

wrongit is

to

speak of the early craftsmen as engrav^ers, andfair

only

in

estimating their performance to remember that

they worked with no better tool than a knife.

Asrule

regards the material they used,

itI

wood

;

but experts are agreed

know

was no doubt as a not on what

evidence

that instead of thedownhowever, that

blocks cut across the grain

adopted by the modern engraver, they used wood sawnperpendicularlyIt is certain,

the grain, as in an ordinary plank.in addition to

wood somelist

soft

kind of metal, spoken of in one place (thecuts in one of

of border-

Du

Pre's

'

Horae

')

as ciiivre^ or copper, but

generally identified with pewter, was also used.

This use ofof Hours,'

metal encouraged in

some

of the French

'

Books

notably in those of Philippe Pigouchet, a finer and closer

method of work than we can believe waspossible on

at that

time

woodit

;

but the general handling was preciselyis

the same, and

often only

bending instead of breaking,for certain that the

when we see a thin line as wood did, that we knowForis

craftsman was working on metal.

this reason the

term woodcut

often applied to metal

cuts

worked

in the style of

wood

as well as to woodcuts

properly so called, and though doubtless reprehensible,the confusioncutsis

not nearly so misleading as that between

and engravings.third fact has already been emphasised, namely, thatI

A

the makers of the woodcuts, and

think

we may add