Peltz 2017

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Peltz, Lucy. Facing the Text: Extra-Illustration, Print Culture, and Society in Britain 1769-1840. San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 2017.

Introduction: A Long History of Extra Illustration

Bowyer Bible, 7000 prints in 45 folio volumes, bound and preserved in a custom-made case

Robert Bowyer was a publisher, operated the Historic Gallery at Schomberg House between 1792 and 1806 -- exhibiting paintings cementing "British culture" and history, reproduced in engravings to sell

Bowyer spent huge sums collecting prints and on his bible, had financial difficulties; housemaid Mary Parkes inherited the bible upon his death and disposed of it by lottery to a "gentleman-farmer near Shepton-Mallet" (3)

paucity of evidence about how and why extra-illustrated books, individual copies, were made

"Part of the problem is that the materials do not fit establishehd categories: they are neither book nor album nor print collection, and yet they are simultaneously all three. Theh consequence is that extra-illustrated books are often overlooked, misunderstood, or in many cases, broken up for the prints and drawings they contain." (4)

"In its heyday, extra-illustration was a genteel practice predicated on exegesis and display. In this regard it is similar to the connoisseurial processes of collating, mounting, and annotating prints in albums arranged by artists." (5)

"the continuous history of extra-illustration took shape within a limited circle of gentlemen amateurs with antiquarian sensibilities in the 1770s and 1780s. During the 1790s, some of the graphic entrepreneurs who had served the interests of these men began to explore how extra-illustration could advanced their business. It was throug hthe agency fo these printsellers and print dealers that extra-illustration was disseminated to a wider British audience and promoted as a fashion that lasted into the 1840s. However, from the 1850s, if not slightly before, the framework in which extra-illustrators operated began to change. Oncew extra-illustration had been colonized by gook- and printsellers, its [7] power to signal respectabiliity and distinction was diminished and, in due course, debased. In the difference milieu of America, meanwhile, extra-illustration was taken up and extended as a specialist activity by well-to-do bibliophiles. At the same time, new attitudes on bothh sides of the Atlantic about the inviolability of books began to push extra-illustration to the margins, undermining it as a meaningful cultural activity by the early decades of the twentieth century." (5-7)

Little Gidding harmonies as precursor to extra-illustration

"In the half-century following the Civil War, no extra-illustrated books were made." changed withh publication of Edward Hyde, Early of Clarendon, History of the Rebellion and Civil wArs in England (1702-4) (10)

  • this book "prompted a handful of print dealers and publishers to try to develop a market for individually embellished copies of the book in the 1710s and 1720s. This was a decisive moment, turning the focus away from the religious reverie of Little Gidding to a wide-ranging exploration of national history. Extra-illustration was to pursue this thematic course, with somem important detours into natural history, literature, and topography, for more than a hundred years." (10)
  • two extra-ill Clarendon's landed with Henry Boyle and Robert Harley; book's appeal among Tories
  • John Bulfinch, a dealer in pictures and books, was responbiles for making some extra-ill Clarendons, "targeting thhe period's leading polticians as purchasers of these luxury commodities" (11)
  • table of contents showing darwings and prints placed around scene of action in text (14)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 of images in Harley and Boyle Clarendons "are unsigned monochrome drawings made with pen and brush in Indian ink" (16)
  • others did to Clarendon what Bulfinch did, including printsellers issuing prints to go with Clarendon
  • market for such books "was narrow and easily saturated" (19); only about a dozen ex-ill books produced over 3 decades

"One innovation in the book trade that eclipsed extra-illustration at this time was the increasing production of individual prints or sets of plates as 'optional extras' to complement specific titles. These plates, produced with freequence from the 1730s, could be bound with the letterpress or kept separately in albums." (19)

"growing importance of engraved heads at thhe start of the eighteenth century" (22)

rise of use or portraits in libraries, belief in theh power of visual iages to impart knowledge

rise of antiquarianism -- "This popular antiquarianism, which I regard as an informal but perfasive network of ideas, practices, and social relations, was made possible by a thriving culture of correspondence and a lively arket in coparatively affordable and eminently exchhangeable printd media, both historical and recently published." (23) -- Sweet 2004

"In my work I have taken extra-illustration, with its marked leaning toward historical biography and topography, to be one manifestation of the poularization and commodification of antiquarianism in the period under consideration." (24)

rise of interest in coins, arrangement in a cabinet or library

prints of "'great men' were imbued with historical and moral value" -- "The process of ofrming and organizing such collections came to imply that thhose hwo made them had assimilated the values encoded in the images they assembled." (26)

James Granger, Biographical History of England from Egbert the Great to the Revolution (1769), "launched the popular fashion for engraved portrait collecting that, in turn, gave rise to extra-illustration as a wide-ranging cultural phenomenon of national importance." (28)

Richard Bull, "first person to extra-illustrated Granger's Biographical History", wrote to him showing how he had followed his plan to include portraits next to biographical acocunts of individual subjects (28); "his large network of friends, colleagues,a nd fellow antiquaries guaranteed that this novel way of customizing texts" was soon known (28) -- "Extra-illustrationw as quickly taken up by individuals in B?ull's circle and, within a couple of decades, had become popular with a wide range of people." (28)

extra-ill came to be known as "grangerizing" among 19c commentators; "Known in the 18 and earlier 19cs as either 'illumination' or 'illustrations', apparently teh pastime earned Granger's name to distinguish extra-illustrated books from decorated medieval manuscripts and from books published withh integrated images. The term also afforded Granger's reputation far greater longevity than his publications or direct involvement with extra-illustration merited. In fact, despite all assertions to the contrary, granger never grangerized a book. By the late 19c the nomenclature also carried a negative charge, and the practice was repeatedly stigmmatized as a form of 'biblioclasm'." (31)

George Steevens, 18-volume extra-illustrated rendition of The Plays of William Shakespeare (1793) (31)

Frederick Strong, "The Destruction Room": advertised place where readers could come, find cut-out prints, and paste to make extra-illustrated books and albums; family was in the business of making varnish and japan, "a trade for which snippets of print were constantly needed to ornament objects such as boxes and screens" (31)

Dibdin, Bibliomania -- interested in extra-ill but "wary of the xtra-illustrator's apparent disregard for the orders of knowledge that could be constructed out of the study of books. His disquiet centered on the challenge posed by extra-illustration to the original author's status in relation to the text, and on the reconfiguration fo theh reader's experience" (33)

William Blake extra-illustrated books

"The long history of extra-ill I have been tracing in this introduction concludes in Britain and America in the late 19 and early 20cs." (36)

shift to American themes in later 19c, middle-class collectors engaging in extra-ill, antiquarian book clubs (41)

importance of documentary evidence in studying exta-ill books; "Without this, we are confronted with objects that are at once bewildering and inscrutable -- objects of mere curiosity about which nearly anything might be said and on which almost any idea might be projected." (43)