Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Theatre Programs: 1916 and 1923

Two interesting program cover designs, one by Earl Christy.

The Gaiety Theatre, August 21, 1916:

Henry Miller's Theatre, 1923:

Different printing and publishing companies, different approaches. Thanks to Mariangela Buch for sending these. You can see some ads from the interiors of these two booklets online on the site.

The Constitution Versus the Guerriere

Color frontispiece from the 1908 McLoughlin Bros. book "Old Ironsides".

A Color Frontispiece of Egypt, circa 1882

Here's the color frontispiece (a Chromolithograph) from Thomas W. Knox' The Boy Travellers in the Far East / Part Fourth / Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey to Egypt and the Holy Land (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1883). There are plenty of other interesting pictures in this book, but this is the only one in color.

Portrait in Chromolithography

Frontispiece for Anne Hollingsworth Wharton, Salons Colonial and Republican (Lippincott, 1900 -- available in a reprint edition). The painting is by Thomas Sully of Elizabeth Wadsworth, about whom the book says (p. 263-4) "A New York beauty who was frequently to be met at the [Mrs. William Rush of Philadelphia] Rushes' was Elizabeth Wadsworth, a sister of General James S. Wadsworth, of Geneseo. Miss Wadsworth was an intimate friend of the Hopkinsons, by whom she is described as lovely in character as well as beautiful in person. For Mr. Joseph Hopkinson's daughter, Mrs. William Biddle, Miss Wadsworth had her portrait painted by Sully, which is still in possession of the Hopkinson family. When the Honorable Charles Augustus Murray was in America collecting materials for his book of travels among the Indians of North America, and for his Prairie Bird, which appeared later, he met Miss Wadsworth and became warmly attached to her. The American beauty returned the affection of her English lover, but refused to marry him and leave her father. Some years later, after the death of Mr. Wadsworth, his daughter accepted an invitation to go abroad with a party of friends. In London or in Paris she met Mr. Murray, who had remained faithful to his early love; they became engaged, were married, and went to Cairo, where Mr. Murray held an official position."

Wikipedia has plenty more to say about this, but most poingant about the story is that they were married 12 December 1850 in Scotland, and she died in childbirth 8 December 1851 (though their son survived).

Now you know about Mrs. Murray; I still don't know why she was chosen for the frontispiece, since very little of the book is about her. You can download the whole book from Google or the Internet Archive if you want to read more.

A Typical Chromo ... But Not Exactly

A view of Wynnstay Park in Wales, courtesy of eBay seller historicpaper2, who describes it as a "chromolithograph of Wynnstay Park, near Ruabon, Denbigshire, Wales the ancestral home of Baronet Williams-Wynn. Published in Views of the Seats of the Nobility, by F.O. Morris, London 1880. Colour printed in eight or more overlays from separate wooden blocks by Benjamin Fawcett of Driffield 1808-1893, one of the foremost colour-printers of the 19th Century, from original draughts (drawn on the wood) by Frank Lydon".

The only thing wrong with this description is that strictly speaking the image is printed from multiple woodcut blocks, rather than from drawings on lithographic stone. It's a polychrome picture, but not a litho.

We'll keep the distinctions.

Pictures in Color

This is a place to celebrate the old color printing technology of Chromolithography. And others.

Wikipedia has a good introduction.

There dozens and hundreds of techniques and technologies used to print color pages in the early days. Some people are Very Specific about what they mean when they use the term, so don't be upset if we toss in a lot of variants and explore some alternatives.

Meanwhile, today, color printing is still improving, even as the printed page is being supplanted, slowly, by the mobile device and the tablet and the computer screen.

A slightly different version of this blog used to exist elsewhere. It's here now.

Pictures in Color / Color in Pictures. Like, Wow.