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Studio: international art — 36.1906

Seite: 59
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1 cm
Coloured Xylographic Prints


or diamond in form, being found on many examples
of their designs. Staining in black is also a usual
feature, having the appearance of an inlay of black
leather. Both these characteristics appear together
on the red morocco cover of the Dublin printed
Sallust (1747) illustrated on this page; and although
subdued in form, the contrast which they produce is
sufficiently marked to light up and give a character
to the whole scheme of ornamentation. Another
small volume (6 x 3^ in.), illustrated on p. 57, is a
Prayer Book oj Boulter Grierson’s printing, bound in
pale brown morocco, with inlaid citron centre-piece
left open at the middle so as to show the colour of
the ground—a simple, yet pretty pattern.

A close study of the petits fers, or tools, used by
Irish craftsmen shows that they must have been
designed and cut in Ireland. We know that there
were many artificers in Dublin at the time capable
of doing such work, and doing it well—but it is at
this date all but impossible to come by any records
on the subject. If we except such stamps as dots,
stars, rings, gouges, and other very elementary
forms common to all parts of the world, it would,
I think, be a matter of no little difficulty to point
out any individual tool which is found to have
been employed in Irish work and also in that of
any other country about the same time.

The number of bookbinders who are known, by
name, to have been engaged in the craft' during the
eighteenth century in Dublin is quite a large one,
but, as in other places, the majority of them were
occupied mainly in the doing of ordinary every-day
binding work. Amongst those who are entitled to
the credit of having produced the magnificently
bound volumes of the Irish Parliamentary Journals

are Robert Thornton (1692 —1705), Joseph Ray
(1705 —1718), Nicholas King (1718—1723),
Samuel Fairbrother (1723—1749), Abraham
Bradley (1749 - 1780), A. Bradley and A.
Bradley King (1780—1800). These names deserve
to be rescued from the oblivion in which they were
themselves content that they should remain.

Edward Sullivan.

An easy method of making


Colour-printing from wood-blocks was first
practised by the Chinese as early as the sixth
century. Then, like most of their art, it was im-
parted, through the Koreans, to the Japanese,
These colour-prints took with the Chinese and
Japanese the same rank that the realistic pictures
of Europe did in the West, and the names ot
the old colour-printers Moronobu and Okumura
Masonobu are as honoured in the East as any of
our Western old masters. They had achieved to
perfection the art of designing and printing all
manner of flat decorative work, in which perhaps
they have never been equalled.

The process was introduced into Europe several
centuries later. It cannot be traced whether it was
in any way brought here from the East; but, as the
early European wood-prints are much more primi-
tive than the Japanese or Chinese, it is probable
that there was no connection between them.

Hand-blocks were always used until after the
printing-press came into general use, when colour-
printing made rapid progress. With the advent of
the steam-press the cheapness and quickness of the
method recommended it for commercial purposes,
but the prints turned out in this rapid way soon
lost all character and artistic merit. This was
especially the case with the showbills, or posters,
of twenty or twenty-five years ago, which were
executed in what might almost be termed poster-
factories, so numerous was the output. They were
entirely cut on large pine-boards by “ pine en-
gravers,” who were sometimes remarkably skilful,
though the work had to be executed so quickly
and cheaply; and trained artists were so seldom
employed to design and draw these showbills that
these pine-posters compared very unfavourably with
their predecessors, the hand-block prints. The
pine “ showbill ” is now a thing of the past, as it
has been superseded by cheaper and quicker
methods of reproduction all more or less mechani-
cal, only the design being done by the artist.

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