Studio: international art — 28.1903

Page: 261
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Le Blons Three-Colour Prints


AKOB CHRISTOFFEL LE BLON Jakob Christoffel Le Blon, a German by birth
AND HIS THREE-COLOUR *n sP*te °^ his French name, was baptised on
PRINTS BY DR HANS W ^e 2^r<^ or" May, ^67, in Frankfort-on-the-Main.

He seems to have studied under Meyer, of Zurich,*

express a conviction that in a few years all our
journals would present a new appearance, con-


It is not presuming too much to suppose that


t_ i m j ' j-i j* , • * Since this article on Le Blon was written, several years ago,

IT was about a decade ago that the first speci- a book on "Eighteenth-Century Colour-Prints" has made its appear.

mens of photo-mechanical three-colour prints were an™- ,T',e "liability of ,th<= information published in it may be

L L gathered from the following instances : Lriuho Campagnola is called, on

introduced, and the public was Startled With the Page 5, " the first Stipple Engraver" ; Papillon's cock-and-bull story
r , , , r about the invention of chiaroscuro engraving by the " Cunios" in the

promise Of a Complete revolution m matters Of thirteenth (!!!) century is detailed over four pages; on page 27 the
cheap illustration. The apostles Of the new pro- reader is treated to the wonderful statement—" The point of the graver
. is used, and a combination of the maniere criblcc, dots and strokes,

CeSS Were Sanguine enough 111 their hopes tO irregular and abrupt, with genuine stippling, is employed with con-
siderable advantage to the engraving." (For the uninitiated I will
explain that stippling is an intaglio—maniere criblSe a relief-method ;
of course, no single plate could be treated at once in these two methods
any more than a man can sleep and wake at the same time.) And
taining Scarcely anything but life-like Coloured more of such nonsense ad infinitum. Chapter IV. treats of Le Blon.

The author has not taken the trouble to master the facts of the case.
For instance, Le Blon's birth is given as 1670, whereas the proper date
is to be found at a moment's notice in the very place where most people
would have sought for it (Gwinner, Frankfurter Kunst & Kunstler). But
not One Of these inventors and advocates knew three-and-a-half pages are devoted to a long, probably apocryphal, story
, , . . r ofhisyouth. Nothing^ this is authenticated, and such factsofLe Blon's

that What they Were Striving tor had already been life as are known upon reliable authority are given in my account above.

attempted nearly two cen-
turies ago, else they
would no doubt have
been induced to look into
the matter and profit
by the experience of a
previous failure. The
name of their forerunner
is Le Blon. He is prob-
ably the first man to have
introduced true colour-
printing, that is, using
several plates to produce
the picture, and inking
each with only one colour.
This priority of course
applies only to him as an
intaglio-engraver. The
special interest attached
to Le Blon, however, is
that he, an enthusiast upon
Newton's theory of the
triple composition of light,
endeavoured to produce his
work on the basis of this
theory. The story of Le
Blon's process—of his whole
career, in fact—is full of
vicissitudes, and ends up
with a final failure. He,
too, had to yield his posi-
tion, and admit the imper-
fections resulting when his
beloved theory was put into
practice, and take recourse
to a fourth, black plate. kino gf.orge i. from the three-colour print by j. c. le blon

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