Old Family Letters

Sorry about no post last week: nothing to say but lots to do. Besides, that Eno/Mills post seemed to attract lots of interest. This week still not much to say, but some interesting images to share from a disbound late-19th century book about the art of illumination. It bubbled up from the unpacking. Been in the family since around 1859 (see below).

The Art of Illumination as Practised in Europe From the Earliest Times, Illustrated with Borders, Initial Letters and Alphabets Selected & Chromolithographed by W.R. Tymms With An Essay and Instructions by M.D. Wyatt, Arch., London, Published April 2nd 1860 by Day & Son, Lithographers to the Queen.

A phantasmagoria of chromolithography. Over 100 vibrant pages reproducing letters and illuminations, arranged chronologically from the 6th to the 19th centuries. Printed rectos only.

At the back is a long two-part essay by Wyatt about the art. The second part is particularly interesting, with detailed instructions and discussions of colors, materials and techniques.

He also includes several pages of useful inscriptions categorized by the room or setting for which they are suited...

This copy is accompanied by a second volume, also disbound & lacking a title page or any identifying information. It consists of bifoliums each producing a decorative alphabet (none of them very interesting), printed in one color (not always black, & generally not very well printed).

The most interesting part of this collection is the signature on the front flyleaf of its first owner - Emma Stebbins, the noted American sculptor (and HM relative, much to her probable chagrin).

So there's something to look at this week.