London: Chapman and Hall, 1835. First edition. The present work is framed as a conversation between two girls, Ellen and Charlotte, and their mother. It provides an easy-to-understand guide to over half a dozen quite advanced illustration methods, with multiple informative plates representing each method. With color frontispiece and additional title-page printed by George Baxter utilizing his newly patented method. Also with eighteen black-and-white lithographed plates by Day & Haghe, three vignette tailpieces, and over thirty text figures. Some fading and light soiling. Chipping to head of spine. All edges gilt. Pale yellow endpapers. Very clean throughout despite light foxing to edges of some plates. A good, tight copy of this guide to illustration for young women, only the fourth book to feature George Baxter’s prints. Publisher’s brown cloth stamped in gilt. Octavo. vii, 253, [2 ads] pp. Item #16955
George Baxter (1804 – 1867), the inventor of commercially viable color printing, patented his new printing method in 1835, the same year the present work was published. McLean explains that Baxter’s patent “was for reproducing paintings in color by mean of printing by letterpress in oil inks from a succession of wood or metal relief blocks on a key printed either from a copper or steel plate or lithographic stone or zinc plate…This key, coupled with the number of printings (usually between ten and twenty, but sometimes as many as thirty), gave Baxter’s prints the richness that none of his rivals ever attained and which still amazes us today. His other ‘secrets’…were great skill in selecting the colors to be engraved, in engraving them, and in obtaining exact register in printing.”.
Gandee writes, “The frontispiece is a very successful specimen of a new Art…it is done by taking successive impressions from wood blocks; and when it is stated that no less than twelve are used in this instance, and consequently each plate goes through the press twelve times, some idea may be formed of the ingenuity and skill required to conduct so difficult a process,” (p. vi). McLean, Ruari. Victorian Book Design, pp. 37-39.