Eighteenth-century printers’ ornaments, especially from the rococo school (second and third ornaments here) can be extremely elaborate and beautiful. These space-fillers also helped mark the end or beginning of a chapter or a book and definitely enhanced the aesthetic quality of the printed word. Printers’ ornaments carry on the embellishment tradition of monastic scribes who illuminated manuscripts prior the arrival of the printing press.
The study of print culture is a vibrant branch in 18th-century scholarship. See more about this topic in the special issue of Eighteenth-Century Fiction: “Fiction and Print Culture.” All articles are free to read on the journal’s archive at Digital Commons
The colour in this 1807 print was superbly preserved. I’m unsure if my photographic reproduction does it justice. I’m sharing another image from the long eighteenth century since I cannot get enough of colour this spring, maybe because it has been such a long, cool spring and only now in May feels like we’ll see some colour in the world again. Rabbit Shooting, del. Samuel Howitt, sculp. J. Godby & H. Merke, pub. Edward Orme, 1807.
Believe it or not, several Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles mention rabbits! Read these essays for free on Digital Commons:
Personal Effects and Sentimental Fictions
The archives at McMaster University (Research Collections, Mills Library) hold so many amazing books on worldwide travels during the eighteenth century, and these tomes are often filled with spectacular illustrations. Today, three animals from one book: I found Goat, Buffalo, and Camel in A collection of late voyages and travels, chiefly translated and abridged from the French and other foreign publications of Neihbur, Mariti, Beauchamp, &c. &c. The whole forming a body of important and amusing information, concerning the present state of manners, of arts and literature, of religion and government, … With 12 plates, and a map of Asia, by Beauchamp, Alph. de, 1767-1832, Ferrières-Sauvebœuf, Louis-François, comte de, 1762-1814, Mariti, Giovanni, 1736-1806, Niebuhr, Carsten, 1733-1815., Heron, Robert, 1764-1807 ([Edinburgh]: Watson and Co., Edinburgh, and J. Hamilton, London, 1797).
Deadline for special issue submissions has been pushed back to 1 July 2013: please send in your scholarly essays for “The Senses of Humour.” For further details, see the Call for Articles for “The Senses of Humour.”
Another colourful print from the long 18th century: “The Refreshment” (pub. by S&J Fuller, 1818), del. H. Alken, sculpt. Sutherland. After a thirsty ride while fox-hunting, the hounds, horses, and men stop for refreshment. Hounds take over the horse trough in the lower left, and one of the hunters (right) tries to take advantage of more than the beverages at “W. Brown, Dealer in Spirits.”
The search engine on the journal’s Digital Commons archive really digs right in there, reading the OCR text with nearly perfect results every time. See articles that actually include the word “hounds” in Eighteenth-Century Fiction:
La Place’s Histoire de Tom Jones, ou l’enfant trouvé and Candide
The Masters golf tournament just finished up on Sunday in Augusta, Georgia. Although Scottish golfers played the game for hundreds of years before the rest of the world caught on to its delights, one of the oldest golf clubs (aka “goff society”) in the world originated outside the city walls of London, England. The later Georgian period in London saw an enormous surge in the popularity of the Scottish sport, as evidenced by this print from 1790. “To the Society of Goffers at Blackheath,” engr. V. Green, painted L. F. Abbott, plate dedicated by Lemuel Francis Abbot.
To learn more about how people spent their leisure time in the 18th century, read the following Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles:
‘Where the World May Ne’er Invade’? Green Retreats and Garden Theatre in La Princesse de Clèves, The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, and Cecilia
`No place where women are of such importance’: Female Friendship, Empire, and Utopia in The History of Emily Montague
Staging Readers Reading
Cryptogrammatophoria: The Romance and Novelty of Losing Readers in Code
Interiors and Interiority in the Ornamental Dairy
Mutton Pies! I bet that little dog ate well living in that particular kitchen. Even Samuel Johnson praised the humble mutton pie (for a traditional recipe, see the Great British Kitchen website). The details in this engraving fascinate me: check out the gigantic sword-knife tucked in the cook’s apron, and those extra spits racked above the fire. It’s difficult to see, but another dog runs in the wheel beside the hearth, turning the spits that hold all those birds and roasts: a turnspit dog. This image is from The Oxford Sausage; Or, Select Poetical Pieces, written by the most celebrated wits of the University of Oxford, adorned with cuts, engraved in a new taste, and designed by the best masters (1764), printed for J. Fletcher and Co., and sold by the booksellers of Oxford and Cambridge.
For more on food, cookery, and nourishment in the 18th century, see the following Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles:
Feasting and Fasting: Nourishment in the Novels of Samuel Richardson
“A Point of Conscience”: Breastfeeding and Maternal Authority in Pamela 2
“The Tinsel of the Times”: Smollett’s Argument against Conspicuous Consumption in Humphry Clinker
“I was also absent at my dairy-house”: The Representation and Symbolic Function of the Dairy House in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa
An early example of gallows humor, “Old Bailey Wit” includes a pun as well as morbid farce in its few short lines. This anecdote is from The Social Magazine, or, Cabinet of Wit: being a complete repository of original bon mots, epigrams, &c, published by the Society of Gentlemen, Members of the Club of Odd Fellows (Printed for H.D. Symonds, ).
A special issue of the journal is devoted to “The Senses of Humour/Les Sens de l’humour”; see the brief call for articles in the purple image above, but find more details here: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~ecf/CallArticles.html
Raptors feature in the news lately in my region: Peregrine Falcons nest on the downtown Sheraton Hotel, and Bald Eagles premier their first chicks in a little corner of Cootes Paradise. This engraving depicting falconry in mid-eighteenth-century India caught my eye when I was looking for pictures of different cultures. I didn’t take the best photo of it, so I thought the sepia tone might help bring out the details a little, and thank goodness for a bit of Photoshop adjusting: those archive rooms in the basement of the library are really quite dark. This illustration comes from Richard Owen Cambridge (1717-1802), An Account of the War in India, between the English and French, on the coast of Coromandel, from the year 1750 to the year 1760. Together with a relation of the late remarkable events on the Malabar coast, and the expeditions to Golconda and Surat (London: T. Jefferys, 1761), plate 2, opp. p. xiv.
The Eighteenth-Century Fiction journal archive at Digital Commons attracts readers from all over the world, more than 5,000 every month! The latest issue that is free to read is the special issue “Trades/Le Négoce,” which contains essays on such diverse cultural studies topics as porcelain makers, lemonade sellers, and clothing trade cards.
Just had to reblog this amazing piece!
Mounted Ceramic Figures, Chinese porcelain, c.1622-1795, French flowers and mounts, 1740-45, Getty Museum. From the Getty:
French craftsmen combined diverse pieces of Chinese porcelain in an inventive arrangement to create these decorative groups. The two boys, originally freestanding porcelain sculptures, were known as the Immortal Twins; they were the patrons of Chinese potters and merchants. The so-called fo dogs are in fact Buddhist lions. These porcelain lions were originally fixed to the top of the porcelain rocks but are now separated by pierced porcelain spheres. The globe-shaped balls were used in China as pomanders, filled with flowers or solid balls of perfume.
A Parisian marchand-mercier would have purchased the figures, the lions mounted on the rocks, and the spheres; he then directed French craftsmen to make a gilt bronze base cast with small lizards, snails, and shells. To establish a connection between the different parts, he directed the workmen to place the boys so that they seem to peer into the perfume balls; he added French porcelain flowers on gilt bronze branches to further adorn the design.
The original French owner of the groups would have appreciated the exotic decorations but would probably not have recognized their original Chinese function or significance.
The Pan-STARRS comet passes in view of northern hemisphere skywatchers this week, a magnificent sight, much like the return of Halley’s comet in 1759. Caroline Herschel discovered many comets during her astronomical studies in the late 18th century. This image, not exactly of Caroline Herschel but it made me think of her, is from Benjamin Martin (1705-82), The Young Gentleman and Lady’s Philosophy, in a continued survey of the works of nature and art; by way of dialogue. … Illustrated by … copper-plates. The second edition corrected, vol. 1, frontispiece (London: W. Owen), 1772. In a century that often discouraged women from studying and participating in the sciences, this book offers an open-minded attitude to educating all young people.
For more about women and science in the 18th century, see the following Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles:
The Extraordinary Ordinary Belinda: Maria Edgeworth’s Female Philosopher
Anecdote about Henry IV of France
While looking through 18th-century jest and mirth books in the McMaster University archives, I found this gem. I didn’t understand some of the jokes that referred to matters outside my cultural and historical knowledge ken. This particular anecdote, however, seems to be timeless in its ability to amuse: long-winded politicians will always plague “a sensible man,” I’m sure. This image is from The Social Magazine, or, Cabinet of Wit: being a complete repository of original bon mots, epigrams, &c, Society of Gentlemen, Members of the Club of Odd Fellows (Printed for H.D. Symonds, ).
A special issue of the journal is devoted to “The Senses of Humour/Les Sens de l’humour”; find more details and the call for articles here: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~ecf/CallArticles.html
First image: The Briars at St. Helena, the cottage with the tent attached then inhabited by Napoleon Bonaparte. From a sketch taken on the spot by A.H., Nov. 11, 1815. Napoleon lived in this small “pavilion” for several weeks in 1815 until his permanent residence was constructed on St. Helena, an isolated island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Second image: Napoleon Lying in State, unsigned watercolour on rice paper. [Prints based on this image claim that the original was “by a Chinese artist.”] Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821 on the island of St. Helena.
To read more about the long eighteenth century, including the influence of the Napoleonic wars, see the following Eighteenth-Century Fiction articles: