A Catalogue of Engraved and Etched English Title-Pages down to the Death of William Faithorne, 1691

A Catalogue of Engraved and Etched English Title-Pages down to the Death of William Faithorne, 1691

A Catalogue of Engraved and Etched English Title-Pages down to the Death of William Faithorne, 1691

A Catalogue of Engraved and Etched English Title-Pages down to the Death of William Faithorne, 1691

Excerpt

Engraved title-pages may be said to date from the middle of the sixteenth century, a surprisingly late development in book-decoration, since the art of engraving had then been practised for at least a hundred years. A book printed at Florence in 1512, Purifica della conscientia, is said to have an engraved title-page, but the statement needs verification. Amadeo Berruti's Dialogus de amicitia vera, Rome, 1517, has on the title-page an engraved vignette, but the fully engraved plate, with the possible exception of the Florentine book, was delayed for another generation. Oddly enough the earliest known example appears in England, the well-known title-page of Thomas Geminus Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio, 1545. The second English engraved title-page, inGeminus book of Moresques, 1548, is also among the earliest examples. In Italy the man who established the new fashion was Enea Vico of Parma, a medallist and antiquary, whose books of engraved plates of antiquities were published at Venice from various presses, the earliest with an engraved title-page being of 1548. Vincenzo Busdraghi of Lucca printed in 1551 a book on Genoa byPaolo Interiano; this volume has an engraved title-page, while the same printer's edition of Bandello Novelle, 1554, has an engraved title-page for each of the three volumes. The earliest example at Rome, the title-page of Antonio Labacco Libro appartenente a l'architettura, Blado, 1552, is one of the finest specimens we have in the prevailing architectural style. With Antonio Lafréry, a Frenchman settled at Rome, we meet an established dealer in prints. Forty-two plates dating from 1544 to 1553 are known bearing his imprint, some of them being engraved title-pages. At about the same time we find Hieronymus Cock occupying a similar position at Antwerp, while H. Goltzius, who printed at Bruges, also contributed some early examples.

In France we find André Thevet in his Vrais Pourtraits, 1584, claiming to be the introducer into Paris of the method of illustration en taille douce. This extravagant assertion has some justification if limited to title-pages; at least there appears to be only one Paris engraved title-page earlier than that of Thevet's book, namely a plate engraved by Léonard Gaultier for a Saluste du Bartas of 1583. The work of Gaultier, the most prolific of French book- decorators of his day, includes at least one plate cut for an English book, the Eton Chrysostom.

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