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Antiphonals were large books meant to be shared by several people at the same time during religious services and usually contained hymns, psalms, responsories, versicles, and responses sung in alternating parts. Monks made manuscripts and books, including books of antiphonals and breviary. They were made entirely by hand and most often written on parchment or vellum. The large initial letters, which could be seen more clearly even in dim light, helped people see the divisions in the text, mark important passages, or know when to start singing.

Presented here are decorative 16th century antiphonal leafs written on vellum.


Antonini, Carlo

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Theses elaborate Hellenistic candelabras were copies of the Greek originals. They were carved from solid marble by the Romans in the 1st and 2nd centuries, many stood 4 to 6 feet tall. By the 18th century, some of the surviving examples had made their way into the museums of Rome, including the Vatican’s Museo Pio-Clementino and it’s Gallery of the Candelabra established by Pope Pius VI between 1785-1788. To honor their beauty, the architect and engraver Carlo Antonini (1740-1821) created over 200 copper plate engravings of them and published his folio Manuale di vari ornamenti contenente la serie dei candelabri antichi in Rome in 1790.


Edmondson, Joseph

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Sir William Segar (1564-1633) was a noted portrait painter known for his illustrations of luminaries of the court of Elizabeth I. He was admitted to the College of Arms in 1585. Segar authored The Booke of Honour and Armes which was published anonymously in 1590. An expanded and illustrated version was published as Honour Military and Civil in 1602.

Joseph Edmondson (1732-1786) began studying Heraldry and genealogy during his career as a coach-painter, employed to emblazon coats of arms on carriages in London. His first volume of Baronagium Genealogicum: or the Pedigrees of the English deduced from the earliest times. . . . Originally compiled by Sir William Segar, and continued to the present time by Joseph Edmondson, was published in London in 1764.

The publication of Baronagium attracted the attention of the nobility who employed him to compile their family pedigrees. Edmondson was subsequently installed as Mowbray Herald Extraordinary and appointed to the College of Arms.

Presented here are hand colored copper plate engravings of coats of arms from this elaborate work, some produced by a master of engraving, Francesco Bartolozzi.


1851 Exhibition

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Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures, circa 1865, document the pomp and ritual of the resplendent space and exhibits of London’s Great Exhibition of 1851. The Exhibition was conceived to symbolize the industrial, military and economic superiority of Great Britain. This was to become an international trade exhibition like no other before it, with the work of nearly 14,000 exhibitors from twenty-six nations on view. Originally proposed by Great Britain's Prince Albert, it required a new type of building. Using the latest in glass and cast iron technology, Joseph Paston designed the Crystal Palace to be sited in London's Hyde Park. This landmark structure was 1848 feet long and 408 feet wide, and contained over 1 million feet of glass. Over the course of the 5 month exhibit, over 6,200,000 people visited. To commemorate the exhibition, original pictures were painted for his Royal Highness Prince Albert by Messrs. Nash, Haghe & Roberts. RA. Dickinson Brothers, her Majesty's Publishers, reproduced the original paintings with beautiful, detailed chromolithographs depicting everything from European bourgeois furnishings and modern machinery to an Arab tent from Tunis, draped with leopard and lion skins. Fire destroyed the Crystal Palace in 1936.


Palissy, Bernard

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Bernard Palissy (1499 - 1590) was a French artist and philosopher who, for 16 years between 1538 and 1554, experimented with many types materials in an attempt to achieve perfection in enameled pottery. At one point he was so obsessed by his labor and so poor that he burned his furniture and home flooring in order to keep his kilns fired. He eventually succeeded in producing a pure white enamel, a perfect material for decorative art. Palissy began creating works that represented natural objects, many cast from life, some in the form of actual prehistoric fossils. His products were spectacularly beautiful and came into high demand as decorative objects for great houses. Eventually, many of the cherished items came into the possession of the Louvre in Paris.

The curator of the Louvre in 1862, Messr De Sauzav, commissioned a folio containing images of Pallissy's work, and the best of his imitators, writing much of the supporting documentation himself. Presented here are impressive hand colored lithographs from A monograph of the works of Bernard Palissy . . . published in Paris in 1862. Only 300 copies of this rare work were printed.


de La Fosse, Charles

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Presented here are hand colored copper plate engravings struck in Paris circa 1780. They illustrate the work of Charles de La Fosse, a painter and decorator. Each illustration contains symbolism representing various professions and countries. Between 1689 and 1691, La Fosse decorated the Montagu House in London. His greatest work is considered the decoration of the cupola of the Church of Les Invalides in Paris in 1705.


Roman Medallions

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Presented here are very fine engravings taken from Nvmismata virorvm illvstrivm ex Barbadica gente, a volume of text and associated illustrations of medallions struck in Italy in 1732 to honor the family of Cardinal Joannes Franciscus Barbadicus. The illustrations of the medallions were filled with 18th century costumed figures painted by Carlo Maratti and engraved by his understudy, Robert van Audenaerde. These strikingly beautiful hand colored copper plate engravings are exquisite examples of the most rich form of the engravers art.


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