Friday, June 22, 2012
This is the only book I've ever seen where the chromo-lithography gets a credit on the title page along with the author. In fact, this copy is a bit of a shame, every last page having detached itself from the binding. From c.1860 this is Suggestions for Illuminating with a series of alphabets and designs for initial letters, borders &c., by William Randle Harrison, illuminating artist. Victorian Gothic was all about the medieval reimagined and we today have a tendency to look down on this as some kind of deficiency in the Victorian mindset that they imposed their own view of what 'medieval' was about but it's hardly so different from our attempts to recreate the 40s and 50s in retro bars and shops up and down the country... so I say, give the Victorians a break! It is hardly a surprise therefore to find a book like this being published at the height of the mid-Victorian enthusiasm for all things middle-ages: what could be more so than the recreation of manuscript illumination.
PS. Can I also say thank you to the anonymous person who sent me 'something for my collection'! It would be great if you could email me and let me know who you are so I can say thank you in person...