A Fine Engraving
Posted 15 January, 2009 13:04 by Karla Baker
While cleaning volume 58, a copy of an engraved print “Perth, from Barnhill.” was found. The print measures 453mm by 321mm, and is a very fine example of some of the unusual work that can be found in the Bartholomew Printing Record.
The dedication on the print; “To the Citizens of Perth this View of their Fair City is respectfully Inscribed, by their much obliged Serv’t, Wm. Brown.”, and the credits: “Painted by W. Brown.” – “Engraved by W Forrest.” – “Published by Wm. Brown, Perth Academy, Sept. 1833.”, clearly place this engraving, in the early 19th century. The copy in the Bartholomew collection is annotated on the print margin, with a 1919 date; “24 copies supplied W.Leslie, Perth, 3/2/1919″.
The artist William Brown, was a Perth artist (1801-1874), and the engraver William Forrest lived from 1805-1889, so for Bartholomew’s to re-print the image in 1919, they would have needed the original engraved plate. It seems unlikely that Bartholomew’s would have re-engraved the image, as the image is an intaglio print and not a lithographic reproduction, and if Bartholomew’s did re-etch onto a new plate, they would have cited themselves as the engravers and not W. Forrest.
Maybe the plate was provided by W. Leslie of Perth, who was supplied by Bartholomew’s with 24 copies. Or, it is possible that the plate was acquired by Bartholomew’s and may still be part of the ‘copper plate’ collection held at the National Library of Scotland. When ongoing NLS project work, to identify and catalogue this collection, is completed, the plate may be located.
The print in the Bartholomew Printing Record, has all the characteristics of an engraved image:
* printed on soft thick paper
* a very deep impression on the paper of the non-printing areas of the image
* the printed lines are very noticeably ‘in relief’ on the paper, a feature of intaglio printing, as distinct from lithography or letterpress print methods
* the black ink is very sharp and crisp, also very characteristic of engraved plate prints
A close-up of the bottom left corner of the print, shows the detail and precise line of the image. A very fine example of the art of the engraver, and the quality of printing from the Bartholomew Print works.
(reference: NLS, Map Library, Bartholomew Print Record, Volume 58, 1917-1919, folio 210, preservation ref: 11454,)