|Note the sphinx was still buried-- it wasn't fully excavated until 1925!|
|The smokestacks of the Northeast|
|Scenes of Old Dixie and slaves abound, unfazed by Emancipation|
My small cache of pages doesn't even remotely cover "All Nations" but I do have regalia for a good many territories, states, principalities, and parcels of land that would give even a cartographic historian pause. There are surprises, to me at least, like flags for Tuscany and the Ionian Islands. There are the expected instances of 19th century exotica such as Zanzibar and the Transvaal. And then there are the complete mysteries, like the Heligoland and the Society Islands. (George Plimpton and Brooke Astor didn't die, they retired to the Society Islands! National staples: petit fours and Champagne )
Chromolithography was a wildly popular color reproduction process in the 19th century. I can't understand how it became so common because it sounds like an almost unfathomably cumbersome and complicated process. An image is drawn onto a stone slab– in reverse–with a grease-based crayon. A separate stone was drawn for each color, and as many as twenty stones were used at times. Each stone was inked in an appropriate color on a press and imprinted onto the paper. (A glimpse at engravers drawing on the stones, below. The fellow on the left, Leonetto Cappiello, is working on, I believe, the tremendous poster you see in the background)
Paper would be passed through for each color – each pass having to be aligned and registered exactly. A good example of what progressive proofs in the process of printing looked like here. Perhaps the work ethic was stronger in the 19th century. Or the tolerance for tedium higher.