Atheist, Radical, Poet

Unused design for Shelley's Ghost exhibition at the New York Public Library
Proposed banner for Shelley's Ghost exhibition at the 
New York Public Library. Unused.

The Funeral of Shelley by Louis Édouard Fournier, 1889
A romanticised view (painted much later) of Shelley's friends burning his body on the beach in Italy after he drowned.
(Walker Gallery, Liverpool) We used this as a mural in the show.

Shelley's water-damaged pocket copy of Sophocles' Tragedies, with him when he drowned.
Its about 3 x 5 x 2" thick as I recall. Perhaps if he had tossed this brick he would have had a chance...
Presumption-- "a new Romance of peculiar interest"
The 1823 playbill for the stage version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
"Mr. T. P. Cooke in the Character of the Monster"
—an early portrayal of the monster before he acquired neck bolts
Design for one the specially created letterpress keepsakes with quote from Shelley.
They chose not to print this one...
Shelley self-published The Necessity of Atheism at age 19. It got him kicked out of Oxford.
Four letterpress keepsakes with quotes from Shelley (designed by Doug and me!)
that were ultimately produced
Free for the taking at Shelley's Ghost
The ghost of Shelley's Ghost...
proposed banner treatment, unused.
Proposed banner for Shelley's Ghost exhibition at the
New York Public Library. Unused.

Cover and inside cover for the brochure
The exhibition Shelley's Ghost has finally opened at the New York Public Library
Doug Clouse, Barbara Suhr and I worked for months on the design for this show!

I had detailed some of my early thoughts and background inspiration in a post when I had just started the project:

a small but significant exhibit at the New York Public Library on the life of Romantic poet and early hipster Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 – July 8, 1822)....The show is related to but quite different from Oxford University/Bodleian Library's Shelley's Ghost exhibit and catalog. Some of the items in the show will come from Oxford, but a majority will be pulled from the NYPL’s Pforzheimer Collection, one of the premier collections in the world for the study of English Romanticism.
So please stop by the main library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and take a look. It's in the Wachenheim Gallery on the main floor. You'll find:
  • the book Shelley had in his pocket when he drowned (see above)
  • handwritten manuscript pages from Frankenstein
  • Harriet Shelley’s last letter before she drowned herself
  • bits of Shelley’s skull 
  • an illustrated cast of characters (just how were all those Marys, Janes and Claire related anyway!) 
  • free letterpress keepsakes we created for the show, expertly printed by Coeur Noir press in Williamsburg
  • and, as they say, much, much more
We were encouraged to incorporate theatrical flourishes into the show's design... Perhaps to the surprise/dismay/delight of Shelley scholars! Let me know what you think. All comments (and constructive criticism) welcome.


Iron Man

Daniel Badger's Iron Works, one of the leading cast iron foundries,
took up an entire square block 13th to 14th Streets and Avenues B to C.
detail of plan for grain bins
The jaunty Honnewell Building, Boston. Just looking at this makes me happy.
"tension rod girders"
The exquisite Haughwout Building on Broadway and Broome Streets, 1856.
A confection in cast iron.
2007. See my earlier post about the Haughwout
The Cary Building, on Chambers Street
Cary Building, detail, from Lower Manhattan Real-Estate.com
Badger foundry marks are visible all over lower Manhattan. Photo by Walter Grutchfield
Of the great many foundries in the New York City area during the 19th century, Daniel Badger’s Architectural Iron Works was one of the leading manufacturers catering to architectural use. Badger cast the prefabricated iron components for many of the now iconic facades in Soho, downtown*, and Brooklyn, as well as for buildings around the country and as far away as Havana and Cairo. One of Badger's lasting and notable works, however, was not a building but a handsome architectural catalog produced as an advertising tool in 1865. It is the only known extant NYC foundry catalog, now scanned and online, thanks to a grant from the Margot Gayle Fund of The Victorian Society New York.

Daniel Badger (1806–1884) started off in Boston. One of his earliest jobs, in 1842, was a storefront for which he proposed cast-iron columns and lintels. The client, so wary of the newfangled architectural approach, included a proviso in the contract that should the process fail, Badger would remove the iron work at his own expense and substitute granite piers. Needless to say, the ironwork... worked. Although mentions of cast iron facade components predate Badger, his flair for self promotion forever linked his name with the innovation.

Moving to New York in 1848 he set up shop first on Duane Street, then to a massive square block facility between 13th and 14th Streets and Avenues B and C (see the fantastical Steam Punk factory portrait at top). By 1860, the Architectural Iron Works employed 400 people. In 1865 he published his nearly 500-page catalog “at great cost” in order to, among other things, "improve the public taste.”

Badger begot the dubious legacy of the NYC roll-down security gate when bought the rights to new “burglar-proof rolling iron shutters” and popularized them as “Badger Fronts.” Also on offer:
Iron Store Fronts, Manufactories, Grain Warehouses, Arsenals, Ferry Houses, Bridges, Roofs, Domes, Rolling Shutters, Venetian Blinds, Wrought Sashes, Railings, Verandahs, Balustrades, Cornices, Stairways, Columns, Capitals, Arches, Window Lintels and Sills, Consoles, Brackets, Rosettes, Urns, Door and Window Guards, Lamps, Awning and Horse Posts, Girders, Beams, Patent Lights and Iron Sidewalks. — J. Leander Bishop, A History of American Manufacturers from 1608 to 1860, 1868
Badger retired to Brooklyn in 1873 and died in 1884. He currently resides at Green-Wood...//

*See the Haughwout and Cary buildings above, Badger's Architectural Iron Works also supplied the iron for the Cooper Union building, the Gilsey House (1869-71) on Broadway at West 29th Street and Commodore Vanderbilt's original Grand Central Terminal.

Go to the Victorian Society's Cast-Iron site, with its survey of 69 NYC buildings, including two that have been demolished in the past 3 years!)


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