Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter; or, The Causes, Appearances, and Effects of the Great Seasonal Repose of Nature

Robert Mudie, born in Scotland in 1777, was a teacher, author, editor and illustrator, who wrote or compiled nearly 90 volumes in his lifetime. Among them is Winter…one of his 4-volume series on the seasons.

Of particular interest in this book, as well as several other of Mudie’s works on the natural world, is the frontispiece by George Baxter. Baxter, born in England in 1804, is credited with developing the first commercially viable system for producing color prints. His method combined intaglio and relief printing methods, starting with a key engraved metal plate and employing as many as 20 subsequent color blocks or plates. Using oil ink to print, allowing each color to dry before adding the next, and demanding perfect registration, Baxter’s intention was to create fine color prints at a price that would make artwork more commonly available.

Baxter patented the Baxter Process in 1835, and later sold licenses to other artists of the time. After Baxter’s death in 1867 the process fell out of use, with the introduction of faster, and cheaper, chromolithography.

Ask for Illus B334muw.

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