Crawhall’s Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC – #ChristmasCountdown Door no. 6

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 6

Page from Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC (Joseph Crawhall Collection, Crawhall 50)

Y
For Youngsters,
and Yawning,  
and Yelling,
Yahoo!

Is this something that you’ll be doing on Christmas morning?

Old Aunt Elspa’s ABC is an alphabet book containing woodblock printed letters, with associated images, detailing the alphabet, created by Joseph Crawhall II.

Joseph Crawhall II was born in Newcastle in 1821 and was the son of Joseph Crawhall I, who was a sheriff of Newcastle. As well as running the family ropery business with his brothers, he also spent his time illustrating, making woodcuts and producing books.

See the full book online via CollectionsCaptured.

Interested in more from Joseph Crawhall II? Find more in the Joseph Crawhall II Collection and Joseph Crawhall II Archive.

Illustrated London News Christmas Supplement, 1855

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Door No. 10

Front cover of Christmas Supplement to Illustrated London News (19th Century Collection, 19th C. Coll 030ILL)

“While shepherds watched their flocks by night, – All seated on the ground”

Front page from the Christmas Supplement to the Illustrated London News, 22nd December 1855. Illustration drawn by J. Gilbert and printed by George C. Leighton Red Lion Square.

The pages of the Christmas Supplement consisted of an 8 page insert, containing a full colour cover and 3 additional full page colour images printed from woodblocks by George C. Leighton (who was seen to be the most prolific graphic artist of his day). Leighton’s production of these colour images demonstrated that colour printing could be done in large quantities to meet the high circulation of the Illustrated London News at a low cost.

Illustrated London News is found in our 19th Century and 20th Century Collections.

Two Turtle Doves

#ChristmasCountdown
Door No. 2

The Turtle Dove from ‘History of British Birds Vol I (Bradshaw-Bewick Collection, Bradshaw-Bewick 761BEW)

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

THE TURTLE DOVE

“…The female lays two eggs, and has only one brood in this country, but in warmer climates it is supposed to breed several times in the year.”

Extract from History of British Birds Vol I., page 273, by Thomas Bewick.

History of British Birds is published in two volumes. It was the first field guide for non-specialists and contains accurate illustrations of bird species. Aspects from the History of British Birds is used in poetry and literature.

Find out more about the Bradshaw-Bewick collection.

Inakanotsuki Animal Prints – August 2017

One of my favourite books on my own bookshelves is a contemporary reprint of part of the Hokusai Manga. The Manga comprises sketches by the artist Katsushika Hokusai, reproduced in three colour woodblock prints. Woodblock printing was a popular art form in Japan from the seventeenth century onwards. Having arrived in Japan from China centuries before, it gained popularity during the Genroku period (between 1688 and 1703), in part due to the increased wealth and disposable income of the merchant classes. The art form was known as Ukiyo-e, or ‘pictures of the floating world’, in reference to the urban culture of Edo (modern day Tokyo). The ‘floating world’ was the term used to describe the city’s red light district, with its kabuki theatres, brothels and tea houses.

Ukiyo-e’s original subjects were the people and places found within that world. In later years however, the genre moved away from these roots. The Meiji restoration and opening of the Suez Canal in 1868 caused a rapid influx of Westernization. All of Japanese culture felt the impact of these changes, and within the art world there was a shift towards works with a more Western focus including images of the natural world, muted colour palettes and techniques such as shading.

While searching our catalogue, I came across a listing within our 19th Century Collection of rare books for a publication titled Inakanotsuki, which had been tagged with ‘Ukiyo-e’. Intrigued, I decided to seek it out from our stores to see what it contained.

Front cover of ‘Inakanotsuki‘ by Kōno Bairei, 1889 (19th Century Collection, 741 KON)

Inakanotsuki is a small book with a stitched binding, known as fukuru-toji. What appears at first to be a plain, beige cover is itself a very subtle print showing flocks of birds. Inside the volume are multi-colour woodblock prints of various animals. It was published in 1889 – the year the Meiji Constitution was adopted in Japan. The artist is Kōno Bairei.

Kōno Bairei was born in 1844 in Kyoto. As a young man he trained in classical Japanese painting under the tutelage of respected and established artists. He founded the Kyoto Art Association, and was a co-founder of the Kyoto Prefectural Painting School. His involvement with Ukiyo-e consisted of designing prints for illustrated books, often depicting birds. While this example of Kōno’s work does feature birds, my personal favourites are his depictions of animals.

Ukiyo-e depictions of the natural world are also known as kacho-e, and an array of wildlife appear on the books’ pages, including bats, foxes and turtles. Japanese art is renowned for the symbolism vested in its images – not just in the animal subjects, but a whole range of aspects including the scenery, colours and composition.

One of my favourite prints in the volume is a double page spread of cats fighting on a branch. It provides a nice excuse to share this treasure on International Cat Day (#internationalcatday).

Written by Alex Healey, Project Archivist

1st December – The Partridge

#ChristmasCountdown

‘On the First day of Christmas my true love sent to me…
a Partridge in a pear tree’

Illustration of a partridge

‘The Partridge’ from Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds, Vol I (761 BEW)

To start off our Special Collections #ChristmasCountdown is an image of The Partridge from Thomas Bewick’s History of British Land Birds, Vol I.

“The length of this bird is about thirteen inches: The bill is light brown; eyes hazel; the general colour of its plumage is brown and ash, elegantly mixed with black…Partridges are chiefly found in temperate climates; the extremes of heat and cold are equally unfavourable to them: They are no where in greater plenty than in this island, where, in their season, they contribute to our most elegant entertainments”. (pg. 305-306)

History of British Birds is published in two volumes. It was the first field guide for non-specialists and contains accurate illustrations of bird species. Aspects from the History of British Birds is used in poetry and literature.

If you are interested in more items by Thomas Bewick, view more in the Bradshaw-Bewick Collection.

Richard III (from Several Sovereigns for a Shilling by Joseph Crawhall) – February 2013

Print of Edward V and Richard III, by Joseph Crawhall II,
Print of Edward V and Richard III, by Joseph Crawhall II, from Several Sovereigns for a Shilling! Adorned by Joseph Crawhall (London: Hamilton, Adams; Newcastle upon Tyne: Mawson, Swan & Morgan, 1886) (Crawhall (Joseph II) Collection, Crawhall 45)

Joseph Crawhall II (1821-1896) revived the chapbook tradition. Several Sovereigns for a Shilling (1886) is a collection of lithographed portraits of monarchs, alongside irreverent rhymes – quite typical of Crawhall’s humour.

On 4th February 2013 archaeological experts from the University of Leicester announced to the world that “beyond reasonable doubt” they had uncovered the bones of Richard III. Richard was 32 years old when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 by the forces of Henry VII. As this verse from Joseph Crawhall describes, Richard was “knock’t on the head” and the skeleton bears evidence of eight injuries to the skull. He was the last English king to die in battle and with his death came the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, giving rise to the House of Tudor.

The skeleton also provides evidence of scoliosis – a curvature of the spine – but no hunched back or withered arm as William Shakespeare and Tudor historians like Thomas More would have you believe.

Richard was born at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire but spent many of his formative years at Middleham Castle in Wensleydale and it was in the North of England, as President of the Council of the North, that he earned respect as a protector against the Scottish raids and as a just keeper of the peace.
On the death of their father in 1461, Richard’s brother became Edward IV and created Richard Duke of Gloucester. When Richard’s brother, Edward IV died, Richard was made protector of his two young nephews: Edward and Richard. Accusations of illegitimacy mounted against the boys and Richard III was crowned King in July 1483 whilst the boys, who had been lodged in the Tower of London, mysteriously vanished. Rumour would have us believe that Richard murdered the princes: “Poor Edward the fifth was, young, kill’d in bed, By his Uncle, Third Richard”, as Crawhall puts it.

Richard was said to have been buried under the choir of Greyfriar’s Church in Leicester but the building had been demolished in the 16th Century. It was by analysing maps that the location of the church was identified, where a car park stands today. Descendants of Richard, who provided DNA samples for comparison, were traced using historic records and documents. This demonstrates the continued relevance of primary sources and other historic materials.

Whether you admire Richard as a brave military leader (he remained on the battlefield while several of his men defected) and the person who introduced an early form of legal aid (the Court of Requests), or whether you believe the Tudor propaganda, it must be remembered that the period of the Wars of the Roses was particularly brutal and that people were governed by a different moral code. Richard’s Council of the North improved economic conditions in the North and he also banned restrictions on the printing and sale of books.

Richard will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.

If you are interested in reading contemporary accounts of Richard and this period, you might refer to the Paston Letters (White (Robert) Collection, W942.04 PAS) and to the account by Robert Fabyan, both of which are held in Newcastle University Library’s Special Collections.