“Illuminated Palaces: Extra-Illustrated Books from The Huntington Library” on view July 27 to Oct. 28, 2013
||Anthony, Count Hamilton, Mémoires du comte de Grammont. London, 1794. Illustrated by Richard Bull. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Video: Extra-Illustrated, Illuminated Palaces [excerpt from in-gallery video, 00:19]
May 15, 2013
MARINO, Calif.—The eccentric art of customizing printed books by adding
illustrations is the focus of a new exhibition going on view at The
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in July.
“Illuminated Palaces: Extra-Illustrated Books from The Huntington
Library” runs from July 27 to Oct. 28, 2013, in the West Hall of the
exhibition features more than 40 works dating from the late 1700s to
the early 1900s, when the practice was most popular. Extra-illustration
is often referred to as “Grangerizing,” after a British clergyman named
James Granger, but he did not invent the practice. In fact,
extra-illustration has probably been practiced since the beginning of
the printed book, says Stephen Tabor, the Huntington’s curator of early
printed books and co-curator of the exhibition with Lori Anne Ferrell,
English and history professor at Claremont Graduate University. But the
practice did not soar in popularity until Granger published his Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the Revolution
in 1769. Granger’s book was essentially a catalog of portrait prints of
famous English people, arranged by class—from otherwise ordinary
commoners “remarkable from only one circumstance in their lives” to
scientists, politicians, noblemen, kings, and queens. By creating an
organized list of desiderata, Granger unwittingly motivated some
collectors to illustrate copies of his own book with the portraits,
setting off what one later critic called “a general rummage after, and
plunder of, old prints.”
intending to, he began a craze that lasted well into the 1900s, in
which people would purchase a book, dismantle it, customize it with
inserted illustrations, manuscripts, even other whole printed books, and
reconstitute everything in a new form,” says Tabor. The practice
gathered popularity at a time when wealthy Englishmen began collecting
large numbers of engravings; it then caught on in America. “It’s at once
fascinating and horrifying—the idea that someone would purposefully
destroy a book, raid other books for illustrations, trim fine prints to
size, and clip signatures of famous people in order to build their own
in fact, The Huntington has more than a thousand extra-illustrated
books. Henry E. Huntington purchased most of them as part of the rare
books and manuscripts he assembled in the early 20th century. Perhaps
most surprisingly, says Tabor, “extra-illustrated books in the Library
are home to more than 90 percent of the artwork at The Huntington.
Truthfully, we’re still being surprised by what we find in these books
because we’ve never had the resources to catalog them completely. That
would take somebody expert in art history, manuscripts, and
bibliography, and funds to keep the person on staff for many years.”
fact, while working on the exhibition, Tabor and Ferrell discovered a
pre-Revolutionary letter from George Washington to his brother Samuel. A
prominent collector of American autographs bought it in 1886 and had it
bound in an extra-illustrated book that Henry Huntington acquired in
1922. Soon after its rediscovery Tabor was able to bring it to the
attention of a visiting editor of the ongoing Papers of George
Washington project, who was delighted to have traced the missing
important original works of art are found in extra-illustrated books,
they are sometimes transferred from the Library to The Huntington’s art
collections for cataloging and storage. A watercolor by William Blake,
studies by Parmigianino, and numerous drawings by famous illustrators
have turned up in the Library’s grangerized books.
became a matter of great intrigue for co-curator Ferrell when she was
curating The Huntington’s exhibition “The Bible and the People,” in
2005. “It turns out that some of the most compelling of the Bibles are
those that are extra-illustrated, and for obvious reasons,” she says.
The blockbuster object of the Bible exhibition, she says, was the
Huntington’s Kitto Bible, probably the largest Bible in the world. A
60-volume set, the Kitto was created in the mid 1800s by James Gibbs,
who set out to “extra-illustrate” a regular two-volume Bible. By the
time Gibbs finished his project, the Kitto Bible had expanded to hold
more than 30,000 prints, engravings, and drawings, and a variety of
other inserted materials. The entire Bible was displayed in the
exhibition. “It’s an incredible work, absolutely astonishing,” says
Ferrell. One volume of the Kitto—a massive tome containing just the
books of Romans and I Corinthians—will be included in the “Illuminated
was nothing simple or typical about how people went about the process
of extra-illustration. Hobbyists went beyond illustrations to add other
materials, including maps, pamphlets, original drawings, manuscripts,
and news clippings. To create tidy volumes with leaves all the same size
they mounted the added material, and often the leaves of the original
book itself, in paper frames. But the process involved cutting and
permanently altering the original material, “and for today’s book lovers
and book conservators,” says Ferrell, “it’s considered a very
questionable practice.” Extra-illustration, popular through the early
1900s, eventually vanished because collecting habits changed, the market
for prints dropped, and the Great Depression made it impossible for
most collectors to indulge this very expensive hobby.
has a particular appeal to grangerizers. On view in the exhibition will
be one grangerized project of nine volumes of Shakespeare’s works
expanded to 45. Other examples will include a rare pre-Granger example
of extra-illustration, a copy of Virgil’s works from 1492, augmented 200
years later by a suite of German prints keyed to specific passages.
“Faced with illustrations that were larger than the book,” says Ferrell,
“the owner simply folded them to fit.”
first and most famous of the grangerizers was a member of parliament,
Richard Bull (1725–1806); he produced some 70 extra-illustrated volumes.
After Granger published his Biographical History,
Bull wrote to congratulate him: “I shall have pleasure in shewing you
that I am endeavoring to follow your plan as near as I can.” He then
went on to amass more than 14,000 prints and created, from Granger’s
original work, 36 “giant bound volumes, using cuttings from the original
book as the fragile thread running through the whole,” says Ferrell.
short videos produced by The Huntington will accompany the exhibition
to help visitors get a richer sense of the “internal workings” of
|John Sanderson, Biography of the Signers. New York, n.d. Illustrated by Thomas Addis Emmet. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||Actors and Actresses of Great Britain and the United States,
edited by Brander Matthews and Laurence Hutton. New York, 1886. The
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
|George Greenlief Evans, Illustrated History of the United States Mint. Philadelphia, 1888. Illustrated by Frederic Rowland Marvin. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||Irving Browne, Iconoclasm and Whitewash. New York, 1886. Illustrated by the author. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
|Virgil, Opera. Nuremberg, 1492. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||Julia Kavanaugh, Woman in France during the Eighteenth Century. New York, 1893. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
|Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Rehearsing a Tragedy. New York, 1889. Illustrated by Augustin Daly. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||William Shakespeare, Works. London, 1853-65. Illustrated by C. Arthur Le Boutillier. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
|Gilbert Burnet, Bishop Burnet’s History of his Own Time. London, 1724-34. Illustrated by Richard Bull. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||James Granger, A Biographical History of England. London, 1769. Illustrated by Richard Bull. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
|Samuel Rudder, A New History of Gloucestershire. Cirencester, 1779. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||Elizabeth Stone, Chronicles of Fashion. London, 1845. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
|Elizabeth Stone, Chronicles of Fashion. London, 1845. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
||Author unknown, Bagnigge-Wells; A Poem. London, 1779. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
CONTACTS: Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Blackburn, 626-405-2140, email@example.com
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[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]
About The Huntington
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