Illuminated Palaces: Extra-Illustrated Books from the Huntington LibraryJuly 27–Oct. 28, 2013
Library, West Hall
In the 18th and 19th centuries, historians, bibliophiles, and collectors turned ordinary books into extraordinary “illuminated palaces”—repositories for original art, prints and engravings, maps, autograph letters, and the excised pages of other, more famous books. This process of destruction and transformation, often called “extra-illustration” or “grangerizing” (after its most famous early advocate, the Rev. James Granger, an 18th-century cleric), was once a genteel hobby in the United States and Britain. The Huntington holds hundreds of extra-illustrated books, including the Kitto Bible, which boasts more than 33,000 additional artworks, bulking its original two volumes up to 60. What today might be called “vandalism” or at best “scrapbooking” was highly valued by Henry E. Huntington, who purchased some of the finest specimens of extra-illustration to be found at auction or private sale. This first exhibition to focus on The Huntington’s collection of extra-illustrated histories, Shakespeares, geographies, Bibles, and memoirs is a testament to the desire to collect art and create beautiful books.