This exhibition highlights some of the most important illustrated volumes intended for adult readers in The Hyde Collection. It is presented in conjunction with the Wood Gallery exhibition Draw Me a Story: A Century of Children’s Book Illustration.
The earliest work in the exhibition is the famed Nuremberg Chronicle or Liber Cronicarum of 1493. This encyclopedia of world history and geography as known in the late fifteenth century was the most ambitious printed work of its type at that time. With more than 1,800 hand-colored woodblock prints and text produced using cast-metal type its publication was still quite revolutionary as the introduction of mass-produced movable type by Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1398 – 1468) had only occurred in 1439 when his famous Bible was produced using this technology.
Other books to be featured from the permanent collection include the work of American, French, and British artists. Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1821-1888) and Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) are two of the most prominent American artists/illustrators. Darley was chosen by The American Art Union to create plates for special editions of Washington Irving’s stories Illustrations of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in 1848 and the llustrations of Rip van Winkle in 1849. Vedder produced the remarkable drawings for Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám of 1884.
Britain’s foremost illustrators are represented in the exhibition by George Cruikshank (1792-1878), one of Charles Dickens’ best known collaborators; Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) whose classic images of fairies and goblins made him a perfect choice to capture James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan; and J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) whose watercolors were selected to be illustrated in an 1835 edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The French artist and explorer Jacques-Gerard Milbert’s Itinéraire Pittoresque du Fleuve Hudson of 1827 illustrates New York’s landmark waterway, including views of Glens Falls, Lake George, Fort Edward (Sandy Hill), and Albany in a large format volume of lithographed plates.
Home Page Image (detail): Michael Wolgemut, illustrator (German, 1434/37-1519) or Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, illustrator (German, ca. 1460- ca. 1494), Dr. Hartmann Schedel, author (German, 1440-1514), Building Noah’s Ark from The Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493, hand-colored woodcut, 18 3/8 x 12 1/4 in., The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York, 1971.110, Bequest of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde.