Bibliography of Images

Addendum and Errata to

Roger Gaskell, ‘Printing House and Engraving Shop. A Mysterious Collaboration’, The Book Collector, 53 (2004) 213–251.

The above article is available for downloading here as a pdf (follow the link below), with the kind permission of the editor of the Book Collector.

Gaskell 2004 Printing House and Engraving Shop

In the article I outline the need for bibliography to encompass book illustration. To be able to interpret scientific and other images in books we need first to understand how they got there. We need to consider the visual language in which ideas are expressed graphically; what happens when drawings are copied, cut in wood or engraved on metal; how printing technology affects the presentation of images in relation to the texts; and how images were understood by contemporary readers. For verbal texts, bibliography is well developed to deal with the ways in which copying, typesetting, proof-reading, printing, distribution and reading mediate between the author and the reader. For images we have very little to go on. The article concentrates largely on how engravings are printed, both within the text and on inserted leaves, but also draws attention to the fact that even the use of woodcuts, which can be printed with the typeset text, is not straightforward. I outline some of the ways in which descriptive methods could be developed, based on the technology of image production, to provide a sound basis for the interpretation of printed images.

The following Addendum, describing a eighteenth-century poem inspired by the diabolical aspect of rolling presses, and list of Errata to my article will be published in a forthcoming number of the Book Collector. I would be most grateful to hear of any other further amendments or corrections.


In my article I referred to J. H. Hauckwitz, An essay on engraving and copper-plate printing (London, 1732) on the basis of Levis’ Descriptive bibliography … relating to the art and history of engraving (1912–13). Levis had not seen a copy of the book and included it on the basis of its appearance in various bibliographies and none had come to light at the time my article was published. Now, however, the English Short Title Catalogue describes a single copy at the Bibliothèque Mazarine (ESTC N477145). The author is given on the titlepage as ‘J. Hanckwitz [rather than Hauckwitz], copper-plate printer’. I have so far found no other reference to Hauckwitz. It turns out that the work is a poem in two parts, the Essay, and an account of a nightmare. There is in fact very little on the art of engraving and printing copper plates, perhaps the only technical fact worthy of note is that Hauckwitz’ workshop contained three presses operated by three workmen (I discuss the manning of presses on pp. 220–221 of the article). What the poem does show, however, is the persistence of the association of printing with Satanism into the eighteenth century – and the extension of this to copperplate printing. What follows is a brief description of the content of the poem.

Hanckwitz, J.  An essay on engraving and copper-plate printing. To which is added, Albumazar, or the professors of the black art, a vision. By J. Hanckwitz, copper-plate printer  [rule] Good Nature and good Sense must ever join / To err is human, to fogive divine. Essay on Criticism. [rule] By J. Hanckwitz, Copper-Plate Printer. [rule] London: Printed in the Year M DCC XXXII. 4to, 16p.

A brief ‘Introduction’ is followed by ‘An Essay on Engraving and Copper-Plate Printing, &c.’ (pp. 5–10) in which the author decries the state of engraving in Britain compared with that in France. This is attributed to the fact that our artists attempt engraving without a grounding in the rules of drawing and perspective, which the French had ‘given to them Gratis by their King: Who useful Academies long maintain’d’ (p. 8). The value of engraving in disseminating information is illustrated by the example of a mariner’s chart. The second part, the ‘Vision’, is headed ‘Albumazar; or, the Professors of the Black Art, &c.’ and occupies the remainder of the pamphlet (pp. 10–16).

The author recounts how when he retired to bed, his mind was full of apparitions prompted by the appearance of the copper-plate presses:

Methought I stood upon a floor,
Which three odd fashion’d Machines bore;
Compos’d of Cylinders and Crosses,
In modern Terms call’d Rolling-Presses,

He had been working late by candle light with two other workmen, ‘smutty Dick and Black Tom’; it was midnight, the sun having been down for four hours. As he dreams, the trio are visited by an astrologer, Albumazar (rhymes with ‘star-gazer’) who begins to tell them of his art. They profess to know nothing of this:

We Printers know no Globe or Sphere,
Our Judgement lays in good strong Beer,

Albumazar is un-convinced, seeing in the appearance of the ink-smeared printers and their sinister machines the evidence of their diabolical pursuits :

Altho’ it seems by common Fame,
You’re cloak’d up by a specious Name,
Call’d Printers of the Rolling Press,
’Tis plain you the Black Art profess.

Enraged by this accusation, the printers set upon Albumazar; there is a clap of thunder, the devil carries him away and Hanckwitz wakes up. Hearing the clock strike five, he hastens to put on his shabby work clothes and go back to work at his rolling press. If nothing else we are reminded of the long hours of eighteenth-century printers.


Page 221, l. 10 for ‘1837’ read ‘1836’

Page 223, l. 18 for ‘Hauckwitz’ read ‘Hanckwitz’

Page 223, l. 27 for ‘These editions were read’ read ‘The edition of 1745 was’

Page 230, penultimate line, for ‘Cochin’s 1745 edition of Bosse’ read ‘Bosse (1645, p. 71)

Page 231, l. 1, for ‘Cochin’ read ‘Bosse’

Page 231, l. 3, for ‘He goes on to say’ read ‘Cochin in 1745 adds’

Page 235, Bosse, 1701, this edition was also issued by Pierre Emery.

Page 235, l. 3, for ‘Traicté de’ read ‘Traicté des’

Page 235, last entry, for ‘Hauckwitz’  read ‘Hanckwitz’ and see the addendum above.

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