Penn Library

The Illustrated Book, 1780-1830: selected from the collection of Harris N. Hollin


The wars of the Napoleonic Era produced a large crop of books. Travel books and narratives with illustrations from a military or naval perspective described countries recently invaded and recounted recent campaigns to a keenly interested public. Two examples of this lucrative side trade in illustrated books are Cooper Willyams' A Voyage up the Mediterranean in H.M.S. Swiftsure (1802) and William Mudford's An Historical Account of the Campaign in the Netherlands in 1815 (1817). Willyams, who as chaplain aboard the H.M.S. Swiftsure was an eyewitness to the Nile campaign, sought to record "with his pen and pencil the observations and images which obtruded themselves upon him." The scene of the Napoleon's ultimate defeat, Waterloo, became the most painted town in Europe, and the battle and its hero Wellington were accorded a literature all their own. Mudford's contribution is an excellent example, which contains some of the very few aquatints of George Cruikshank. Though only four of the prints were produced by Cruikshank, their wealth of detail and vivid use of color make them stand out from the others, much as his frontispiece seems to jump out from the page. Edward Orme, the publisher best known for his library of Indian books, produced his own fine Waterloo book Historic, Military, and Naval Anecdotes (1819).


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Last update: Tuesday, 31-Aug-2010 14:30:41 EDT
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