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American Hand-Colored Lithographs

The invention of lithography at the turn of the 19th century opened a new world for bird illustrators. It brought many advantages to the artist — ease of use, a softness of line, and a new freedom to effect bold designs with a wide range of light and dark tones. Most of the fine ornithology books of the 19th century were prepared in folio format with hand-colored lithographic plates.

The lithographic process is one of flat surface printing from a design drawn on stone. It is based on the principle of the resistance of grease to water. There are no raised or cut portions, as there are in engraving and etching. The image is drawn with greasy ink or chalk on a smooth stone, and the rest of the stone is treated with gum arabic and nitric acid. The gum retains the lines of the greasy design, which repels the water used in printing. Special paper and ink, as well as a special press, are needed to produce the prints.

First used for bird illustration in 1820, lithography was widely adopted by the best artists of the century. The technique was popular because the artist could draw his own illustration directly on the lithographic stone. Prints could be made from the drawing with no intermediary such as an engraver. Accurately reproduced and then colored by hand, the resulting illustrations gave the impression of original watercolor paintings.
Surrender of Cornwallis: at York-Town Va. Oct. 1781
1844
1844
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1894
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1894
1,020 Media in collectionpage 1 of 11
Maria
James K. Polk - eleventh president of the United States / lith. & pub. by N. Currier, 2 Spruce St., N.Y.

James K. Polk - eleventh president of the United States / lith. & pub....

James K. Polk, half-length portrait, seated, facing slightly left, with the U.S. Capitol seen through window in the background. Title from item. Conningham no. 2614. Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / comp... more

James
Sophia
Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 5787

Phebe
Laura
Susan
My sister
Flora
The lovers
The brilliant charge of Capt. May--At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma (Palm Ravine) 9th of May 1846 [...]

The brilliant charge of Capt. May--At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma...

No. 554. Copyright by N. Currier. Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 772.

Washington: first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen

Washington: first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of h...

Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 7036

Georgianna
Fanny
Jeanette
Hannah
Josephine
Caroline
Eliza Jane
Margaret
Signal fires on the Slievenamon Mountains - Ireland, 1848 / Lith. & pub. by N. Currier, 152 Nassau St. Cor. of Spruce N.Y.

Signal fires on the Slievenamon Mountains - Ireland, 1848 / Lith. & pu...

Print shows a group of men surrounding a bonfire on a mountaintop during an insurrection in Tipperary. Three men hold weapons while other men tend the fire.

Josephine
Emeline
Catharine
Trial of the Irish patriots at Clonmel, Oct. 22nd. 1848 Thos. F. Meagher, Terence B. Mc.Manus, Patrick O'Donohue, receiving their sentence / / lith. & pub. by N. Currier.

Trial of the Irish patriots at Clonmel, Oct. 22nd. 1848 Thos. F. Meagh...

Print shows Lord Chief Justice Doherty, standing (left), delivering a death sentence to members of the rebel group, Young Ireland, standing (right). Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Rese... more

Fête de la Concorde, arrivée des corporations au Champ-de-Mars / dessiné par Jules Gaildreau et Ch. Fichot.

Fête de la Concorde, arrivée des corporations au Champ-de-Mars / dessi...

Print shows a distant balloon ascending above the Champ de Mars in Paris, France, on May 21, 1848, in a ceremony commemorating the French Republic. A large crowd is assembled in the foreground; monuments, banne... more

The high priest in his robes. Exod. xxviii. 39 / lith'y. of A. Kollner Phila ; H. Camp's lith'c. press.

The high priest in his robes. Exod. xxviii. 39 / lith'y. of A. Kollner...

Print shows a priest, full-length portrait, standing, wearing robes, holding a censer with burning incense.

[Shankland's American fashions, 1849]

[Shankland's American fashions, 1849]

Print shows in two horizontal panels, at top, eight men, a woman, and four children standing outdoors along a dirt roadway, two of the men are dressed for hunting and carry rifles, and at bottom, eight men and ... more

Louisa
American fashions, fall & winter 1849-50, by John R. Shankland, no. 100, Chesnut St. Philadelphia / designed & lithographed by Hoffy, No. 20 Sth. 3rd. Street, Philadelphia ; P.S. Duval's Steam lith. Press, Philadelphia.

American fashions, fall & winter 1849-50, by John R. Shankland, no. 10...

Print shows in two horizontal panels, at top, eight men, a woman, and four children standing outdoors along a dirt roadway, one man is dressed for hunting and carrying a rifle, and at bottom, six men, five chil... more

Reindeer polka

Reindeer polka

Artist: G.E. Lewis (signature on image). Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 5537

Paris moderne. Les Tuileries, le Louvre, et la rue de Rivoli, vue prise du Jardin des Tuileries (nord-ouest) / dessiné par Ch. Fichot ; lith. par Noury.

Paris moderne. Les Tuileries, le Louvre, et la rue de Rivoli, vue pris...

This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. No. 5 handwritten at bottom of print Plate from Souvenirs de Paris et de ses environs. Monuments et sites les plus remarquables, dessinés d'après na... more

Design and model of the new steamer America, for the western lakes

Design and model of the new steamer America, for the western lakes

Print showing port side view of the steamer America. Title from item. Caption continues: To be built and run between Buffalo and Cleveland. Invented, designed and drawn by Darius Davison, New York. Copyright 18... more