Grolier Club, The Art Exemplar

Title-page (top half) from "The Art Exemplar"

Title-page (top half) from "The Art Exemplar"

The Art Exemplar is a rare and important mid-nineteenth-century encyclopedia of graphic processes produced by English artist and lithographer, William Stannard. In addition to describing traditional illustration processes, such as etching and wood engraving, The Art Exemplar covers, in depth, a number of techniques that were new and experimental at the time. Some of these processes, such as Anaglyptography—a method of converting a three-dimensional design to an engraved plate—were in use for only a short time and are not well-documented elsewhere. The volume contains 43 original prints illustrating the various processes described, all from Stannard’s own collection.  

                Due to the finite number of original prints that Stannard could contribute to the publication, the edition was apparently limited to ten copies, including four large paper copies and six regular copies. Nine of the ten copies—including all four large paper copies—are held by institutions (all in either the U.S. east coast or London), and the tenth copy is in private hands. The Grolier Club copy, also from a private collection, is apparently outside the edition of ten, increasing the number of known copies to eleven.

                We are pleased to make this rare and relatively inaccessible work available to scholars all over the world thanks to the assistance of a METRO 2019 Digitization Funding Award.

About the Grolier Club

The Grolier Club was founded in 1884 by a group of nine bibliophiles dedicated to the art and history of the book. The Library was established to serve the primary mission of the Club, which is (to quote from its Constitution) "to foster the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper, their art, history, production, and commerce.” It pursues this mission though the maintenance of a collection devoted to all aspects of the book and graphic arts with special strengths in the history of the antiquarian book trade and bibliography. The Library’s holdings of book catalogues are among the most comprehensive in the country; and these, along with the papers of important bibliophiles, bibliographers, and antiquarian book dealers, have long been recognized as an important and often unique resource for Library patrons.

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