Page 15 - February2017
P. 15

have a vibrancy
       rarely seen in
       wood engraving
       – and for a very
       good reason.
       Every image
       was originally
       captured as a
       photograph, and
       the resulting
       prints were used
       as a guide by the
       engraver. The
       original Daguerreotypes were lost long      Griffi n Parcels - Millbank Prison
       ago, but the surviving engravings capture   separated by strawboard. The inked
       real-life expressions and poses in a way   annotations on the boards must also be
       which a simple sketch never could.    recorded, the blocks cleaned and the
        The Griffi  n parcels remain in a kind of   contents transferred to acid-free storage
       ‘suspended animation’, largely untouched   boxes. The paper and string will be
       since they were wrapped in the second   discarded, but the labels will be preserved
       half of the 19th century, awaiting the   and stored in acetate pouches with the
       skills and knowledge of an expert who can   contents of each package. It is a big job
       carefully assess their contents, proof them   which may take many years to complete.
       and create detailed documentation for the   We look forward to proofi ng the wood
       guidance of future researchers.       engravings for Macalister’s Anatomy,
         When funding for the provision of   Frontispieces (various) and Criminal
       archival boxes and specialist eff ort   Prisons in particular.
       becomes available, each parcel will be     Several packages have split open,
       carefully unwrapped, noting the position   making a small number of wood
       of each block within the three layers   engravings accessible. Shown on this page
                                                   are two random blocks from one
                                                   of the ‘anatomy’ packets, and an
                                                   original engraved boxwood image
                                                   showing Millbank Prison. The last
                                                   has been dusted with French chalk
                                                   to show the detail. The prison was
                                                   demolished in 1890, and Tate
                                                   Britain now stands on the site.
                                                   There may be far more interesting
                                                   examples wrapped within the
                                                   packages, but their discovery
                                                   remains some years away.
                                                     Next month: Taking the Pledge

               Griffi n Parcels (Anatomy)                    Bob Richardson (9718)
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