Rare Important work on Genus Lilium
Elwes Lilies Fitch. Henry John Elwes published A Monograph of the Genus Lilium in London from 1877-1880. The artwork is by Walter Hood Fitch. These old lithographs come from the most important work ever produced on lilies. They are gorgeous, large folio hand colored lithographs. Click here to contact us.
The Art of Lithography:
The art of lithography was a very laborious process. It took tremendous skill. It was a life long craft, once a lithographer, always a lithographer! No switching back and forth in careers in the OLD days. One would serve a long apprenticeship, sometimes years on end, with little to no pay, in order to become a craftsman like the one skilled to work on these rare Elwes Lilies Fitch produced. The desired, original illustration was transferred onto a special kind of limestone. The limestone came out of a certain area of Germany. The limestone was cut into large slabs, about 1″ thick. The illustration was meticulously drawn onto the limestone slab with a type of a greasy crayon. What was under the greasy crayon essentially was what was printed in relief. The finished desired slab was then emerged into nitric acid. The nitric acid burned away what was not covered by the greasy crayon. That area was then in relief. The greasy crayon was wiped off, inked up, and printed onto a piece of heavy wove rag paper. (The making of the paper is another story).
The water coloring was meticulously added by a very experienced water colorist. Water coloring was also a life long career or craft. Intense ink from minerals and vegetables and insects made up water colors in the early days. These water colored lithographs are vibrant and beautiful. The prints themselves are in near perfect condition. The lilies are stunning to look at in person