Lizar Whales Spermaceti Whale Pl 10 from William Lizar Whale for the Naturalist’s Library
William Lizar Naturalist’s Library
William Lizar published about 40 different volumes on natural history, entitled the Naturalist’s Library, published in Edinburgh Scotland, from about 1840 through 1880. He did wonders for the educating Great Britain, as his illustrations became very popular, and affordable. These were issued as very small books with lots of information with details and illustrations. This was the rage of 19th century Europe.
Sold by subscription, published and circulated as they could be produced, these are steel plate engravings on wove paper with water colors that were added at the time of production. Steel plate engravings took a long time to make. The metal plate was extremely hard and the tools or burins had to be very sharp and extremely fine, for every detail, making this type of old printing almost photograph like. The line engraving and the detail were highly perfected.
Hand colored engraving, with water colors, applied by hand.
Water coloring, applied by hand, was a huge trade during the 1800’s. Good water coloring would sell your subscription as a publisher or as an author. In this case… over 40 volumes were published in about 40 years. The water coloring really increased sales in this 19th Century subscription. It was a sign of wealth and prosperity, That you had a good job or owned property. Subscribing also indicated one’s degree of education.
These hand colored engravings became high in demand by readers, wanting to read about the image they were looking at. It was an age of discovery. The fascination was with knowledge and new discoveries of what existed on our planet, and in astronomy. Thus subscribers and collectors emerged with force for books like the Naturalist’s Library.
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