New York: The Grolier Club, 1999,
First Edition. large octavo, boards and cloth in dust jacket. 120 pp. The Grolier Club, New. Item #13288
Published in two parts in 1799 and 1800, The City of Philadelphia ...As it Appeared in the Year 1800 by William Birch was the first American color plate book to be published. During the mid 1890s, there was widespread use of the trichromatic half-tone process. This was quickly replaced with new mediums that dominated the twentieth century, providing the basis for this publication. Because production moved from hand-colored plate engravings and lithographs to the development of chromolithography, the nineteenth century shows the birth, rise, and eventual demise of methods of production in the culture of American printed books. Color in books represented luxury during the nineteenth century. Color was never cheap, and although technology made color plates available to a wider audience, the big color plate books were still only available to the rich because of their high cost. As the demand for color became stronger, publishers were more eager to supply it. To do this, it often meant hand finishing was replaced by mechanical work, and quality was therefore reduced. This exhibition takes a closer look at the world of lost processes and skills. This book traces the progression of production processes and the careers of some of the leading specialists. Aiming to show the diversity of color plate work among the leading titles, the exhibition displays highlights of the century and provides insight into the tastes and interests of those producing in the nineteenth century. Beautifully illustrated, Stamped with a National Character: Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books shows the production techniques used in creating color plate books in America. New.