Printed ephemera under the magnifying glass (2010)

This course will look at printed ephemera in several different ways, though the main objective for participants is to understand and be able to identify the techniques used in the production of such documents.

In addition to the craft processes of etching and engraving on copper, woodcut and wood-engraving, ink and crayon lithography and engraving on stone, we shall study engraving on steel, stereotyping, the electrotype process, transfer lithography, typo-lithography, different methods of colour printing (from relief blocks, the Congreve process, the Baxter process, chromolithography, chromotypography), and the application of photography to printing processes (with and without screens and on one or more colours).

We shall also consider the design of printed ephemera, and particularly the relationship between technique, form, and use.

At the end of each session we shall take a look at original documents of the 19th and 20th centuries (mainly French and English), including letterpress and lithographed posters, forms, billheads, sheet music covers, invitations, publicity of various kinds, calendars and labels.

The course will be taught in French, but discussion is possible both French and English.

Plan détaillé du cours: 

In the course of the week we shall approach our subject from several different directions.

Our principal concern will be to understand the main techniques used for printing ephemera and to be able to recognise them. In addition to the craft methods of etching and line engraving on copper, woodcutting, wood-engraving, and ink and crayon lithography, we shall study stereotyping, electrotyping, autographic processes, typolithography, various methods of colour printing (relief printing from wood, compound-plate printing, the Baxter process, chromolithography, and chromotypography), and the application of photography to printing processes (both with and without screens, and both monochrome and colour).

We shall also be concerned with the design and use of the ephemera we study, and particularly with the link between technique, style and application.

We shall be studying many different kinds of ephemera which we will need to consider for their distinctive characteristics. Among these are letterpress posters, letterpress forms, lithographed circulars, sheet music covers, labels, and lithographed posters.

Day one

In the first session of the day, we shall first briefly discuss the word ephemera and what we mean by it. Secondly, we shall consider the three broad categories of printing and the principles underpinning the kinds of presses used in 19th century printing.

The second session will be devoted to relief printing from type and wood cuts. The visual characteristics of woodcut and wood-engraving will be discussed with a view to deciding the differences between them. We shall spend some time looking at examples in order to identify the characteristics of relief printing.

In the third session we will take a further look at relief printing, focusing on the letterpress poster and notice (with and without pictorial matter). We shall concentrate on the stylistic evolution of this kind of poster and consider differences between English and French examples of the first half of the 19th century.

Our fourth session will provide an introduction to intaglio printing and lithography. We shall examine the basic processes in each field as well as variants of each processes. Its advantages and disadvantages will be discussed in relation to the production of ephemera. We shall focus on etching and line engraving as well as on different methods of drawing on lithographic stone with crayon pen and brush.

Day two

In our first session we shall continue with our study of monochrome lithography, studying a wide range of ephemera that made use of the process in the 19th century. We shall look at trade cards, circulars, and billheads as a means of identifying the technical characteristics of various branches of lithography, in particular autographic processes and stone engraving.

In session two we turn to another common category of ephemera, the utlitarian form. Printed forms had manuscript precursors in the 18th century, and thereafter were sometimes lithographed, but until the second half of the 20th century they were nearly always typeset and printed in relief. We shall consider the limitations this imposed on the design of forms and, more generally, the evolution of the design of forms from the bookish approach of the 18th century to the user friendly approach 20th century.

The third session will be given over to litho printed covers of sheet music. We shall look at the development of this genre from its beginnings in Germany in the early 19th century through to the end of the 20th century. We shall examine there increasing importance of images and, from the forties onwards, colour printing.

Refinements and other developments of the three basic printing processes that we have already considered will be the subject of our fourth session. They include the duplication of printing surfaces to speed up production, the combination of processes to take advantage of particular features of them, and aids for the draughtsman (ruling machines, mechanical tints, and enlarging and reducing machines).

Day three

Our first session provides a general introduction to commercial colour printing in the 19th century with the aim of putting the production of colour-printed ephemera into context. Most of the major colour printing processes will be considered, including, the wood block based methods of Savage, Knight, Rouchon and Silbermann, compound-plate printing, the Baxter process, various methods of chromolithography, and chromotypographie. The major applications of colour printing will be discussed in passing.

Our second and third sessions focus on the major colour printing process of ephemera: chromolithography. This was the process that brought colour printing to the masses from the middle of the 19th century through to around the second world war. The various techniques, procedures, and applications of chromolithography will be explained by means of slides and actual examples. We shall spend time analysing chromolithographs and comparing them with products of the competing process of chromotypography.

In session four we shall take a look at ephemera represented in the Museum. In particular, we shall look at some large chromolithographed posters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the Album chromolithographique by Godefroy Engelmann (1837); ephemera from the 1880s and 1890s printed by P. Perreyon, a printer and stationer in Lyon; some record books of the Lyon firm of Gougenheim , a specialist in printing wine labels from the 1870s; printed sheets and other chromolithographed work of the St Etienne firm of Waton; and ephemera collected mainly in the 1920s and 1930s by the Lyon printer, bibliographer and historian of printing Marius Audin (1872–1951).

Day four

Our first session will begin with a survey of the use made of photography by the printing trade. We shall consider photography as a basis for printing images and gillotage, one of the precursors of line photoengraving. The remainder of the session will be devoted to those photographically-based printing processes of the second half of the 19th century, including line photoengraving and photolithography, and tonal methods that made no use of screens, particularly collotype and early gravure printing.

Our study of the relationship between photography and printing continues in session two with the development of the trame photographique and its application to all three broad categories of printing (relief, intaglio and planographic), and to printing in colours (trichromie et quadrichromie). We shall use postcards as a means of identifying some of the main photomechanical processes and distinguishing between them.

The final session is been set aside for us to benefit from the experience of participants. I very much hope that members of the class will say something about their own personal collections or about collections they are in some way responsible for. If you have brought material with you we would like to be shown it.


Pour commencer :

Gascoigne, Bamber : How to identify prints, London, Thames & Hudson, 1986 (réimprimé en 1995).
Le meilleur livre pour ceux qui cherchent à identifier les nombreux procédés graphiques artisanales et industriels. Ecrit en anglais, cet ouvrage est néanmoins indispensable en raison de ses illustrations (en particulier ses agrandissements de détails) et les explications succinctes qui les accompagnent.

Laborderie, F. de, et Boisseau, F. : Toute l'imprimerie: les techniques et leurs applications, Paris, Dunod, 1954. Écrit avant la révolution électronique, ce livre permet de situer l'évolution des procédés graphiques dans le contexte industriel et photomécanique de la première moitié du vingtième siècle.

Martin, Gérard : L'imprimerie, Paris, PUF, 1968 (9e édition 1998). Collection 'Que sais-je?'.
Ce petit ouvrage général et facile d'accès, divise les opérations de l'imprimerie en trois : préparation, impression, et finition. Très utile pour non initiés.

Mercier, Alain (éd.) : Les trois révolutions du livre, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 2002.
Catalogue de l'exposition qui eut lieu au Musée des arts et métiers en 2002. Cet ouvrage offre un vaste panorama de l'évolution du livre et de l'imprimerie. Voir en particulier la troisième section, 'Le livre de l'ère industrielle', qui traite, entre autres, de la mécanisation papetière, de la stéréotypie, de la machine à graver, des presses, des procédés photographiques avant similigravure, et de la reproduction des couleurs.

Marshall, Alan, Sheza Moledina et al, Histoire de l'imprimé , Lyon, Livres EMCC, 2008. Collection 'Des objets qui racontent l'histoire'.

Survol très concis et bien vif de l'histoire des imprimés français, y compris les éphémères.

Ponot, René : Techniques graphiques, Paris, Fédération nationale des maîtres artisans et petites entreprises des métiers graphiques, 1975.
Ouvrage concis et bien organisé, il est sans doute le meilleur ouvrage en français pour comprendre les procédés graphiques. Les schémas sont particulièrement utiles.

Twyman, Michael : Printing 1770-1970, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970 (réimprimé par la British Library en 1998).
Voir en particulier chapitres 2-6, et 7. Ce livre traite de la période industrielle de l'imprimerie. Comme celui de Bamber Gascoigne, il contient beaucoup d'illustrations utiles même pour ceux qui ne maîtrisent pas la langue anglaise.

Techniques graphiques : généralités

Baudry, G. et Marange R. : Comment on imprime, Paris, Dunod, 1956.

Collin, Peter Hodgson : Dictionary of printing and publishing, Teddington ,Peter Collin Publishing.

Desormes, E. : Dictionnaire de l'imprimerie et des arts graphiques en général, Paris, 1912.

Dreyfus, J. et Richaudeau  F. (éd.) : La Chose imprimée : technique, esthétique et réalisations de l'imprimé, Paris, Retz, 1985.

Durchon, P. : Imprimer en couleurs, Paris, Ed. du Moniteur, 1993.

Fouché, M., Nave, Péchoin et Schuwer : Dictionnaire encyclopédique du livre, Paris, Editions du Cercle de la librairie, 2002.

Hackleman, C. W. : Commercial engraving and printing, Indianapolis, Commercial Engraving Publishing Company, 1921.

Kipphan, Helmut (éd), Handbook of print media, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Springer, 2001.

Krejca, A. : Techniques de la gravure : guide des techniques et de l'histoire de la gravure d'art original, Paris, Gründ, 1983.

Martin, G. : L’imprimerie aujourd’hui, Paris, Editions du Cercle de la librairie, 1992.

Morin, Edmond : Dictionnaire typographique, Lyon: Sézanne (Léon), 1903.

Schuwer, Philippe : Dictionnaire de l'édition : art, techniques, industrie et commerce du livre, Paris, Cercle de la librairie, 1977.

Twyman, M. : The British Library guide to printing: history and techniques, London, The British Library, 1998.

Twyman, M. : L'imprimerie : histoire et techniques , Lyon, Ens éditions, 2007.

Procédés de reproduction d’images : généralités

Griffiths, A. : Prints and printmaking: an introduction to the history and techniques, London, British Museum Press, 1996

Hammann, J.-M. H : Des arts graphiques destinés à multiplier par l'impression : historique et pratique, Genève, Cherbuliez (Joël), 1857.

Ivins, W.M (jnr) : Prints and visual communication, Cambridge (Mass.), 1953, réédité M.I.T. Press, 1982.

Monet, A.-L. : Procédés de reproductions graphiques appliqués à l'imprimerie, Paris, Gauthier-Villars et fils, 1888.

Vidal, L. : Cours de reproductions industrielles : exposé des principaux procédés de reproductions graphiques, héliographiques, plastiques, hélioplastiques et galvanoplatiques, Paris, Delagrave (Ch.), s.d.

Gravure manuelle

Bersier, Jean-Eugène : La gravure : les procédés, l'histoire,  Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1963.

Blachon, Rémi : La gravure sur bois au XIXe siècle : l'âge du bois debout, Paris, Amateur, 2001.

Lebourg, Nicole : Cours de gravure, Paris, De Vecchi, 1997.

Musée nationale des arts et traditions populaires : L'imagerie populaire française, t. 1. Gravures en taille-douce et en taille d’épargne, Paris, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1990.

Perrot, A.-M. : Nouveau manuel complet du graveur, Paris, Manuels Roret (n.d., c.1864), réédition : Editions Inter-Livres.


Broquelet, A. : Manuel complet de l'imprimeur lithographe à la presse à bras et à la machine, Paris, Librairie Garnier Frères, [1925].

Cahierre, Loïc : Notions générales sur la lithographie et l'offset, Paris, Institut géographique national, 1945.

Desportes, Jules : Manuel pratique du lithographe, Paris, Desportes, 1834.

Duchatel, E. : Manuel de lithographie artistique pour l'artiste et l'imprimeur, Paris, Duchatel (E.), [n.d.].

Engelmann, G. : Traité théorique et pratique de lithographie, Mulhouse, [1840].

Lorilleux et Cie : Traité de lithographie : histoire, théorie, pratique, Paris, Lorilleux et Cie, 1889.

Marzio, Peter : The Democratic art. Pictures for a 19th-Century America, Boston, David R. Godine, 1979 ; Londres, Scolar Press, 1980.

Monrocq, J. : Manuel pratique de lithographie sur zinc, Paris, Monrocq frères, 1878.

Sousa, Jörge de. : La mémoire lithographique : 200 ans d'images, Paris, Arts et Métiers du livre, 1998.

Twyman, M. : Lithography 1800-1850: the techniques of drawing on stone in England and France and their application to works of topography, London, Oxford University Press, 1970.

Twyman, M. : Breaking the mould : The first hundred years of lithography, London, The British Library, 2001.

Twyman, M. : Early lithographed books : A study of the design and production of improper books in the age of the hand press, Londres, Farrand Press, 1990.

Twyman, M. : Early lithographed music : a study based on the H. Baron collection, Londres, Farrand Press, 1990.

Twyman, M. : Images en couleur : Godefroy Engelmann, Charles Hullmandel et les débuts de la chromolitographie, Lyon, Musée de l'imprimerie; Paris, Panama Musées, 2007.

Villon, A. M. : Dessinateur et imprimeur lithographe, Paris, Société française d'éditions littéraires et techniques, 1932.

Techniques photographiques

Anonyme : "La photographie et les arts graphiques", in Catalogue de l'exposition de gravures anciennes et modernes, Paris, Cercle de la librairie, 1881. p. 3-20.

Clerc, L.-P. : La technique des reproductions photomécaniques monochromes : photogravure, similigravure, phototypie, etc., Paris, Doin (O.), 1910.

Clerc, L.-P. : La technique des reproductions photomécaniques, 2e édition, Paris, 1955.

Courmont, E. : Histoire et technique de la photogravure, Paris, Gauthier-Villars, 1947.

Cronenberg, W. : La pratique de la phototypogravure américaine. Traduit et augmenté d'un appendice par C. Féry, Paris, Gauthier-Villars, 1898.

Fortier, G. : La photolithographie, son origine, ses procédés, ses applications, Paris, Gauthier-Villars, 1876.

Fraipont, G : Manière d'exécuter les dessins pour la photogravure et la gravure sur bois, Paris, H. Laurens, [1928].

Gamble, C. W., Modern illustration processes, Londres, sir Isaac Pitman& sons, 1938.

Jammes, I. : Blanquart-Evrard et les origines de l'édition photographique française : catalogue raisonné des albums photographiques édités 1851-1855, Genève-Paris : Librairie Droz, 1981.

Lamey, F. : La photogravure rotative. Historique, procédés, formules, Paris, Hachette, 1924.

Vareine, J. : Aspects modernes de la photomécanique, Paris, Editions Estienne, 1961.

Vareine, J. : La technologie de la photomécanique, Paris, Editions Estienne, 1965.

Villemaire, L. : Traité de photo-métallographie, Paris, Papyrus - J. Danguin, 1932.

Wilkinson, W. T. : Photo-engraving, Photo-litho, collotype and photogravure, Londres, Morlan Judd & co, 1894.

Héliogravure, rotogravure

Lillien, Otto M. : History of industrial gravure printing up to 1920, London, Lund Humphries, 1972.

Martelle, Thiele : Héliogravure au grain, trichromie, rotogravure impression, (Encyclopédie Roret), Paris, SFELT, 1934.

Procédés divers

Motteroz : Essai sur les gravures chimiques en relief, Paris, Gauthier-Villars, 1871.

Motteroz : Essai sur les illustrations par les procédés chimiques : avec quatre planches explicatives, Paris, Héliographie des chemins de fer, 1881.

Musée national des arts et traditions populaires : L’imagerie populaire française, t.2. Images d’Epinal gravées sur bois, Paris, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1990.

Prideaux, S. T. : Aquatint engraving, Londres, Duckworth, 1919, réimpression W & G Foyle, 1968.

Raçon (S.) & Rousset (J.) : Réduction de gravures et clichés, Paris, Raçon (S.) et Rousset (J.), 1862.

Imprimerie Silbermann : Album d'impressions typographiques en couleur de l'Imprimerie de G. Silbermann à Strasbourg, Imprimerie Silbermann, Strasbourg, 1872.

Imprimés éphémères : généralités

Très peu d’ouvrages généraux ont été écrits sur les imprimés éphémères. Il existe des livres qui couvrent l’histoire de la publicité et par là donnent une vision tangentielle du sujet, et d’autres qui approchent le sujet à travers l’histoire de l’impression ou du design graphique.

Audin, Marius. Histoire de l’imprimerie par l’image : bibelots et bilboquets. Tome 4 (Paris : Henri Jonquières, 1929)

Grand-Carteret, John. Vieux papiers, vieilles images: cartons d'un collectionneur (Paris : A. Le Vasseur, 1896)

The John Johnson Collection: catalogue of an exhibition (Oxford : Bodleian Library, 1971)

Lewis, John. Printed ephemera: the changing uses of type and letterforms in English and American printing (Ipswich : W. S. Cowell, 1962)

Petit, Nicolas. L’éphémère, l’occasionnel et le non-livre (XV°-XVIII° siècle). (Paris : Klincksieck, 1997)

Pieske, Christa. Bilder für jedermann: Wandbilddrucke 1840-1940 (Berlin : Museum für Deutsche Volkskunde, Band 15, 1988)

Rickards, Maurice. Collecting printed ephemera (Oxford : Phaidon/Christie's, 1988)

Rickards, Maurice. The encyclopedia of ephemera: a guide to the fragmentary documents of everyday life for the collector, curator and historian, completed and edited by Michael Twyman with the assistance of Sarah du Boscq de Beaumont and Amoret Tanner (London : The British Library ; New York : Routledge, 2000)

Twyman, Michael, 'The long-term significance of ephemera', RBM: a journal of rare books, manuscripts, and cultural history, Chicago, vol.9, n° 1, Spring 2008, pp. 19-57.

Imprimerie et caractères

Gray, Nicolete. Nineteenth century ornamented typefaces, with a chapter on ornamented types in America by Ray Nash (London : Faber & Faber, 1976)

Jammes, André. Collection de spécimens de caractères 1517-2004, Paris, Librairie Paul Jammes-éditions des Cendres, 2006.

Kelly, Rob Roy. American wood type 1828-1900 (New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969)

Mosley, James. The nymph and the grot: the revival of the sanserif letter, Londres, Friends of St Bride library, 1999.

Twyman, Michael. John Soulby, printer, Ulverston (Reading, Museum of English Rural Life, 1966)

Twyman, Michael. 'The bold idea: the use of bold-looking types in the nineteenth century', Journal of Printing Historical Society, n° 22, 1993, pp. 107-143.

Catégories particulières d’imprimés éphémères

Il doit exister sur le marché une centaine de livres sur des catégories spécifiques d’éphémères. La plupart sont destinés aux collectionneurs et insistent sur les listes ou les prix plutôt que sur leur contenu culturel, social ou graphique.

Audin, Marius. " Le billet d’enterrement " dans Arts et Métiers graphiques, 7, pp. 452-457.

Allen, Alastair, & Hoverstadt, Joan. The history of printed scraps (London : New Cavendish Books, 1983 ; pb rep Pincushion Press, 1990)

Bordet, Daniel et al. Questions d'étiquettes : mille et une étiquettes de 1830 à nos jours, Paris, Bibliothèque Forney, 2002.

Buday, George C. The history of the Christmas card (London : Rockliff, 1954 ; rep 1964, 1992)

Campiverdi, Maurizio (ed.). Arte e storia a tavola : due secoli di menu, Milan, Accademia italiana della Cucina, 2003.

Crestin-Billet. La folie des étiquettes de vins (Paris : Flammarion, 2001)

Debuigne, Anne. Buvards, bavards : mémoires du temps passé. (Paris : Massin, 1997)

Davis, Alec. Package and print ((London : Faber & Faber, 1967)

Fenn, Patricia, & Malpa, Alfred P. Rewards of merit (Charlottesville, VA: Ephemera Society of America, 1994)

Heal, Ambrose. London Tradesmen's cards of the XVIII century (London : Batsford, 1925 ; pb rep New York : Dover Books, 1968)

Kunzle, David. The early comic strip and The history of the comic strip: the c19, 2 vol. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973-90)

Levy, Lester S. Picture the songs: lithographs from the sheet music of nineteenth-century America (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976)

Marshall, Alan, & Gouttenègre, Thierry (eds). L'Affiche en Révolution (Vizille, Musée de la Révolution française, 1998)

Martin, Denis, & Huin, Bernard. Images d'Épinal (Québec and Paris : Musée du Québec and Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1995)

Musée d'Orsay. L'Affiche de librairie au XIXe siècle (Paris : Éditions de La Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1987)

A nation of shopkeepers: trade ephemera from 1654 to the 1860s in the John Johnson Collection (Oxford : Bodleian Library, 2001)

Pearsall, Ronald. Victorian sheet music covers (Newton Abbot : David & Charles, 1972 ; Detroit : Gale Research Co., 1972)

Rickards, Maurice. The public notice: an illustrated history (Newton Abbot : David & Charles, 1973)

Seddon, Laura. A gallery of greetings (Manchester : Manchester Polytechnic Library, 1992)

Staff, Frank. The picture postcard and its origins, 2nd edn (London : Lutterworth, 1979)

Bordet, Daniel et al. Questions d’étiquettes : mille et une étiquettes de 1830 à nos jours (Paris, Bibliothèque Forney, 2002)

Campiverdi, Maurizio (ed.). Arte e storia a tavola : due secoli di menu (Milan : Accademia italiana delle Cucina, 2003)