The Adventures of Telemachus


Methods of Making Plates for Book Illustration

Drypoint (period: late fifteenth century): the design was sketched directly on to the plate with a steel point. 

Etching (period: 1500~): the design was cut in a wax ground so when the plate was immersed in acid, the furrows allowed the acid to bite into the copper

Mezzotint (mid seventeenth century): the plate was toned by roughening it with  a serrated rocker

Stipple (mid eighteenth century): a method of toning which combined etched and engraved dots

Aquatint (from 1768): gradation of tone was made by the progressive etching through and stopping out of a ground

-A New Introduction to Bibliography by Philip Gaskell

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Depiction of Telemachus in the Illustration

Telemachus is depicted as a young man with a strong physique. This is similar to   depictions of Telemachus that are found in other artworks. The illustrations look familiar as they resemble other previous paintings and illustrations of Greek mythologies. Naturally, the illustrations of the book foster readers’ stereotypes and help them to follow the story with familiarity. Also, Telemachus looks physically perfect. Many painters depict heroic figures of Greek mythologies to have perfect bodies. Ultimately, readers are more absorbed into Telemachus and his adventure as they now “witness” the illustrations of Telemachus’s perfection.

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The Illustration Pages Creating Irregularity

The book is 12mo of six leaves in a gathering. Some gatherings appear to have 7 leaves creating irregularities. This is due to the fact that illustration pages have been added to the gatherings after the sheet have been gathered.

Why does this happen?

During the early days, woodcuts which were published among the type were more popular. In the late sixteenth century, engraved type which is printed separate from type became more common method. Copperplate was often used for producing finest works of illustrations. “Plates for insertion in a book as separate leaves were added when the sheets were gathered in the warehouse” (Gaskell). 

Change in the concept of book illustration

In the beginning, type and illustration were “printed off a single block”, creating a unique art form.According to Blomfield who wrote the article Book Illustration and Book Decoration, only after printer sought to utilize illustration rather than see it as an art form, illustration ceased to be art. The relationship between printers and artists ruptured as artists always cherish their works whether it is illustration or oil painting. “Illustrators made his drawings without thought of the type, and left it to the printer to pitch it into the text, and reproduce it as best he could. “ 

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Descriptions on The Illustration Pages

Each illustration illustrates significant scene of the story. This is very similar to book illustrations of present day. Often times, book illustrations follow the order of books. Therefore, readers can see illustration after he has read the scene the illustration is depicting. This helps readers to comprehend the story better. This also serves to stimulate readers’ imagination by giving direct images. 

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Telemachus. VOL.I.B.7.P.114.
Venus ascending to Olympus, leaving Cupid with Calypso.
Printed for C.Cooke. 1794. 

Telemachus. VOL.I.B.7.P.114.

Venus ascending to Olympus, leaving Cupid with Calypso.

Printed for C.Cooke. 1794. 

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Telemachus. VOL.L.B.4.P.66.
Minerva protecting Telemachus from the Arrow of Cupid. 
Printed for C.Cooke. 1794.

Telemachus. VOL.L.B.4.P.66.

Minerva protecting Telemachus from the Arrow of Cupid. 

Printed for C.Cooke. 1794.

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Telemachus. VOL. I.B.I.P.31
Telemachus discovering a priest of Apollo, reading Hymns to the Gods.
Printed for C.Cooke. 1794.

Here, Telemachus is depicted to be muscular. Muscular body is often thought as a symbol of strong man. 

Telemachus. VOL. I.B.I.P.31

Telemachus discovering a priest of Apollo, reading Hymns to the Gods.

Printed for C.Cooke. 1794.

Here, Telemachus is depicted to be muscular. Muscular body is often thought as a symbol of strong man. 

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Telemachus meeting Calypso, after his shipwreck on island. 
Printed for C.Cooke. 1794.

Telemachus meeting Calypso, after his shipwreck on island. 

Printed for C.Cooke. 1794.

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Book Illustrations of 18th Century

Both the ornament and the illustration come from 18th century. Unlike painting as a pure art form, book illustrations require descriptive elements related to its text. For instance, the illustration above comes from Trousset encyclopedia, Paris, 1886-1891 (no exact date is indicated). The illustration most likely to be used to provide an image of the palace of Madrid. 

Ornaments are used to decorate a book. 

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Assumption (Thesis)

In this book, illustrations are integrated with the text to spur readers’ imagination. The illustrations aid and reinforce the text. 

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The Purpose of Book Illustration

"Broadly speaking, the purpose is three-fold. It is either utilitarian, or partly utilitarian, partly artistic, or purely artistic."

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About the Book

The book is written by Fénelon with a purpose to educate Duc de Bourgogne who is grandson of Louis ⅩⅣ. The book is satirical in that the book criticizes Louis ⅩⅣfor his tyranny. Fénelon manifested his political ideologies throughout the book. Louis ⅩⅣ was enraged at Fénelon and banished him from Versailles. 

The protagonist of the book is Telemachus who is a son of Ulysses. Telemachus sets out on a journey to find his father. 

(Source: terms.naver.com)

— 1 year ago