20 November 2003
NATURE PRINTING -- Henry C. BAILDON - Thomas MOORE (1821-1887). Specimen of Baildon's Nature-Printed Ferns prepared according to his new patented process. By ... Baildon. The descriptions by Thomas Moore. London: L. Reeve & Co., 1869.
2° (480 x 340mm). Collation: title (verso blank), preface dated 'Edinburgh, January 1869' (1p, verso blank), pp. text. 4 nature-printed plates in green and brown by Schenck & Son of Edinburgh, 12 wood-engraved illustrations by CV.E. Andrew after Walter Hood Fitch. (Neatly repaired tears to blank margins of title, title and first text leaf spotted.) Modern green cloth, title in gilt on upper cover.
VERY RARE: no copy is listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty-five years. Apart from a passing reference to Baildon in Cave and Wakeman's Typographia Naturalis (Wymondham, 1967, p.30), both he and his work seem to be unknown to the standard bibliographies. Baildon, who was apparently based in Edinburgh, patented his improvments to the methods championed by Auer and Bradbury in 1867. As he writes in the preface to this work: 'The principal feature of my invention... is the production of facsimile copies of fronds of ferns, leaves of plants... by taking impressions on [lithographic] transfer paper direct from the frond, or leaf... and by transferring the same on to lithographic stones, and printing therefrom, reproducing by successive printings every tint of colour found in the object represented.' As the title suggests, the work is a sample what the new process could produce: 'I hope to be able to turn this adaption of Nature-Printing to practical account by the issue of further illustrated publications, should the specimen now submitted to public approval... warrant me in believing that I can do so with a fair prospect of success' (preface). No further work is known to have been published by Baildon.
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