Brown Pelican

Brown pelican
from Studer's Popular Ornithology
by Jacob Studer

Hill Collection -- The Advent of Chromolithography

As the 19th century advanced, the process of chromolithography was developed in the hope of creating a good method of color printing for the illustration of books. The techniques were complicated and expensive, however, and the results seldom produced the quality and sheen achieved by hand coloring.

The first bird artist to use chromolithography was Joseph Wolf [1820-1899], who used it to illustrate two small books of poems in 1853 and 1854. Wolf, who had produced so many magnificent hand-colored lithographs for D. G. Elliot and John Gould, was not happy with the new process and would not allow it to be used again for any of his work. The Hill Collection includes a copy of the book published in 1854, called Feathered favourites.

A better-known work that used the new printing process was Studer's popular ornithology, first issued from 1874 to 1878 in two volumes. Illustrated by chromolithographs from drawings by Theodore Jasper, this work by Jacob Henry Studer [1840-1904] was issued in several editions under varying titles and was very popular in its day. A nice set of the original edition is part of the Hill Collection, as is an 1895 version of the first volume, entitled The birds of North America.

Still later in the century, Thomas Littleton Powys Lilford [1833-1896] produced a seven-volume set of the Coloured figures of the birds of the British Islands (1885-1897). The 421 plates represent chromolithography at its best. A fine copy of the first edition is part of the Hill Collection.




Online guide developed from:

Ornithology Collections in the Libraries at Cornell University: A Descriptive Guide
Revised Edition, 1999
Ithaca, New York
� 1999 Cornell University Library
Webpage last revised: 6/10/99 by jfc & clsb.

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck
from Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands
by Thomas Littleton Powys Lilford