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LONDON, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1868.
and I will then attempt, first to expose, and after
wards to destroy, those which I dare to call "exCONTENTS.—No 40.
isting fallacies”; and, in the second part of my NOTES:- Observations on Early Engraving and Printing, | observations, to replace them with such a theory
Part. I., 313 - The Earl of Ossory and the Hon. Capel
as I venture to hope may be found more reason“ Seasons,” 319 - Consanguineous Marriages “Alison” able, simple, consistent, and truthful than any a Christian Name in Scotland - William IV. and the
which have preceded it. The attempt, I admit, Tailor - Signets of the Stuarts - Curious Inscription New Application and Change of Terms, Words, &c. - The is bold, and the more so as I fight my battle singleLiveryman's Answer - A Perverted Text - Latin Motto,
handed. Nevertheless the old adage, “Magna 320. QUERIES: - Anonymous — Breeches Bible, A.D. 1610 –
est veritas,” &c. is still fresh in my recollection; Cardivar ap Dinwall Dovecot, or Columbarium - Lord | and relying on its moral support, I enter upon my Folkyngham - Hale-Herder – The Holy Ghost - Lin.
task not only undismayed by the array of talent Jey-Walter Ludd and the Alidade - Napoleon I.-"One is One and all alone" -- Passage in “ Sea Dreams" - Pay. which will doubtless be brought against me, but masters in the Peninsular War-The Pigeon-House, Dublin tolerably confident that when the public are in - Scottish Game: “Jingo Ring" - Shakspeare's Monument-Socke: Socking: Tilt - Songs - The Volcanoes in
possession of both sides of the case, I shall not Auvergne - Sir James Wilford or Willsford, 322.
have much to fear as to the result. QUERIES WITH ANSWERS :-Dr. Field, Dean of Gloucester For the purposes of my theory it will be need* Caught Napping”-Hanoverian Coins : Sham Sovereigns less to waste time in considering whether the - Warden of Galway -- Macdonell of Leek -" The World knows nothing of its Greatest Men,” 325.
honour of what is commonly called “ the invenREPLIES: - Bells: Bell-Ringing: Bell-Literature, 326
tion of printing, &c.” is to be awarded to “Coster Isiac Bronze Table - Joshua Sylvester and “the Soule's of Haerlem," " Gutenburg of Mayence," or Errand." 329 - Modern Invention of the Sanscrit Alpha
“ Mentelin of Strasburg." Suffice it to say, that bet, 16. - Prayer found in the Tomb of Our Saviour, 330 - The " St. Christopher" called “ of 1423," Ib.- Assess all the literary world are tout d'accord in believing ments in Aid - A Strange Mistake --The "Block-Books”
that the art of printing with moreable types was - Wycherley and Burris - Kattern's Day - Van DunkStound - Wedding Rings - Skelp: Scud - Giants of
invented circa 1440, and that the first book printed Scripture - Epigram on Friends - Sketching Club or according to that system, viz. the Psalmorum Codex, Society - Patrons of Scotch Parishes, &c., 332.
in fol., was published in 1457. Here, then, we Notes on Books, &c.
have the standard universally recognised and
adopted, up to, or from which, events have either Notes.
led or flowed. OBSERVATIONS ON EARLY ENGRAVING AND
According to the notions promulgated by all
existing systems, “engraving on wood” was exPRINTING.
tensively practised for many years prior to printPART 1.
ing with moveable types; as illustrated by two Having stated in a previous number some of grand and distinctive land-marks, namely, certain the reasons which induced me to deny the pre- works generally described as “The Block Books," sumed authority of the “ St. Christopher of published without date, place, printer, publisher, 1423” as an engraving of that date, and to ex- or artist's name—and the “ St. Christopher of pose the false position in which the error of 1423,” hitherto fallaciously styled as “the oldest Heinecken had placed it, I now commence my known engraving with a date.” Every other observations upon the “History of Early En- artistic or literary production supposed to have graving and Printing"; but in so doing I feel existed prior to 1440—such as the falsely-dated called upon to state, in the first instance, under things” mentioned in my remarks upon “St. what guise it is that I venture in 1868 to intrude Christopher," and the series of woodcuts in the my opinion on subjects long since considered to Spirituale Pomerium, now to be found in the Royal have been thoroughly exhausted, or which system Library at Brussels, is, under any circumstances, it is I am prepared to advocate out of the many so trivial and unimportant, as to be unworthy the already before the public. I therefore frankly waste of a thought upon them at all events for avow, that I am not only independent of every the immediate purposes now under consideration. one hitherto announced, but that I am opposed to In like manner every writer on "early printing them all, as being, without any exception, need- and engraving" concurs in declaring that the gralessly shrouded in mystery, inconsistent with dations which led to printing with moveable types common sense, absolutely antagonistic to truth were, first, the printing of playing cards in the and reason, and consequently mischievous and fourteenth century; secondly, the “Block Books," delusive,
or, as they are sometimes called, “Books of With this explanation I will now endeavour to Images," with or without text, and supposed to impartially and succinctly set forth those which have been published between 1380 and 1420; are generally imagined to be the facts from which and lastly, the oft-mentioned “ St. Christopher every deduction connected with the history of of 1423."' Some authors, however, finding the early engraving hitherto indulged in has emanated; ... vacuum" between 1423 and 1446 somewhat
inconvenient, have ascribed a portion of the ations were founded being of no earlier date than “ Block Books” to that period, and others even a | the latter part of the eighteenth century, and few years later.
therefore, per se, valueless for any practical deducAccording to their several systems, the "inven- / tion whatever. tion of printing” is practically reduced to nothing Following up their wholesale assertions, the admore than the notable discovery that, by separating vocates of the “old systems” then seized upon the letters long previously, as they state, cut or the “St. Christopher of 1423" as the Kohinoor engraved in relief in the Block Books, "words, of the position, and insisted upon it as conclusively sentences, or discourses could be printed at will." proving not only the excellence the art of engray
Having thus shortly, but, I hope, fairly stated | ing on wood had attained at that period, but that, the case set up by those I may, without offence, before such a progress could hare been possible, call my opponents, in order that the real issue engraving on wood must necessarily have been between us may be broadly stated, and as clearly practised for many years. comprehended, I at once declare that the argu- I hope I may be excused for here mentioning ment or system I shall endeavour to successfully (par parenthèse) that I have often smiled at the maintain is exactly the converse of that I have manner in which the clever librarian Krismer already described – viz. I utterly deny the real permitted Heinecken to revel in the enjoyment of existence of either printed playing-cards or his imaginary "treasure trove." Whilst in his eyes “Block-Books," with or without text, images of "1423" decided the date at which the “St. Chrissaints, or Donatuses, prior to the invention of topher" was engraved, the cunning monk-who of printing with moveable types; and I submit that, course knew better, and that it merely formed an so far from their having induced that invention, adjunct to the legend,—took great care not to unthey were all, without any exception, the direct deceive him. A premature disclosure of the truth and immediate consequences which resulted from would have spoiled Krismer's market, and deit. The question between us being thus divested prived him of the reward of his reticence. By of all ambiguity, the point to arrive at is on means of his silence all literary Europe were which side those unerring tests on which I so im- thoroughly taken in by the print, or rather by the plicity rely-yiz. “ truth and reason ”- are to be interpretation Heinecken put upon it; and what found ?
is still more surprising, the deception has thenceIn entering upon this important inquiry, the forth been carefully maintained and cherished, and first question which seems to naturally present even now the struggle will doubtless be hard ere itself for consideration is—what account do the the fallacy will be given up and the date abanadvocates of the “ existing systems” give us of the doned. By Heinecken's folly, “Krismer, Von Mürr, “ origin of engraving on wood in Europe,” and to and Co." at once became the leading dealers in the whom do they attribute it? I give their answer literary deceptions of the day; and “by hook or textually, copied from one of the leading authori- by crook” their wares have managed to pass curties on the subject, who utters the recorded opinion rent as the “genuine article" for nearly one hunof all previous writers; viz. :
dred years: beyond all doubt a most extraordinary “ The truth is that we have no evidence whatever of run of good luck, which considering the high wood-engraving having been invented in Europe." class of intellect under the continuous supervision
After this frank avowal that they know nothing of which the deception was successfully carried whatever about it, it becomes desirable to ascer- | on) may be almost styled "marvellous." tain from them the period at which, according to
The unlooked-for capture of the date "1423," their notions, engraving on wood was first known
by Heinecken in 1769, was vigorously seconded with certainty to exist in Europe.
by Th. Temanza (1705-1789), an architect of In answer to that inquiry, as a consequence of Venice, who, a few years after Heinecken had set their not having any reliable fact to fall back upon, every body crazy after dated engravings, had, it is they are driven to adopt conjecture and assump said (circa 1775), the good fortune to discover tion of the wildest and most inconclusive descrip amongst the archives of the company of Venetian tion, and armed therewith, boldly reply
“painters” a certain document relating to "print“There cannot be a doubt that the principle on which
ing,” dated Oct. 11, 1441 ? (MCCCCXLI), wherein wood-engraving is founded was known in the thirteenth on the feeblest conceivable grounds he ventured and fourteenth centuries; and towards the end of the to interpret certain words said to exist in that fourteenth or the beginning of the fifteenth century there document as relating to “cards and printed is reason to believe that the principle was adopted by the figures," which trade he declared was therein German cardmakers,” &c.
stated to have “ fallen into total decay;" from All this is unhesitatingly stated, be it observed, | which assuined expressions it was eagerly sought without any evidence whatever to justify either to deduce the proposition, that “printed cards” the absence of a doubt or the existence of a reason must have been long previously known in to believe ; the very ideas upon which such declar- | “ Venice."