The Grolier Club Library is pleased to announce it has received a 2019 Digitization Funding Award from METRO (Metropolitan New York Library Council) in the amount of $2290 to digitize its copy of William Stannard’s The Art Exemplar (London 1859?). This is the second Digitization Funding Award received by the Club from METRO in the last three years and attests to a positive and ongoing relationship between our two organizations. The first award, received in 2016/2017, funded the digitization of our Maria Gerard Messenger women’s bookplate collection.
The Art Exemplar is a rare and important mid-nineteenth-century encyclopedia of illustration processes, produced by artist and lithographer, William Stannard. In addition to describing traditional pictorial processes, such as etching and wood engraving, The Art Exemplar covers, in depth, a number of techniques that were new and experimental at the time. Some of these processes, such as Anaglyptography—a mechanical process of converting a three-dimensional design to an engraved plate—were in use for only a short period and are not well-documented elsewhere. Nearly all of the processes are illustrated with an original print from Stannard’s own collection.
Due to the finite number of original prints that Stannard could contribute to the publication, the edition was apparently limited to ten copies, including four large paper copies and six regular copies. Nine of the ten copies—including all four large paper copies—are held by institutions (all in either the U.S. east coast or London), and the tenth copy is in private hands. The Grolier Club copy, also from a private collection, is apparently outside the edition of ten, increasing the number of known copies to eleven.
The digitized Art Exemplar will be added to METRO’s freely accessible online repository, Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York DCMNY (http://dcmny.org/), where it will join the Grolier Club’s other digitized collections. The project is expected to be completed by late spring 2020. Thanks to METRO’s support, this rare and relatively inaccessible work will be made available to scholars and enthusiasts all over the world.