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[American bison]. [Netherlands?, 18th century?]. Original woodblock (6.1 x 10.4 x 2.5 cm) illustrating an American bison, cut in endgrain boxwood, closely copied from that cut for Johannes de Laet, Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien , 2nd edition, Leiden, Bonaventura & Abraham Elzevier, 1630, p. 249.
For printed images of the 1630 woodcut: John Carter Brown Archive of Early American Images, no. 03472-6 (from 1630 ed.); for the 3 editions that use it: Alden & Landis 630/88, 633/65, 640/111; JCB II, pp. 229, 246, 283; Nissen ZBI 2359 (1630, 1633 & 1640 eds.). An original endgrain boxwood woodblock cut to illustrate an American bison (often called an American buffalo), closely copied from one cut for Johannes de Laet, Beschrijvinghe van West-Indien , 2nd edition, Leiden, Bonaventura & Abraham Elzevier, 1630, p. 249 (book VI, chapter 16). The "West Indies" was interpreted much more broadly than today, so the book covers much of continental America: its comment about the bison places it in "Quivira", probably in Kansas. The present block is a close copy, but is about 15% larger than the 1630 image. Allowing for paper shrinkage it must be about 12% larger than the block used in 1630. It is not cut on the plank but on the endgrain, and the density of the fine-grained wood (roughly estimated at 1.07 g/cm3) suggests it is boxwood. One can also see differences in tiny details, such as the hairs of the tail just below the point where it touches the horizon line.It is often supposed that illustration blocks made from endgrain boxwood were invented by Thomas Bewick in 1768, but many authors have noted that the technique probably predated him by many years, though his work made it famous. The block is in very good condition, with only a small break in the top border. It could be used for printing without difficulty. An endgrain boxwood woodblock, cut by hand to illustrate a bison, copied from one used by the Elzeviers in 1630.
      [Bookseller: Antiquariaat FORUM BV]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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