William Wordsworth

  • Author: Alonzo Chappel
  • Date: 1872
  • Medium: Steel Engraving
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Inches: 6 3/4 x 8 7/8
  • Centimeters: 17.31 x 22.76
  • Price: $95.00

This steel engraving depicting Martha Washington was an original painting by William Wordsworth, who worked in tandem with Johnson Publishing. This was one of the most notable collaborations between publishers and artists in the pictorial history market. Chappel was famous during his career for illustrating highly iconographic visual representations of famous figures, and they all emphasized the same heroic values of strength, leadership and courage. Johnson publishing was immediately impressed with his illustrations, and through a collaboration, published The History of the United States, which was a pictorial exploration of American history until 1872.

Johnson Publishing employed the steel engraving process, primarily as a way to reduce the details of Chappel's large scale paintings to a size suitable for standardized books. Therefore, he was able to reproduce images that had previously been permanently tied to a large canvas. The ability of steel engraving to allow for dramatic reductions of scale without loss of detail encouraged the mass circulation of The History of the United States.
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