At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there existed no commercially viable process for creating colour reproductions of original artwork. Most “colour” prints were simply black-and-white prints coloured by hand, which was a laborious and inconsistent method. Illustrator and engraver George Baxter (1804–1867) revolutionized this process, introducing a patented method of overlaying simple intaglio prints with multiple impressions made from coloured ink blocks. The result was a full-colour print of intricate detail and dazzling vibrancy. Originally intended for book illustration, the "Baxter process" was soon adapted for decorative purposes, producing prints that graced the walls and personal effects of people who could not afford costly original artwork. Though Baxter’s method constituted a major development in art reproduction, poor business practices drove his firm to bankruptcy in 1865. Since then, authentic Baxter prints have become highly collectible items, sought after by connoisseurs of printmaking and nineteenth-century artwork. The collection comprises over eighty Baxter prints of various dates, formats, and themes, as well as several books containing illustrations printed by Baxter. Generously donated to Bruce Peel Special Collections in 2011, the collection presents a comprehensive sampling of Baxter’s output and a unique panorama of the art and aesthetics of the Victorian era. It was the subject of a popular exhibition in 2015-16.
Collection Formats: 19th Century, Art Work, Books -- click to see other collections with this format