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    Extra-illustration and ephemera: altered books and the alternative forms of the fugitive page

    Calè, Luisa (2020) Extra-illustration and ephemera: altered books and the alternative forms of the fugitive page. Eighteenth-Century Life 44 (2), pp. 111-135. ISSN 0098-2601.

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    In ‘A Friendly Gathering: The Social Politics of Presentation Books and their Extra-Illustration in Horace Walpole’s Circle’, Lucy Peltz plays with the technical and metaphorical senses of ‘gathering’ to reflect on the materiality and sociability of altered books in the Strawberry Hill set. The practice of extra-illustration consisted in disbinding the book, cutting loose the gatherings of leaves that make up its quires, in order to interleave them with additional pages, or to inlay each page into windows cut through larger sized paper. The process is captured in Walpole’s Correspondence: ‘Mr Bull is honouring me, at least my Anecdotes of Painting, exceedingly. He has let every page into a pompous sheet, and is adding every print of portrait, building, etc., that I mention and that he can get, and specimens of all our engravers. It will make eight magnificent folios, and be a most valuable body of our arts.’ Specimens collected and collated with the text anchor, document, and illustrated the words on the page. As a result, an identical multiple within a print run was turned into a unique object. Through the art of extra-illustration the extra-illustrator Richard Bull ‘erected for himself a monument of taste’. In its monumentalizing aims and dimensions, extra-illustration could be considered an antidote against ephemera; yet transience is inherent to its attempt to document the text with reproductions that might secure a virtual survival on the page against the referents’ future dispersal. The concept of ephemera is refracted through a rich lexicon, which punctuates Walpole’s paratexts – from his title Fugitive Pieces in Verse and Prose (1758), which he presents as ‘trifles’ and ‘idlenesses’, to his ‘diminutive’ house ‘a paper Fabric and an assemblage of curious Trifles, made by an insignificant Man’. In this essay I will read the practice of extra-illustration against its grain to recuperate the ephemeral side of ‘the pompous sheet’, the composite object disbound from its gatherings, and alternative forms of the page as a detached piece, a scrap, a caption appended to objects in the house. I will focus my discussion on two complementary book collections produced by Richard Bull: his extra-illustrated copy of Walpole’s Description of Strawberry Hill, now at the Lewis Walpole Library, and his curious compilation of occasional publications bound with the title-page A Collection of all the loose pieces printed at Strawberry-Hill, and the alternative title Detached Pieces Printed at Strawberry Hill, now at the Huntington Library.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Non-commercial use only.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): extra-illustration, ephemera, Horace Walpole, Richard Bull, Strawberry Hill Press
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: Luisa Cale
    Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2017 12:11
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:41


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