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Origins of Extra-Illustration

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Origins of Extra-Illustration



 


James Granger. A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the Revolution. London: T. Davies, 1769

Isolated examples of extra-illustration have been around since the beginning of printing from moveable type over five hundred years ago: readers sometimes inserted additional prints and drawings into published books—usually religious texts—in order to make unique copies for themselves. After the publication of James Granger’s Biographical history of England in 1769, isolated examples were replaced by a torrent of extra-illustrated works. Granger’s un-illustrated book combined thumbnail biographies with lists of portraits, and people began to supplement their copies with actual examples of portraits. The great era of extra-illustration, also known as “grangerizing,” was born. Developing first in Britain, then moving to America, the practice spread to other historical and literary texts, with Shakespeare being a particular favorite.

 

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James Granger. A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the Revolution. London: T. Davies, 1769





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