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Extending the Book
The Apotheosis of Extra-Illustration

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The Apotheosis of Extra-Illustration


Shakespeare. Le songe d’une nuit d’été. Paris: L. Conquet, 1886

At the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum from scrapbooking, extra-illustrated books began to move toward what are now called artists’ books and altered books. They became showcases for original works of art, in direct contrast with the “portable museum of locks of hair, marriage certificates, agreements, deeds, tradesmen’s bills, catalogues, autograph letters, and so forth” that the modern extra-illustrated book had become (in the words of the January 1903 issue of Connoisseur). Instead of adding hundreds of mass-produced prints, an elite collector might add only six or seven fine drawings. Instead of inserting separate illustrations to the text, an artist might paint directly on the printed page as American artist Pinkney Marcius-Simons has done to the volume of A Midsummer Night's Dream seen above.  

Shakespeare. Oeuvres Choisies de Shakespeare. Paris: Firmin Didot frères, fils, et cie., 1869

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