William Havell (British, Reading 1782–1857 London)
Georg Jacob Vollweiler (London) successor to M. André
Pen lithograph on yellow-ocher aquatint mount
sheet: 12 5/16 x 8 3/4 in. (31.3 x 22.3 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, by exchange, 1928
Not on view
"Specimens of Polyautography" contains the first lithographs issued in Britain. The new technique had been invented between 1796 and 1799 by Alois Senefelder, a Munich dramatist seeking an inexpensive method to reproduce his plays. Experiments led him to discover that drawing on limestone with a greasy crayon or ink produced an image that could be lightly etched and then printed, if the surface was moistened with a solution of water and gum arabic. After perfecting the process, Senefelder received a Bavarian patent, then traveled to London in 1800 with Friedrich André to introduce his new method. After obtaining a British patent in 1801, André set up a lithographic press with his brother Philipp and persuaded London artists to try the new technique, issuing twelve "polyautographs" in 1803. Two years later, G. J. Vollweiller, one of André's assistants from Offenbach am Main, arrived in London. Assuming the patent, he expanded the original set to thirty-six prints, issued in groups of six between 1806 and 1807, Havell's print among them.
Signature: in stone lower right: "Wm. Havell 1804"
W. G. Russell Allen; Vendor: W. G. Russell Allen, by exchange
Man 1962, no. 86
Felix H. Man "Lithography in England (1801-1810)" in Prints: Thirteen Illustrated Essays on the Art of the Print, selected for the Print Council of America. Carl Zigrosser, New York, 1962, cat. no. 86, p. 122.