William Havell (British, Reading 1782–1857 London)
Georg Jacob Vollweiler (London) successor to Philipp André
Pen lithograph on yellow-ocher aquatint mount
sheet: 12 11/16 x 8 7/8 in. (32.2 x 22.5 cm)
original printed mount: 11 5/8 x 15 3/16 in. (29.5 x 38.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1931
Not on view
"Specimens of Polyautography" contains the first lithographs published in Britain. The process was invented by Alois Senefelder, a Munich dramatist turned printer seeking an inexpensive means to reproduce texts and music. In 1796 he experimented with relief printing from stone blocks, then discovered in 1798 that marks made on limestone with greasy inks or crayons could be printed by purely chemical means. After the surface is treated with gum arabic and nitric acid, dusted with resin and talc, and finally moistened with water, oily printing ink will adhere to the applied marks but not the stone. Senefelder visited London in 1800 to obtain British patents for his revolutionary process, selling the latter rights on in 1801 to Johann Anton André, a printer of musical scores from Offenbach am Main. Johann's brother Philipp, who lived on in London, was enlisted to set up a press and develop the method's artistic potential. Interested local artists were supplied with materials and Philipp teamed with James Heath to print and publish sets of twelve "polyautographs" in 1803. Two years later, G. J. Vollweiller arrived from Germany to take over the patent and press, and expanded the core group of lithographs to thirty-six in 1806–7, Havell's "Landscape" among them.
Inscription: in stone, lower right: "W. Havell"
Lauder of Fountainhall; Vendor: James Rimell & Son
Man 1962, no. 85
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, p. 130, Vollweiler 1806-7 set, Part IV, No. XXIV., cat. no. 85, p. 122.