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A Case of Grangerised Books

These books are all grangerised mainly from newspaper sources
and represent Monographs on the Play (five volume.); Genealogy'
Aberdeen University, I 88 4 -8; Bibliography ot Aberdeen News-
papers ; Newspaper Leading Articles ; The .Maternal Ancestry ot
Byron ; and Verses written by the Grangerite for various Magazines

Zbc Collector's Hi bran?

Edited by T. W. H. CROSLAND














This book is intended mainly for amateurs, but it will be
found to sketch a somewhat larger scope for the extra-
illustrator's art than is usually put forward. The older
school of extra-illustrators understood by that art the
expansion of a printed book, chiefly, if not altogether, by
steel engravings. One recent writer even declares that
the present " degenerate process block system " will
render the task of the grangeriser of the future an almost
impossible one. " An end must come sooner or later to
the ruthless breaking up of such works as the Gentleman s
and European Magazines, which have proved so useful in
the past." This is perfectly true, but neither the printed
book nor the steel engraving forms the whole duty of the
extra-illustrator. Indeed, there is a blessing involved in
the curtailed supply of "old prints," for it removes the
grangerite from the anathemas of the bibliophile, and gives



him a legitimate place among commentators. In any
case it is certain that the great mass of contemporary
illustration must take the form of the "degenerate
' process block,' " so that, whether he likes it or not, the
extra-illustrator has to rely largely on that method of
dealing with a modern work.

I have specially underlined a method for the extra-
illustrator to build up monographs for himself quite
independent of the printed book. This, and the fact that
extra-illustration involves all sorts of collecting, may
render this volume not altogether superfluous in the
present series.




The Origin of Extra-Illustrating, ...... 9


Objections to Extra-Illustrating, . . . . . . 14


The Legitimate Uses of Extra-Illustrating, .... 22


Examples of Extra-Illustrating, ...... 27

Methods of Extra-Illustrating, 37

The Rewards of Extra-Illustrating, , . , , , 53


A Case of Grangerised Books, ..... Frontispiece

An Example of how a Play may be Grangerised, . to face page 33
A Special Title-Page, ....... „ 49




To the making of books there is no end ; but to make
a beginning is a much more difficult matter. Probably
every man has in his head a book that he would like to
produce, for every man has some subject which interests
him specially. Certain it is that not every profes-
sional publisher would dream of producing it for him.
This little book is an attempt to describe some of the
methods by which every man may become his own
publisher, for the art of " grangerising," or extra-illus-
trating, as it is now more frequently called, is nothing
more or less than that.

Books, of course, have had their private editors since
the earliest times. The old commentators were the
earliest grangerites, who, by their emendations and sug-
gestions, made their own copies of a book unique. A
most interesting appreciation of such an one was pre-
fixed to the catalogue of the library of one Richard
Smith, of London, whose books were brought to the



hammer at an auction-room, known as the Swan, in
Great Bartholomew's Close on May 15, 1682. The
address " To the Reader " is so quaint and so typical
of the grangerite as we know him, that it is well
worth quoting : —

The Gentleman that Collected it, was a Person infinitely Curious
and Inquisitive after Books, and who suffered nothing considerable to
escape him, that fell within the compass of his Learning ; for he had
not the vanity of desiring to be Master of more than he knew how to
use. He lived to a very great Age, and spent a good part of it,
almost intirely in the search of Books : Being as constantly known
every day to walk his Rounds through the Shops, as he sat down to
Meals : where his great skill and experience enabled him to make
choice of what was not obvious to every Vulgar Eye. He lived in
times, which ministred peculiar opportunities of meeting with Books,
that are not every day brought into publick light ; and few eminent
Libraries were Bought, where he had not the Liberty to pick and
choose. And while others were forming Arms, and New-modelling
Kingdoms, his great Ambition was to become Master of a good Book.
Hence arose as that vast number of his Books, so the choiceness and
rarity of the greatest part of them, and that of all kinds, and in all
sorts of Learning. . . . Nor was the Owner of them a meer idle
Possessor of so great a Treasure : For as he generally Collated his
Books upon the Buying of them (upon which account the Buyer may
rest pretty secure of their being perfect) so he did not barely turn
over the Leaves, but observed the Defects of Impressions, and the ill
arts used by many, compared the differences of Editions, concerning
which and the like Cases, he has entred memorable and very useful
remarks upon very many of the Books under his own hand, Obser-
vations wherein certainly never man was more Diligent and Industrious.

In our time the term "grangerite" has come to be
applied to the commentator who summons illustration
to his aid in dealing with a book already printed. That,


however, does not cover his art, which includes every-
thing bearing 1 on the elucidation of the text. I use
the word " grangerising," then, as a term for the general
art of what may be called the methodised scrap-book
— for in its very method it differs widely from the olla-
podrida usually known by that name.

The art is named after the Rev. James Granger,
who was practically the first man to see the value of
prints of portraits. Thousands of Londoners pass a
medallion bust of Granger every day, and yet how
few people can tell you why the bewigged old parson
should occupy such a prominent place in the frieze
of the National Portrait Gallery entrance in Charing
Cross Road.

Granger was born of poor parents in Mr Thomas
Hardy's beloved Dorsetshire in the year 1723. He
went to Oxford, but he never took his degree. He
was fortunate enough, however, to be presented to
the vicarage of Shiplake in Oxfordshire, and he "con-
sidered it to have been a stroke of good fortune to be
able to retire early to independence, obscurity, and
content." He made an excellent parish priest, and he
was highly esteemed, although Dr Johnson vigorously
disliked his political Liberalism, and dismissed him with
the remark : " I hate to see a Whig in a parson's gown."
But he is remembered not as a theologian nor as a poli-
tician, but as the author of a very remarkable book
which he published in 1769, entitled : —

A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the
Revolution : consisting of characters, dispersed in different classes and



adapted to a methodical catalogue of engraved British heads, in-
tended as an essay toward reducing our biographies to a system, and
a help to the knowledge of portraits ; with a variety of Anecdotes
and Memoirs of a great number of persons not to be found in any
biographical work. With a Preface, showing the utility of a collection
of engraved portraits to supply the defect, and answer the various
purposes of Medals.

The work proved a vast success — for a book on such
an artistic subject ; and no one can have been more
astonished than the laborious old parson himself. It was
extended, and ran through two editions within the life-
time of Granger, who died in 1776. The effect of
the book was to raise the price of engraved portraits five
times their original value, for collectors began to illustrate
the book itself. Hundreds of works were gutted in the
most ruthless way, so that Hill Burton, in his delightful
Book-Hunter, declared that the grangerite came to be
contemplated with " mysterious awe as a sort of literary
Attila or Gengis Kahn, who has spread terror and ruin
around him."

One of the first of these Attilas was Joseph Lilly, the
bookseller, who had extended his copy of Granger to
twenty-seven volumes. It fetched only £42, though it
had cost the collector £200. As an example of the price
of a grangerised Granger to-day, the following copy,
which fetched £35 the other month in a London auction-
room, may be quoted : —

Biographical History of England: fifth ed., illustrated with a
Collection of about 2,500 Engraved Portraits, including numerous
specimens of the works of Faithorne, Elstracke, Pass, Marshall,


R. White, Hollar, Houbraken, Vertue, and others, also mezzotints
bv Faber, Smith, &c, including many that are scarce and curious,
pages 1 to 112 of vol. I. forming the first two volumes, and containing
314 portraits, have been inlaid to imperial folio size and bound in half
mor. gilt; part of the remaining letterpress and about 1,500 of the
portraits have been inlaid to imperial folio size, ready for arranging
and binding, the unbound portion being contained in two large boxes,
the letterpress is believed to be complete.

Granger, I have said, was a Dorsetshire man, and so it is
very interesting to know that at the present time no fewer
than four grangerised copies of John Hutchins' famous
History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset are
being constructed. A fifth is in the library of Lord
Northbrook. One of the very few books that have been
written about grangerising is also by a Dorsetshire man.
It is called Granger, Grangerizing and Grangerize?^,
and it was printed privately at Bridport in July 1903.
This particular collector has extra-illustrated no fewer than
thirty different works, and he has five others in course of
construction. In order to show the wide range that a
grangerite may indulge in, I may say that his list includes
such books as Wadd's Comments on Corpulency, Purcell's
Life of Manning, and Edmund Yates's Recollections, the
last of which has been extended to no fewer than
seventeen volumes.



Little did Granger, as he led his blameless life in
Oxfordshire, at war with no man, dream of the turmoil
that he was to raise and the vista of annihilation that his
admirable enthusiasm was indirectly to create, for by a
curious irony his desire to record the existence of certain
prints has led to the destruction of thousands of books.
At first the destroyers began to operate solely on portraits
to illustrate Granger's own book ; but the hobby, despite
the remonstrances of bibliophiles, began to assume a
perfectly fiendish fascination, for men started to illus-
trate other books and to use all sorts of prints for the
purpose. And so the hobby has grown until it has
assumed, in some directions, perfectly absurd proportions.
Every year, however, makes it a more difficult and
expensive task to grangerise a book with old engravings,
for these, and indeed prints of every kind, have risen
enormously in value even within the last ten years, one of
the chief reasons being that Americans, with their
unlimited means and their keen interest in history and
hero-worship, have come into the market and simply
cleared the board.


No real lover of books can be sorry at the enormous
difficulties that confront the grangerite of the old school,
for, defend it how you may, it is perfectly barbarous to
destroy ninety-nine books in order to enhance the
hundredth. The practice may be defended in the case
of new and cheap books, but just think of the vandalism
of taking a beautiful monograph like Dr Creighton's
Elizabeth in the Goupil series to pieces, in order, say,
to illustrate Froude. There is unquestionably a growing
feeling among people of taste that the old-fashioned
method of removing the plates from a book is a monstrous
practice. Mr Walter Skeat, the philologist, has described
the process as "inartistic." Mr Blades, in his charming
essay The Enemies of Books, specially pilloried that
"wicked old biblioclast" John Bagford, one of the
founders of the Antiquarian Society, who used to go
through the country from library to library tearing out
title-pages from rare books of all sizes. Bagford, who was
a Cockney shoemaker, is described by Dibdin as the " most
hungry and rapacious of all book-collectors, and in his
rage he spared neither the most delicate nor the most
costly specimens." His life's idea was to amass materials
for a history of printing — a scheme which he proposed in
1707, nine years before his death ; but, as Dr Garnett has
pointed out, he was quite incompetent to write such a
book even if he had got all the materials. His vocation,
however, was legitimate when he rescued broadsides from
destruction, for these were units in themselves. The
Bagford Ballads, as his collection is called, were edited
for the Ballad Society in 1878. The old shoemaker ended



his days in Charterhouse, and his collections were pur-
chased after his death by Lord Oxford, and are now to
be found in the British Museum, where his rescues and his
depredations fill a hundred folio volumes.

Probably the strongest condemnation of the grangerite
that has ever been penned is the attack by Mr Andrew
Lang in his book The Library. He says : —

There is a thievish nature more hateful than even the biblioklept.
The book ghoul is he who combines the larceny of the biblioklept
with the abominable wickedness of breaking and mutilating the
volume from which he steals. He has a collection of title-pages,
frontispieces, illustrations, and bookplates ; he prowls furtively among
public and private libraries, inserting a wetted thread which slowly
eats away the illustration he covets ; and he broods, like the obscene
demon of Arabian superstitions, over the fragments of the mighty

It is not merely the question of purloining one picture
that is involved, for, as Mr Blades put it, when once
a book is made imperfect, its march to destruction is
rapid. He cites, in particular, the case of Atkyns' Origin
and Growth of Printing, a quarto issued in 1664. In
its original state, this volume, which is now extremely
rare, had a fine frontispiece, containing portraits of King
Charles II. attended by Archbishop Sheldon, the Duke
of Albemarle, and the Earl of Clarendon. Now it happens
that all those portraits, with the exception of the King's,
are very difficult to procure. So collectors have bought
up Atkyns' pamphlet simply to get the frontispiece.
The consequence is that the tract has become very scarce.

I suggest that the wholesale destruction of books to


illustrate a particular subject is wholly unnecessary in an
age which has brought the art of photography to such
perfection. If a collector can pay large prices for a
volume in order to abstract one engraving, he could just
as well pay for a good photographic reproduction of the
picture in question ; for, if his aim be to illustrate and
not merely to create a special hobby, there is no virtue
in having an original print. Silver prints, it is true, are
very difficult to manipulate in a book, but when you
think of some of the permanent photographic processes
like the Autotype or the Woodbury, the result is so
good that there is no necessity to insert the original
print itself. Moreover, photography has the great ad-
vantage of being able to reduce or enlarge any print to
the size of the book to be grangerised. Some grangerised
books are quite ridiculous by the huge size which has
had to be adopted in order to admit large prints with-
out having them cut. It is ridiculous to see a small
16mo pasted in the middle of a huge folio page, the
size of which has been conditioned by, say, a mezzotint
of some portrait referred to in the little oasis of type
opposite. Indeed, some collectors will not paste any sort
of prints into a bound book ; they prefer to have a large
folio volume, made of stout white paper, big enough to
contain the largest plates without folding or cutting them.
The prints are simply stuck loosely between the leaves.

Sometimes the grangerite repents in sackcloth and

ashes. A case in point is afforded by Colonel W. F.

Prideaux, the distinguished bibliographer of FitzGerald

and Robert Louis Stevenson. Some years ago a corre-

2 17


spondent in Notes and Queries sent Captain Cuttle's organ
a modest little request for information on the best way
of grangerising Clarendon's History, being apparently
unaware that that great work forms one of the most
magnificent pieces of grangerising in the world in the
shape of the copy in the Bodleian Library, and that
another collector had spent £10,000 in extra-illustrating
the very same work. The request had the effect of
prompting Colonel Prideaux, who was then in India, to
pen a long article on the " Ethics of Grangerising," and it
was given the first place in the little magazine.

After describing how he started grangerising, he
tells how he found salvation. He had begun to extra-
illustrate Cunningham's Nell Gwyn and Doran's His
Majesty's Servants. He goes on to say that having
laid in a considerable stock, he found himself pulled
up for want of a suitable print of Pepys. To fill up
the lacuna, he obtained a copy of Pepys' little book on
the English Navy. He had scarcely cut out the portrait
which forms the title-piece, however, when he was struck
by a sense of "the enormity of the crime" which he
had committed. " I almost felt," he says, "as if I had
been guilty of the death of the innocent secretary of the
Admiralty. Up to that, time I had never seriously
reflected upon the morality of the business upon which
I was engaged, and it is in the effort to make some
atonement of my sin I now offer these remarks for the
benefit of those who may be inflicted with a similar
oestrum." I may add, for the benefit of the man who
would illustrate a history of grangerising itself, that


Colonel Prideaux' career would be particularly rich in
material. He joined the Bombay Army in 1860, and
spent many years in India. He was attached to the
Commission to King Theodore of Abyssinia in March
1864, and was confined as a prisoner at Magdala from
July 1866 to April 1868. He has served under the
Foreign Department of the Government of India in
Zanzibar, the Persian Gulf, Jeypur, Oodeypur, and
Cashmir. He has been essentially a man of action, so
that his objections to grangerising are not the result of
the somewhat finicking quality which affects the man
who never leaves his study. I am not quite sure, how-
ever, that while thoroughly agreeing with his plea for
the preservation of the printed book, one could say
Amen to all his demands on the grangerite, especially
the one in which he suggests that illustrations should so
far as possible be contemporary with the date of the
book which you have in hand.

For the grangerite, in any of his capacities, the great
common-sense law should be this : Illustrate ; don't
Adorn. That is to say, grangerising, if it has really any
valid basis at all, should add to one's knowledge. Too
often the object of the grangerite has been, in total dis-
regard of this rule, simply ridiculous and senseless. Hill
Burton was hitting at the foolish grangerite when he penned
his burlesque description of how to illustrate the lines : —

How doth the little busy bee

Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day

From every opening flower.



He pictured him starting with the poet, Isaac Watts.
This would suggest that all manner of bees, Attic and
other, and all sorts of bee-hives, would be appropriate, to
be followed by portraits of Huber and other bee-collectors,
and views of Mount Hybla and other honey-districts.
Burton poured good-humoured contempt on the process by
drawing out the agony of subjects to be illustrated ; but
in the forty years that have elapsed since he penned the
Book-Hunter, the subject of the bee has been extended to
a point more elaborate than Burton ever contemplated.
To-day the exhaustive (and exhausting) grangerite would
have to include, for example, a portrait of Mseterlinck,
who has told us the story of the bee in terms of the most
charming philosophy, to say nothing of Lord Avebury's
many works and the scientific construction of the bee-hive.
Burton then went on to say that the grangerite would
have to remember that there was once a periodical called
the Bee, edited by Dr Anderson, who was the grandfather
of Sir James Outram, whose career might be included.
Finally he genially suggested that, when the illustrator
came to the last line, " which invites him to add to what
he has already collected a representative of every opening
flower, it is easy indeed to see that he has a rich garden of
delights before him."

This gay raillery, exaggerated somewhat as it was, was
not unjustified, for the grangerites have done things which
have rightly brought contempt upon them. So long as
they collected extra-illustrations to increase their know-
ledge of the subject in hand, their practice was fairly
defensible, even if it shocked the bibliophiles who shudder


at the destruction of any printed book. But, when they
began to make the collections simply a hobby without
reference to the extension of knowledge, such as the old
parson undoubtedly intended when he compiled with so
much laboriousness his famous inventory, they lost their
heads. For example, if in illustrating a life of King
Edward one was to use a steel engraving, an etching, a
photogravure, a photograph, a process reproduction, and a
line drawing of the same original picture, one would be
illustrating less the life of His Majesty than a history of
the art of reproduction. More ridiculous things even than
that have been perpetrated in Granger's name, and the
result in the end is not worth a tenth of the trouble nor
a fiftieth part of the expense involved.




The principle of grangerising remains perfectly sound
even when some sides of its practice have become ridiculous,
and there are some aspects of it, more frequently neglected
than not, in which it is practically the only method of
illustrating a subject. I refer more particularly to news-
paper and periodical literature, enhanced as it has been
by the cheap methods of modern illustration. There need
be no contempt for this method on account of its cheap-
ness, for since Granger's day the printed book has ceased
to be the main source of our knowledge on any question.
On many subjects the newspaper has taken its place ; and
yet the enormous mass of information which appears in
the morning paper is destined to remain there for ever and
never reach the more solid basis of book-form. Similarly
with the art of illustration ; it is not too much to say that
nine-tenths of it appears in illustrated journals and remains
buried in their files, becoming almost inaccessible. The
originals — in the great majority of cases, sketches, wash-
drawings, and to a greater extent photographs — become
destroyed, so that we have nothing to represent them


but the reproductions which are so often wholly
inadequate. The grangerite of our day has accordingly
had to turn his attention to the newspaper and the
periodical of every kind, and his work in this direction
has proved not only extremely useful but sometimes most

You will no doubt say that one can keep a file of a
journal, or at least refer to one. The argument is
fallacious in practice, because a file is so clumsy that
very few complete sets are preserved. There is always,
of course, one in the office ; there may be one or two in
the libraries of a town ; and one in the British Museum.
But beyond that, the rest vanish ; and, by a curious irony,
the greater the circulation of the paper, the greater the
likelihood that copies of it are thrown away as soon as
read, because the general reader is absolutely reckless. It

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Online LibraryJohn Malcolm BullochThe art of extra-illustration → online text (page 1 of 4)