Album Calligraphique. Calligraphed album of 12 original alphabets hand painted in colors, metallics, and gold.
Saint-Victor, Beauvalet de.
Np, ca. 1840) 9 1/4 x 11 3/4. 120 pages. The album is comprised of 12 alphabets of 25 letters (there is no "W") on rectos of thick, smooth paper. There are also a title page, an index, and 10 section titles preceeding the ten major alphabets of ornamented initials. These are lettered in black & red and signed "par Beauvalet St. Victor." The other 2 alphabets are single leaves of simple initial letters (Lombardic caps) written in red, outlined in gold. Bound in full wine morocco (upper joint lightly rubbed) in Medieval style, ca. 1896 for J. E. Woodhead. Fine, in felt-lined slipcase. (Item ID: 14275)
Saint-Victor's watercolored & gilded letters are his own creations, derived from Medieval sources. Many shimmer with metallic colors from a process the artist invented. The letters are all majuscules (Onciales du 9e au 11e siecles, 12e siecle, 12e au 14e siecles; Gothiques Ornées, Anglais Ornées, Majuscules d'Eglise, d'Eglise Ornée, Alphabet de Romain Droit Orné et Ombré, and (in a closing crescendo) Majuscules Choisies Ornés 12e au 14e. Letters are variously one, two, or 4 to a page, separated by a gilt rules. Saint-Victor is best known for two works. The first is a practical manual of 280 pages published in 1835, "Aquarelle-Miniature Perfectionnée reflets métallique et chatoyans et peintre a l'huile sur velous en six leçons." (A copy, mising a few illustrations, accompanies this Album.) The artist describes his technique for stencilling watercolors from pigment recipes that produced lustrous effects, then finishing them by hand. The other is the extremely rare "Vases Grecs et Etrusques" illustrated from stencils and "peints d'apres sa nouvelle decouverte metallique." We have not been able to locate another album such as this. Woodhead was a prominent c19 Chicago businessman. His name is stamped in gilt at base of spine; he has penciled his name in tiny letters and the date '96 at top corner of title page.