Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Header Vignettes

Woodcut illustrations by GW Dijsselhof
'Kunst en Samenleving', 1894

woodcut vignette of spider and web

woodcut art nouveau peacocks

woodcut of 2 horn-blowing men on horses

illustration of frogs in pattern

woodcut of men carrying plants by Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof 1894

woodcut vignette design of seahorses

stylised pattern of beetles

woodcut silhouette insect pattern

stylised design made from fish

woodblock illustration of symmetrical pattern of roosters

colour woodblock illustration of stylised rooster and tree

Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof (1866–1924) was one of the earliest protagonists of the Art Nouveau movement (Nieuwe Kunst) in Holland, having studied fine arts at academies in The Hague and Amsterdam.

He came to prominence with a series of sketches of fish and underwater scenes inspired by visits to the Amsterdam zoo aquarium. Preserving these scenes in misty, dreamscape oil paintings was one of his life-long artistic projects. Dijsselhof was also a versatile artist who worked in glass, textiles and furniture design at various stages in his professional career.

The charming and imaginative book illustrations seen above were prepared for a translation of Walter Crane's 1892 art textbook, 'The Claims of Decorative Art' [published as: 'Kunst en Samenleving', 1894]. The motifs were inspired by the fauna from the Dutch countryside and these vignette subjects - peacocks, frogs &c - also corresponded with themes running through the text of Crane's chapters.

The woodcut headings (see below for how they appear on the full page) were printed in black ink and Dijsselhof later painted (at least?) one complete set with tastefully restrained watercolours for a specific buyer from the first print-run of 500 copies. There were a couple of editions (the web translation of the background is confusing) issued during a 10-year period, with the illustrations later rendered onto metal plates for cheaper/easier printing. The printer would ultimately use the illustrations again and again in children's books and magazines.

double book page with header motif


MrCachet said...

Fabulous! And thanks for the links as well.

peacay said...

Oh yeah, I should mention that both those linked blogs: Japonisme and The Linosaurus are worth bookmarking or subscribing to.

Cristiana C. said...

Thank you for sharing those incredibly refined artworks and information, I love Japonisme blog as well, I didn't know The Linosaurus so thank you for this as well, I will check it immediately!

O.M. Ferguson said...

These are beautiful! Thank you for posting :)

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