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  1. #1
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    Default Examples of Early American Lithographs

    From Mike's 2/14/16 post...

    The last thing about this clock that was fun to run down was the history behind the tablet, which depicts “The Highland Chase.” It shows a Scots Highland lad on his horse, with his dog at his side, racing through the mountains of Scotland. A little bit of Googling revealed that the image was published in volume 37 of Graham’s Magazine (1850). Graham’s Magazine was published by George Rex Graham in Philadelphia from 1841 to 1858. Edgar Allan Poe was the editor for a period during the 1840s. The magazine published short stories, poetry, book reviews, and music. It was also known for the high quality engravings found in it. “The Highland Chase” was engraved by Thomas B. Welch (1814-1874). Welch made engravings of many notable figures (James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Rogers Clark, and others) from the early years of the forming of the United States. [info courtesy of Wikipedia]

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Thanks for sharing this clock. I have been noticing recently that some of the sharp gothic, beehive and ripple cased clocks from this era, and from different CT makers, have what appear to be unpainted lithograph transfers. Some of them appear to be quickly and rather inexpertly positioned on the glass. I was wondering if you can tell from this one if the tablet appears to be unpainted because it is all backed with white paint, or is it truly unpainted? Do you have any ideas on when this style of tablet decoration was used? Was it prior to or later than the reverse painted transfers/decals? I have seen several images in clocks were one might be unpainted and the other painted, however, I haven't seen enough to be able to draw conclusions on whether the differences were by maker or by time period

    I'm hoping that you, RM, and some of the other more experienced collector/historians will be able to shed some light on this topic. Thanks!

    Pat

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: leeinv66)

    Quote Originally Posted by PatH View Post
    From Mike's 2/14/16 post...

    The last thing about this clock that was fun to run down was the history behind the tablet, which depicts “The Highland Chase.” It shows a Scots Highland lad on his horse, with his dog at his side, racing through the mountains of Scotland. A little bit of Googling revealed that the image was published in volume 37 of Graham’s Magazine (1850). Graham’s Magazine was published by George Rex Graham in Philadelphia from 1841 to 1858. Edgar Allan Poe was the editor for a period during the 1840s. The magazine published short stories, poetry, book reviews, and music. It was also known for the high quality engravings found in it. “The Highland Chase” was engraved by Thomas B. Welch (1814-1874). Welch made engravings of many notable figures (James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Rogers Clark, and others) from the early years of the forming of the United States. [info courtesy of Wikipedia]

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Thanks for sharing this clock. I have been noticing recently that some of the sharp gothic, beehive and ripple cased clocks from this era, and from different CT makers, have what appear to be unpainted lithograph transfers. Some of them appear to be quickly and rather inexpertly positioned on the glass. I was wondering if you can tell from this one if the tablet appears to be unpainted because it is all backed with white paint, or is it truly unpainted? Do you have any ideas on when this style of tablet decoration was used? Was it prior to or later than the reverse painted transfers/decals? I have seen several images in clocks were one might be unpainted and the other painted, however, I haven't seen enough to be able to draw conclusions on whether the differences were by maker or by time period

    I'm hoping that you, RM, and some of the other more experienced collector/historians will be able to shed some light on this topic. Thanks!

    Pat
    A number of methods were used to decorate the tablets of mass produced CT clocks.

    Beginning with hand painted glasses, over time the trend was towards cheaper faster easier methods of mass produced decoration culminating in the "silk screened" glasses used on the ubiquitous gingerbreads and clocks of that ilk.

    Stencils, decalcomania and lithographs were some of the means by which a basic pattern was placed on the glass. Sometimes a monochromatic color was applied behind it, sometimes, it would be enhanced with hand applied colors.

    And yes, sometimes the work was less than precise and the color doesn't quite stay between the lines. I have also seen absolutely original glasses where the image was off center or almost appears to have been cut down from a larger glass.

    I suspect that just as with the less expensive Currier and Ives litho's, when given hand coloring (yes some were not), there would be just a few colors and they were done on an almost assembly line bases. One person applying the green, the next the blue, the next the red. I was done quickly and expeditiously.

    Glasses where the decoration is cut and ground on a frosted background were also used. These tend to be clocks produced from about the late 1830's through the 1840's. These appear to have never been reverse decorated.

    RM

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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    Thanks for the info, RM! I haven't seen one of the monochromatic tablets "in person" to tell if it was painted, or if the white color was due to the paper not being removed after the lithograph was applied. Glad to learn that some of the transfers were monochromatic. Are you aware of any monochromatic transfers in other colors besides white/ivory?

    Interesting thought that some of the tablets might have been cut down from a larger glass. This certainly would explain the off-center positioning and the need to quickly produce tablets.

    I've read quite a bit about the various methods of tablet decoration, but hadn't run across anything related to those without at least a minimal amount of color. However, it seemed logical that these could be turned out even more rapidly than the ones with 3 or 4 colors, leading me to assume they were later in the life-cycle of hand painted/decal/litho era.

    Bit of trivia related to this topic - word of the day: cockamamie. There is some thought that the word cockamamie was related to decalcomanie or decalcomania, although about 100 years later than the decals we associated with earlier decalcomania.

  4. #4
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: PatH)

    Pat H. and All,

    I have personally seen a light blue monochromatic transfer several times, and all in New Haven (not Jerome) steeple clocks. I wish I could remember the wording on the glass, but it pictured a horse drawn wagon proceeding towards the back of the picture in front of a walled church and cemetery. I used to own one, but long ago sold it. From what I remember, the back was indeed painted an off white, but the entire front image was as if it was printed on blue paper and then applied. I have also seen the same image in an all off-white version as well. Hope this helps a bit. If I come across the image anywhere, I'll PM you.

    Best,

    George

  5. #5

    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: PatH)

    Quote Originally Posted by PatH View Post
    Thanks for the info, RM! I haven't seen one of the monochromatic tablets "in person" to tell if it was painted, or if the white color was due to the paper not being removed after the lithograph was applied. Glad to learn that some of the transfers were monochromatic. Are you aware of any monochromatic transfers in other colors besides white/ivory?

    Interesting thought that some of the tablets might have been cut down from a larger glass. This certainly would explain the off-center positioning and the need to quickly produce tablets.

    I've read quite a bit about the various methods of tablet decoration, but hadn't run across anything related to those without at least a minimal amount of color. However, it seemed logical that these could be turned out even more rapidly than the ones with 3 or 4 colors, leading me to assume they were later in the life-cycle of hand painted/decal/litho era.

    Bit of trivia related to this topic - word of the day: cockamamie. There is some thought that the word cockamamie was related to decalcomanie or decalcomania, although about 100 years later than the decals we associated with earlier decalcomania.
    I've seen monochromatic tables in shades of weight, grey, greyish blue.

    Here's an example of one:



    I've also seen stenciled tablets that are monochromatic. Some are quite simple, others not. Here's an example:



    This particular one is by Fenn.

    RM
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  6. #6
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    RM,

    Not to question you, but isn't the image of the column clock frosted? Or is it truly very thin paint?

    George

  7. #7

    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: George Nelson)

    Quote Originally Posted by George Nelson View Post
    RM,

    Not to question you, but isn't the image of the column clock frosted? Or is it truly very thin paint?

    George
    It's not frosted. It's paint or possibly a metallic powder that was "pounced" onto the glass after a sticky varnish was applied to hold it. The pattern was created using a stencil.

    If you tried to clean the back of the glass, it would wash off.

    RM

  8. #8
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    Thanks, RM! Learning more and more from you all of the time! I did know about "pouncing" from a stenciling class I once took. It was not a NAWCC sponsored class, and was quite poor...

    George

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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: George Nelson)

    Thanks, George! It seems that both Greenwood and Baltimore Cemetery were used on clocks from this period. The Greenwood Cemetery includes a conveyance heading into the cemetery while Baltimore has a carriage traveling across the picture in front of a church that looks like a castle. Earlier this week I found a picture of a monochromatic Greenwood Cemetery tablet in an ogee. This seemed to have been a rather popular image in both ogee and steeple-cased clocks. Pretty amazing what buildings/scenes/events were reported in the newspapers/periodicals of the time - and each one was memorialized with very skilled engravings that had to be completed quickly before the building/scene/event was no longer noteworthy. I read recently that to expedite completion some of the images were actually divided into sections with each section completed by a different engraver. This might explain why a vertical line is visible in some of the images.

    Since this conversation is not specific to Jerome clocks, I'm wondering if we should ask a moderator to move this to a separate reverse glass painting thread.

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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    Quote Originally Posted by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 View Post
    It's not frosted. It's paint or possibly a metallic powder that was "pounced" onto the glass after a sticky varnish was applied to hold it. The pattern was created using a stencil.

    If you tried to clean the back of the glass, it would wash off.

    RM
    RM, I've seen some tablets that were recreated using stencil, varnish and powder to achieve this frosted appearance, with excellent results. But I'd like to hear your thoughts on another possibility. In one of the old Bulletin articles on reverse glass painting, there was mention of gum arabic being used on clock tablets. It seems to me that varnish and bronzing powder would not wash off easily - at least not with just soap and/or water. However, looking at the current uses for gum arabic, and reading that it was used during this period as a binder for watercolor and in lithography, I've wondered if perhaps gum arabic rather than varnish was used as the base to create the etched look. This might explain why the frosting would wash off. Before I get some gum arabic and start experimenting (which might not be in the near future), I was wondering if you, or any other readers, are aware of anything that might substantiate or debunk this possibility?

    Thanks!
    Pat

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: PatH)

    Pat,

    One of those weekends where I've found it next to impossible to sit down at the computer long enough to compose a response. RM, as always, has covered the details associated with the tablet variants. I'm posting three examples, including front and back, that illustrate some of the differences previously mentioned.

    The first, which I believe to be the earliest (say, late 1840s), shows the town of Albany, NY. It's from a mini-Empire-style Jerome clock with 30-hr fusee movement. There's clear evidence of application of multiple paint colors. The second, a view of Iranistan (P.T Barnum's villa), is from a Jerome steeple with 30-hr fusee movement that probably dates to no later than the early 1850s. It shows some application of paint, but far less than the Albany tablet. The third is the tablet you were asking about, from a Jerome steeple with 30-hr, spring-driven movement that likely dates to the early-mid 1850s. It does appear to have paint applied to the back: a brown-grey, an off-white, and a pale blue. At least I believe those were applied and are not part of the transfer.

    Mike
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: leeinv66)

    Quote Originally Posted by PatH View Post
    RM, I've seen some tablets that were recreated using stencil, varnish and powder to achieve this frosted appearance, with excellent results. But I'd like to hear your thoughts on another possibility. In one of the old Bulletin articles on reverse glass painting, there was mention of gum arabic being used on clock tablets. It seems to me that varnish and bronzing powder would not wash off easily - at least not with just soap and/or water. However, looking at the current uses for gum arabic, and reading that it was used during this period as a binder for watercolor and in lithography, I've wondered if perhaps gum arabic rather than varnish was used as the base to create the etched look. This might explain why the frosting would wash off. Before I get some gum arabic and start experimenting (which might not be in the near future), I was wondering if you, or any other readers, are aware of anything that might substantiate or debunk this possibility?

    Thanks!
    Pat
    Certainly gum Arabic is a possibility.

    It was used extensively.

    I have/do own lithographs, portrait miniatures, water colors and even silhouettes where it was applied to add "sheen" and visual highlight to an area.

    However, I have found it tends to become sticky in the presence of moisture or humidity. I have had the unfortunate experience of having some works on paper where this has occurred and adhered the work to the frame glass never to be separated, at least by me!

    SO, I'm not sure that gum Arabic would be the most stable and permanent "sticky" solution for a clock tablet?

    Not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome collector View Post
    Pat,

    One of those weekends where I've found it next to impossible to sit down at the computer long enough to compose a response. RM, as always, has covered the details associated with the tablet variants. I'm posting three examples, including front and back, that illustrate some of the differences previously mentioned.

    The first, which I believe to be the earliest (say, late 1840s), shows the town of Albany, NY. It's from a mini-Empire-style Jerome clock with 30-hr fusee movement. There's clear evidence of application of multiple paint colors. The second, a view of Iranistan (P.T Barnum's villa), is from a Jerome steeple with 30-hr fusee movement that probably dates to no later than the early 1850s. It shows some application of paint, but far less than the Albany tablet. The third is the tablet you were asking about, from a Jerome steeple with 30-hr, spring-driven movement that likely dates to the early-mid 1850s. It does appear to have paint applied to the back: a brown-grey, an off-white, and a pale blue. At least I believe those were applied and are not part of the transfer.

    Mike
    Thanks for posting the examples.

    RM

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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    Thanks, Mike and RM!

    Mike, I wish I could find a copy of the Iranistan print used in your tablet. So far, they seem rather elusive. Barnum is such an interesting character, and his home was definitely a showplace. Thanks for posting the three examples as they are excellent examples of different painting techniques. You're right that they seem to be applied paint rather than part of the transfer.

    RM, interesting to hear about gum arabic's reaction to moisture. This certainly wouldn't be optimal for a tablet. I'll keep reading and see if anything else shows up that would account for the ease with which the frosting is removed.

    Thanks again, to both of your for sharing your knowledge and experience!
    Pat

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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: PatH)

    Hi, Pat,

    Greenwood Cemetery is the one I had in mind! Thanks for jogging my memory, and also for explaining the lines I've noticed in some of the transfers. You are amazingly knowledgeable about all of this.


    Moving this thread to the Reverse Glass Painting thread is fine with me.

    Warmest regards to all,

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

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    Default Re: Some Jerome clocks for viewing (By: George Nelson)

    Hi, George.

    Thanks for your kind words. We all keep learning from each other!

    By the way, I have requested that these posts be moved to the Reverse Glass Painting forum.

    Have a great week!
    Pat

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