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Today is   Last update 07-11-2011
 

YES! Colour illustrations in the nineteenth century!

We are just getting used, in the earlier years of the twenty-first century, to seeing colour illustrations accompanying papers in some of the national archaeological journals, such as Antiquaries Journal.

In the twentieth century, there were occasions when black-and-white drawings had red or blue lettering added to highlight important points; but the photographs accompanying such papers (Hugh Thomson’s well-known one on the Chester amphitheatre is an example) were always half-tones. There was even an occasional colour frontispiece. But to-day we find colour illustrations mixed with black-and-white wherever it is convenient in the text, and all printed on the same kind of paper as the remainder of the article.

But CWAAS anticipated much of this well over a century ago!

As early as Volume 10 of the Old Series (1889) a paper by the then Editor (Chancellor Ferguson) on the 1745 ‘skirmish’ at Clifton is illustrated by a copy of a plan which he had found hanging on the wall of the Castle in Newcastle upon Tyne. He describes what appears to be a ‘vast tartan boa constrictor seemed to be endeavouring to swallow a church and sundry red and black blocks’. He goes on to explain that the ‘boa constrictor’ represented the Highland army and the blocks the Duke of Cumberland’s forces. But it is all there in the accompanying Plate, the broad red border, the tartan ‘snake’ and the red and black blocks. (See Photo 1)

<div align="center">Photo 1</div>
Photo 1



That Plate, of course, required only one colour to be added to the black. By the next Volume (11-1891) we have a plan of the City of Carlisle to illustrate the siege of 1644 with the rivers shown in pale blue and the various military dispositions in red; two colours plus black.

Volumes 13 (1895) and 14 (1897) have the first multi-colour lithographs which attempt to show what something actually looked like. They are a number of plans and sections illustrating the work of the Cumberland Excavation Committee on the Vallum. The folding plans in Vol. 13 are up to 18" long and some have as many as seven different colours of sand, clay etc. shown. (See Photo 2)

<div align="center">Photo 2</div>
Photo 2



In Vol.14 we have two coloured illustrations of the famous Turf Wall section at Appletree and a view of a Vallum trench cut at Bleatarn, Irthington, NY 46 61. (See Photo 3 for latter) The caption to this includes ‘Extended from a photograph by Miss G.B. Hudson’ and ‘Drawn by E. Hodgson, August, 1895’.

<div align="center">Photo 3</div>
Photo 3



By Vol.15 (1899) the sole appearance of colour is the reproduction of one of the paintings of the Ormside Bowl by W.G. Collingwood; he spent four days executing them in York. (See Photo 4) That two of the other paintings appear in monochrome suggests that the costs may have been considered too high by that time.

<div align="center">Photo 4</div>
Photo 4
























































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