Print of the Month - April 2021

This print was produced by Joseph Mansell in the 1850s using the Baxter Process.

It was one of eight prints on a sheet (illustrated below right), each print being designed so that it could be used to decorate a needle case or alternatively they could be cut in half to be used on small boxes for needles etc.

The eight uncut prints each measure 5.6 x 7.8 cm.

When the New Baxter Society produced its catalogue of prints by Joseph Mansell in 2006 there was only one book recorded which was known to contain Mansell prints. This was called ‘Spring Buds, Summer Flowers, Autumn Leaves and Winter Berries’ and was by Frances Upcher Cousens. It was published by Dean & Son in 1859 and contained six prints by Mansell.

Sheet number 5 by Joseph Mansell
Sheet number 5 by Joseph Mansell

Since then a few other books containing Baxter Process prints by Joseph Mansell have come to light, all published by Dean & Son around 1860. One of these is called ‘Tales of Delight for Youthful Readers’ by Miss E Strafford published in 1859 and, as you can see below, one of the prints used in this book is half of the ‘Elephant Parade’ print illustrated above.

'Tales of Delight' illustrated with prints by Joseph Mansell
Tales of Delight' illustrated with prints by Joseph Mansell

Advertisements from the 1850s and 1860s tell us that other books published by Dean & Son that contained Mansell prints were:-
• ‘Enjoyment for all Young Readers’ by Miss E Strafford (1859)
• ‘A Basket of Fruit and Flowers’ by Miss E Grove (1859)
• ‘Good for Evil’ by Mary Meek (1862)
• ‘Content and Discontent’ by Mary Meek (1862)

We are updating the Society’s online catalogue as and when we locate and view copies of these books to show which Mansell prints are in which books, but this is proving quite difficult as they are such rare books.

We were pleased to discover catalogue entries for the two books by Mary Meek at the British Library, but as we read further it appeared that they had been destroyed during World War II. We contacted the British Library and they confirmed that these two items had indeed been destroyed during an air raid in 1941, but that another copy of ‘Good for Evil’ was still held in the McGill University Library in Canada. Our thanks go to Ann Marie Holland, curator of the Colgate History of Printing Collection at the McGill University Library who has been very helpful in providing us with further information and images.

We are still looking for a copy of ‘Content and Discontent’ by Mary Meek – please get in touch if you can help.