Feature November 2013

Joseph Mansell Research

It is now over 20 years since one of our members announced in our Newsletter that they were endeavouring to compile a catalogue of the Baxter process prints produced by the firm of Joseph Mansell in the 1850s.

This was not the first attempt to compile such a catalogue. The second Baxter Society had done so back in the 1920s in their magazine The Baxter Times, but it was known that this was incomplete.

One of the problem areas is that Joseph Mansell did not give many of his prints a designated title. This was overcome in the 1920s catalogue by giving these prints assigned names.

Sheet 8 published by Joseph Mansell

Mansell did however often print a serial number in the plate margin of each different series of prints. For example, the sheet of twelve 'Aesop's Fables' prints has the serial number 29. Back in 1990 our member had copies of 8 uncut sheets with serial numbers. To complicate matters uncut sheets have been found without serial numbers, possibly because the margin of the key plate was not always inked during the printing process.

Since then members have identified a total of 15 sets of prints with serial numbers, and another 11 sets so far without numbers printed on them, as well as individual prints where the complete set is yet to be identified.

The New Baxter Society then published 'A Pictorial Catalogue of Joseph Mansell's Baxter Process Prints' in 2006, and an update in 2007 containing additional information (see Publications.) This catalogue contains over 270 prints compared to the 70 catalogued by the second Baxter Society in the 1920s.

The sheets identified are numbered, 1, 5, 8, 9, 16, 20, 26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 36, 46, 48, and 49. If the numbers are consecutive, this suggests that there are at least 34 sheets still to be identified although some of these are probably the ones we have seen without numbers.

If you have a sheet of prints published by the firm of Joseph Mansell with one of the missing numbers on it please let us know so that we can continue the quest of producing a complete catalogue of these works.