Friday, June 12, 2009

Chromolithography

Today’s blog is about chromolithography. Chromolithography is a type of lithography, but in many ways it is a very different printmaking process. Chromolithographs are among my favorite types of prints, so I must apologize that this blog will be rather long-winded…

Strictly speaking, a chromolithograph is a colored image printed by many applications of lithographic stones, each using a different color ink (if only one or two tint stones are used, the print is called a “tinted lithograph”). The advantage of chromolithography, of course, is that this allows the production of colored prints without the cost, time, and risk of hand coloring. The skillful use of chromolithography allowed for the creation of images with every imaginable color and with an appearance that sometimes closely copied that of original watercolors and oil paintings.

The wide-spread use of chromolithography in America began following the Civil War, and in the next half decade millions of chromolithographs were made and sold throughout the country. These prints became a customary decoration in homes everywhere, and indeed the last half of the nineteenth century has been called the period of “chromo civilization” in America. At the end of the century and into the early twentieth century, chromolithography was primarily used to create “cheap and cheerful” colored images, and these inexpensive and simple prints created a bad name for this process, giving “chromos” a reputation as the poor man’s prints.

It is true that one of the main attractions of chromolithography was that it allowed for the inexpensive production of thousands of color prints, which brought bright and attractive images within the reach of the masses. However, chromolithographs were much more than this. Many chromolithographs were elaborately made, using upwards of 20 or more stones to create a rich and sophisticated image. Many chromolithographs were intended to duplicate watercolors and paintings, allowing the middle class to hang “art” in their home at an affordable price. At the same time, many artists used chromolithography to create prints that very closely followed their artistic vision and which allowed them to earn significantly more income than they could from selling just their original watercolors and paintings.

Chromolithographs were one of the most important artistic elements in the life of many Americans in the later nineteenth century, with published guides lecturing homeowners on the virtues of chromolithography and encouraging the use of these prints for the decoration of the home and education of the family. I think that chromolithographs have been too much neglected and unappreciated, and we are on a campaign to correct this by featuring these important prints at antique shows, having an entire section on the subject on our web site, and I have often promoted these prints on Antiques Roadshow.


Though something of a simplification, one can group chromolithographs into three basic types. First are the chromos used primarily as book illustrations or inexpensive "art." These can run from very fine quality (such as Owen’s Grammar of Ornament) to colorful, workmanlike images (such as late nineteenth century natural history book illustrations) to “cheap and cheerful” (like the many inexpensive prints intended for framing from the 1890s). Generally these chromolithographs were printed in the thousands and so are generally available today at reasonable prices. While not really “fine art” nor “collectible,” these can provide very nice prints for decoration.

The second type are sometimes called “French style” chromolithographs. These are prints which are intended to duplicate watercolors or paintings using translucent inks which create an image that has an airy texture and a soft blending of colors. This process can create lovely images which often look much like the original artwork.

This type of print became very popular with artists in the 1880s and 90s. In this period a number of series of this type of chromolithograph were published with prints of sporting images by American artists, intended for framing and designed to help generate income for the artists and publishers. Among the most famous of these series are Alexander Pope’s Upland Game Birds and Water Fowl of the United States, Frederic Cozzens’s American Yachts, Their Clubs and Races, A.B. Frost’s Shooting Pictures, and the portfolio Sport, or Fishing and Shooting, with prints by a number of important American sporting artists.

These prints could be kept as a “book,” but really they were issued mostly in portfolios (loose prints with covers) rather than bound as books. The primary intent was for these prints to be framed and that is how most of them survive to today. These prints sometimes were issued with titles printed on them, but more often the prints were published with the paper trimmed to the images, with any title on the cover or a separate label. These prints were intended to be framed so that they looked like original paintings or watercolors and they can still be used to that end. [ Click here to see an Antiques Roadshow appraisal of prints from A.B. Frost's sporting portfolio ]

The final type of chromolithograph is my favorite. These are prints that were intended to duplicate oil paintings (sometimes called the "German style'). The inks used were heavy, oil-based inks which when applied in several layers give a texture like that of an original oil painting. These prints were almost never printed with any text on them (though sometimes the title or a name might appear unobtrusively at the bottom of the image), they were usually issued with no margins, and often mounted either on a canvas backing or a board. They were also almost always sold in a frame (sometimes quite elaborate) without glass. Altogether this makes their appearance very close to that of an oil painting.

These prints are the ones that were designed to be sold to the middle classes so that they could hang these faux paintings in their home and benefit both from their sophisticated look and from being able to enjoy and learn from the artwork. Many fine paintings by American artists were issued in this format, such as Frederick Church’s Niagara Falls, Albert Bierstadt’s Sunset, Jasper F. Cropsey’s American Autumn, and Thomas Moran’s Grand Canyon of Arizona. It was as much through the chromolithographic copies of these and other seminal American paintings, as opposed to the exhibition of the original work, that this art was disseminated to the general public.

The leading proponent of this sort of chromolithograph was Louis Prang of Boston. Prang's chromos, which were "sold in all Picture stores," were highly praised and became hugely successful. Prang did more to create the market for chromolithographs in America than any other publisher, and his work also greatly shaped the output of other publishers around the country.

Prang's initial success came from his many small prints ("art bits"), which were collected by the public and usually kept in albums. He also developed a market for color printed specialty items like Christmas cards, which he is credited with inventing. Beginning in the late 1860s, Prang launched a magazine, Prang's Chromo: A Journal of Popular Art, and he began to issue chromolithographic copies of American paintings, which he called "Prang's American Chromos." He later expanded his output to include European paintings such as Correggio’s Magdalena. His first great success was with Eastman Johnson's Barefoot Boy, and eventually he issued about 800 chromolithographs of this sort, establishing an oeuvre unmatched by any other American chromolithographic publisher.

There were other publishers who issued these oil-like chromolithographs, such as Charles H. Crosby, Colton, Zahm and Roberts, F. Tuchfarber, and the British firm of Thomas McLean. And there were also many firms which issued other types of chromolithographs, ranging in quality from poor to top notch. We try to carry in our shop as many chromolithographs as we can, both images by important American artists and charming anonymous genre prints. It is interesting that when we hang a good quality art chromolithograph in our booth at an antique show, it is not infrequently mistaken for an oil painting (as, of course, was the original intent). What is sad is that when I explain that no, this is not an oil painting, but instead it is a fabulous example of chromolithography, the viewer often loses interest. To me, the chromolithographs are as interesting and attractive as the oil paintings, and certainly are more affordable.

I’ll keep beating the drum for chromolithographs and hope an appreciation of these fine prints will spread. Towards that end, there are some excellent reference books that one can read on these prints. The seminal work, and the one which really began the renaissance in appreciation of chromolithographs, is Peter C. Marzio’s terrific The Democratic Art . Katharine M. McClinton’s fine The Chromolithographs of Louis Prang and Jay Last’s The Color Explosion are also books anyone interested in the subject should read.

111 comments:

  1. I AM LOOKING FOR AN ARTIST ROSE....
    THE PICTURE IS AN ALPINE FOREST ..IT IS FRAMED BY TABER PRANG AND SAYS FRAME #6202 ON IT .....
    IF IT IS OF SOME VALUE I WILL SELL IT AND PUT IT IN MY FRIENDS ACCOUNT FOR HIS RETIREMENT FUND.
    IF IT IS WORTH LESS THEN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS I WILL HANG IT IN MY LIVING ROOM. I LIKE THE PRINT ...THANK YOU CMC PLEASE REPLY

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  2. what can you tell me about a monochromatic thomas moran titled explosion.

    ??? M.

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  3. i have a chromolithogragh, pre 1900, of what appears to be a religious subject. the first thought i had was mt olympus/greek mythology but perhaps not. it is women holding hands surrounding a man in a chariot, drawn by 4 horses, on a cloud with a cherub/angel flying next to it and a woman flying leading the way in front of all, above a countryside. It appears to be french style as the original artist and the chromolitograph. Do you know any artists who did works of this nature?

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  4. I have a Chromo I believe of a union soldier titled MISSING with the artists name on left lower T over B Bising, and info would be helpful.


    Dave

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  5. I have the Chromolithograph, Correggio's Magdalena from L.Prang & Co.,1867 it is in very good condition only the paper on the back revealing the lable is torn. Can you give me an estimated value.

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  6. I have a piece of art by A B Frost.. and I'm trying to figure out what it is worth.Maybe someone could help me...

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  7. I have a picture that I think is a chromolithograph. The artist signature is either P. Holiday or C. Pholiday. I am unsure. Any ideas? It is a picture of a Dutch style thatches roofed cottage house.

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  8. Hi,
    I have an old scraps album dated 1880. It has beautiful and big chromolithographs but the glossy is weared, mayby due to the humidity. Do you know how can I restore the glossy of these old scraps?
    MANY THANKS,
    Ana

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  9. Sorry, I forgot to say my email: anafg@sapo.pt.
    Many thanks,
    Ana

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  10. I have a chromolith of the print at the very top of this page. Anyone know anything more about this one? What's it's worth?

    prwestberg@mmm.com

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  11. Here is the information on the print at the top of the blog:

    Genre scene by E. Ackerman. Washington: Chas. H. Taylor and Co, 1873. Chromolithograph by Chas. H. Crosby, Boston. 21 1/2 x 14 1/2.

    A charming scene by the Boston chromolithographer, Charles H. Crosby. This image shows an idyllic lakeside scene with a family on a lake in a row boat, led by their father effecting a Washington-like stance, approaching the grandparents watching from the shore. Other happy figures complete this wonderful picture of American Victorian life.

    It has typical "decorative" value for such a print, as explain in the blog about decorative prints.

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  12. Hi - I have 6 chromolithographs by A.B. Frost each depicting a golfer. Any idea what they might be worth?

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  13. I am not aware of Frost chromolithographs. I do know of some Frost colored golfing prints, but they are dot matrix prints (you can see small dots in the image when you look under magnification). Those prints have what we call "decorative" value.

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  14. I have a chromolithograph by True & Co. entitled Decoration Day and copyrighted in 1886. How do I clean the print and do you know what the value might be?

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    Replies
    1. February 2012
      Hi Sandra,
      I have a True & Co. chromolithograph called A Winter Scene. Do you have any info on the publishing company that you can share? jr1410@nova.edu

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  15. This print has what we call "decorative" value, meaning that it is worth what someone would pay for a print that looks like it does. It does not have any particular collectors value, but still will have some value as it is a nice print.

    You have to be very careful cleaning prints as it is easy to damage them. In general we recommend leaving it to a professional. You can use a soft-gum eraser to clean the surface (making sure not to rub the surface too hard). With a chromolithograph you can also use a very lightly damp cloth, but again make sure not to rub too hard and not to get it "wet."

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  16. I have an original chromolithograph from the book "The Night Before Christmas" with all illustrations by Margaret Evans Price. The page I have is in pretty much mint condition (no tears, stains, ect.) and it is dated 1900. It is of a little girl in front of the Christmas tree holding a doll, with her little brother next to her reading a book of toy soldiers. Underneath it says, "He was dressed in all fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot". Any information about the value of this would be greatly appreciated as I have many pieces of art and various other chromolithograph's from around the same time and before (they were recently given to me by my Grandmother who was an antique dealer for a long time). Thanks!

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  17. Chromolithographic book plates can be attractive and fun to have, but they do not as a rule have a lot of value. These prints almost always (and this includes yours) have decorative value only. That doesn't mean they are not nice (read my blog on decorative value), but they are not collector prints.

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  18. I have a Prang & Co chromo by Louis Harlow, entitled Pleasant Homes on the back, dated 1890. The chromo is hand signed by Harlow on front in pencil. Do you happen to know its value? Thank you for your time and consideration!

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  19. Please note that is is pretty unlikely that Harlow actually signed the print in pencil. Most, if not all, of his prints show his signature on the front, but these are printed. Also, an artist never signed in pencil, at least not at that time. Finally, if it is in fact a pencil signature, it is probably be someone other than Harlow himself; I have never heard of Harlow signing any of his many Prang chromolithographs.

    As to value, this print has what we call "decorative" value, as explained elsewhere in this blog.

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  20. I have a Chromolithogragh Entitled The two Angels. It is a Picture of a Black angel and a white angel and the caption at the bottom is Copyrighted 1876 by L. Prang and Co. Do you htink it is an original?

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  21. There is really no way we can tell if you have an original without seeing it in person. However, there is no reason to think it is not an original. There are lots of original Prang prints around (they issued 100s of thousands of prints), and this is not a subject I remember seeing reproduced.

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  22. I have the Barefoot Boy chromo. It looks to be in the original frame. It has the list of Prang's chromos on the back. It is in good condition. What can you tell me about it. Was it really created in like 1860?? What is the value? Thank you

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  23. You can read about the print in the blog above. With the list of the chormos on the back it would definitely be an original. This print has what we call "moderate" value.

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  24. I am in possession of a chromolithograph by H. Bucher. It was copyrighted in 1910 and printed by The Osborne Co., NY. On the matt it reads copyright 1910 H. Bucher - 03181-An Old Love Story-From Painting by H. Bucher, The Osborne Company, N.Y. I have been unable to find anything on this artist or this particular painting/chromolighograph. I was able to find some history on The Osborne Co. but nothing else. Do you know of this artist or painting? Thank you very much!

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  25. I have two beautiful little chromolithographs of children. One is of a boy with a basket of fruit spilling over, and the other of a girl with a basket, sitting beside a path. They are both signed by the artist/lthographer George E Niles, and was wondering if anyone has seen more prints by this artist, and do they have much value? Both are in excellent condition, with bright colors, and in their original frames.

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  26. We have seen other prints by this artist, all similar genre scenes to yours. These prints, like the majority of genre chormolithographs, have "decorative" value, as explained in my blog on decorative prints

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  27. i have a 10 x 14 painting...name THE SCHOOLHOUSE IN WINTER...on the left side below the painting it says..painting by george h durrie....on the back of the painting it there's a label with the following information...In Red bank it's Span Craft Studios Master of the picture framing art. Oil painting, etching,and engravings restored beautifully
    37 E. Front Street Phone 6-3995.
    What more can anyone tell me about this painting..thank you

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    Replies
    1. have you ever been to, or have connection to traverse city michigan?

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  28. i have bought 2 chromolithographs both have william stephen coleman one says pears its agirl watching goldfish the other is a girl watering flowers. Both were varnished in there frames. So they need some t,l,c any tips please thanks. Im sure there circa 1880.please contact me on gingerregie1@gmail.com

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  29. I have a painting that my mother found over 65 years ago. On the back it says genuine oilo-graph by artograph.When I try to do research , it brings me back to chromolithograph. Are they the same thing? I can't find anything anywhere on this picture and I have been trying for the last 35 years! it is of a vey old woman sitting beside a child in a small bed....please ANY info would be wonderful!

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  30. An oilograph is not the same thing as a chromolithograph. A chromolithograph is created by the process of lithography, where each colored is applied with a separate stone. An oilograph is a process (and mind you I do not know the specifics of this process, only the general idea) that uses a photograph and then applies oil based paints to an image with has been created photographically. It is, thus, a reproductive process, unless chromolithography. It was used by firms to make copies of paintings that look like the originals (and in that sense is similar to chromolithgraphy).

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  31. Does the following Barrie chromolithograph fall in the decorative art value category? It is a print of Gustave Boulanger's 'Summer Bath at Pompeii'. It says G. Boulanger fecit in the lower right corner with roman numerals denoting the year 1880. The back stamp reads G. Boulanger...Modern French School...Summer Bath at Pompeii...Paris Barrie Freres...19 Rue Scribe. The print measures 9 and 1/2 by 7 and 1/2 inches and the dot matrix is not at all clearly defined even with a 30 power loop, as in most lithographs. It is in it's original frame with a gold-leafed, pierced fretwork border. Thank you for your insight and service.

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    Replies
    1. Possibly a colloidotype Approx mid 19thc to as late as 1982 when the last colloidotype printer in England closed. I have similar images sans image info & these were likely sold in a museum shop somewhere in very fancy mats & frames but unfortunately also are glued to the mats etc. In this case mine are likely decorative value with lift for an unusual type of printing that is relatively uncommon. Very tiny organic points like little cells with nuclei. Confusing to ID the 1st time a real headscratcher if you are unfamiliar with this uncommon type of print.

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  32. I suspect that this is not a chromolithogrpah, but rather is some other sort of reproduction. Be that as it may, yes, it would have only decorative value.

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  33. I have two old prints - 1 from The Ladies Home Journal dated 1917 it of Abraham Lincoln as "The Rail-Splitter" it was painted by J.L.G. Ferris in 1833 the second is of three children one boy two girls carrying a basket of apples w/apple trees and a picker in the background the picture is titled "Heavy Load" can anyone tell me how I can find the value on these - I would like to have them framed but would like a little more info. Thank you

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  34. hello chris, i have a chromolithograph signed g. castiglione. it measures approx. 36"x24" without the frame. there are some markings on the back. first there is the number 18632E it is written in three places on the back with pencil it is also written on a sticker on the frame. there is some writting on the back of what appears to be the title. it reads the musicale which is consistant with what is in the picture. there is the name of the print maker but i cannot quite make it out. it looks like valentine or valeture. there is also what appears to be a date it looks like feb. 22/46. there is also another number on the back it appears to be 30,004 or 30/004 kind of hard to read it originally read 30,003 but then someone had put 4 on top of the three. do you think this might be the edition number. as in the 4th of 30. would i be correct in believing that this date is feb. 22/1846. what would the number 18632 be as it is on the painting and frame. perhaps some sort of catalog number. i had seen one of these sell at an online auction for around $350.00 would that be the approx. value of the piece. over time the varnish has become quite yellow would it be advisable to have the old varnished removed and revarnished or better to leave as is. it is a beatuiful painting/print and would probably look pretty sharp if it was revarnished. but the way it looks now is it has a nice warm antique glow to it. anyway i would certainly appreciate any info. you could give on this print. thank you

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  35. Everything you say about the piece makes me think that if the Feb 22/46 is a date, it is 1946 and not 1846. Stock numbers and the like that you describe on the back are marks of a modern, not old print. This is without seeing it, but my guess is that it is 20th century not 19th. As for the varnish, I would not recommend trying to remove it as you have as much chance of making it look worse as you do making it look better.

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  36. Hello Chris:
    First of all, thanks for running such an interesting blog! I enjoyed reading through it.
    I collect antique Victorian chromolithographic scraps (die-cuts), and there has been an ongoing discussion among us collectors about a mysterious publisher--LD & Co. (you can see their mark on my blog at http://mishutkadesign.typepad.com/mds/victorian-scraps-publishers-marks.html) Some European collectors suggested that it's an American publisher, as these scraps and scrap sheets mostly appear in American 19th century scrapbooks.
    Do you have any thoughts on who it might be? Or could you possibly point me to some additional resources? Thank you so much in advance!

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    1. I too have some antique victorian "zincographs" (as my grandfather called them).I do believe they were an american publisher because of the things my grandfather said about them. The two I own are of a boy and a girl each on horseback. Each picture is approx 12" tall by 13.25" inches wide. They are die cut with with a large LD & Co symbol on them. The girl is also marked with large 619 blocked numbers and the boy 618. If anyone has any further information about these please respond. hess . rebekah @ ymail . com I wish I could post pictures.

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    2. I want to add that the LD & Co is printed on a symbol that resembles a scroll laying horizontaly with wings on each upper corner and a half wheel at the top.

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  37. I wish I could help, but I cannot! Never come across that mark nor the publisher. I assume you have checked Jay Last's Color Explosion, but beyond that cannot think of a source to locate info on such an obscure mark. Sorry!

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  38. Hello,
    We have a Prang chromo of Thalstrup's "Sheridan's Ride" that has the title, 'copyright 1886', 'facsimile print' and Louis Prang Co. printed along the bottom on the front. Picked it up at an antique store because my husband is a civil war buff. Can you tell us anything else about it? Does the copyright mean it was printed in 1886, or could it be a reproduction of an earlier printing? It looks very old, but the only thng we could find out about it said there were several issues printed. And there seems to be a wide range of values. Any information you can give us on how to tell it's worth and actual age would be appreciated!
    Thank you
    Karen D

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  39. It certainly sounds like you found one of the original issues of the Prang Civil War prints. One of the ways to tell is that the originals have the print trimmed to the image and then mounted onto a backing sheet. If the printed surface has margins around it (on the same piece of paper), then it is a later issue. It also could be a reproduction, as they have been made, and to tell that you have to look at the process. There is not reason to think, however, that the print you have may not be an original issued in 1886 as these do turn up from time to time.

    In terms of value, this is really not the place to be giving values on prints, but if it is an original issue it certainly does have some good value.

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  40. You have a very informative blog on Chromolithographs which I enjoyed reading. I have an old 1899 Chromolithograph of the US NAVY CRUISER USS OLYMPIA. It is in good condition except for the area surrounding the actual lithograph (white border) which has a lot of wear. It measures about 13" by 9". The full page itself measures about 17 1/2" by 13".
    It has the signature “WERNER” on the lower left part of the print. On the lower right part of the print it says “COPYRIGHT 1899 BY THE WERNER COMPANY”
    Below in the white border surrounding the print is “THE WERNER COMPANY, AKRON. O.” “BOSTON” and “BALTIMORE” “RALEIGH” on the right side. “TORPEDO BOAT, CUSHING”
    Next line center “US NAVY – 2ND CLASS CRUISERS – 1899”
    I was wondering if this is an original and possibly its value.
    Thank you. Barbara

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  41. Hello,
    I recently bought a print in a very old frame. It is the Sheridan's ride by T. Buchanon Read. The print appears to be on a large piece of linen or canvas. It does appear to be a print as I do not see any original brush marks.
    Were prints put on canvas or linens? Also how old would it be if thats the case. I'm trying to figure out how old it is. The value would be nice also. I'm having trouble finding info on original prints of this piece of art.
    Thanks,Keith

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  42. Chromolithographs were often printed on linen and the put on stretchers, but that is also something they do with more modern prints, so that doesn't tell you anything. I have never seen a "period" chromolithograph of Read's image of Sheridan, so my guess is your print is 20th century, but there could be a 19th century print which I am just not aware of. Not really an answer, sorry...

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  43. Mr. Lane: I have a lithograph,a chromolithograph, or none of the above with the name Stop the Grey! identified from left to right with these words: George Wright, pinoc? (lettering too small for me to read) and E.W.Savory Ltd,Bristol
    Matted and framed by Lawrence Unlimitted. I've learned something about the last mentioned two but only found a George Wright, Maryland artist. Could he be the artist? Any guide you can give will be very much appreciated by this old lady.

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  44. I have a picture (landscape) on board that has the name E Lamasure in left corner. Slightly above that in very small, white writing it says: copyright 1906 by Luis Prang Art Co. I am not positive about the spelling of Luis; even using a magnifying glass it is difficult to see the letters clearly. I have been unable to obtain any information specific to my picture. Any suggestions you may have to help me identify a title and if this is a chromolithograph would be appreciated.

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  45. I am looking for an outlet to sell two Artograph editions (one Renoir, one Monet, last appraised at$2500 @). Must sell. Any ideas where to start?

    gerrysartinspirations@netzero.net

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  46. I have an antique print of Charles Barton Barbor's "The New Whip" that came from my grandfather's home. I recently took it to a framer to have it remounted on acid free matte and backing to try to preserve it. The framer feels that the print is over 100 years old but could not tell me what kind of print it is. He checked it with a loupe and said he had never seen anything like it. The colors are very vibrant still and it appears to have a shellacked or waxy finish on it. Could this be a chromolithograph? There are no markings on the print other than a name at the bottom which says "The Young Hunter" which is not the name of the painting. Also in the lower right hand corner it says "copywrite" but the year is missing. Any insights?

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  47. Wonderful information
    Thank you so much, I have several, what I now believe, are chromos. The first one is huge and on very thick cardstock, it looks historical,men and women in,what I think, 18th century period costumes highly detailed, and rich oil painting like quality. The men have plumed helmets swords, an elaborate room setting, more like a castle, all mingling around dinner table, colors are mainly rich brown,deep red that stands out, blue deep, green.In looking at the surface it resembles wrinkled skin,with small indentations. I bought at auction, along with other things, it was incredibly dusty. So I finally took plain alcohol and took a deep breath, it cleaned up immediately,breathtaking. The cleaning did nothing but enhance my painting. Is this a sign that it is a chromolithograph.Size is 36x26 in. The other ones are 6 Miniatures that have the name G. Taubert Dresden Kunsthandlung on the back. My aunt in Germany has had these forever, before her her Father in law,tiny works of art.Did G. Taubert, there are 2 dots above the a in his name, ever do miniature castle or landscape settings, and then chromos? Sorry to be so windy, I never blogged before, will start.This is all great read and info

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  48. Sounds like these may very well be chromolithographs. There were lots of European chromos made at the end of the 19th century. They could be a later type of printing--you should look for the dots indicating a dot matrix print--but they do sound like chromos.

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  49. I recently purchased a Palmer Cox Brownie Year Book, published by 1895 by McLoughlin Bros, NY. The binding is in good shape, but the cover had something stuck to it. The chromolithograph pages are beautiful, but I'm not an expert in rating such things. I am guessing that the best thing to do is break up the book and frame the individual prints with respective poem for each month of the year. There are 12 total. Curious about thoughts on this idea and any particular type of framing or matting that should be used in doing so.

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  50. I don't know if that is the "best" thing to do (you can read my recent blog on breaking books), but given what you say and given the fact that this is not that rare a book, there is no reason not to do that. As for framing and matting, that is purely a matter of personal taste as long as you do "museum quality" framing (again, you can find a blog on this topic).

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  51. I am looking for a chromolithograph entitled "Trusty Guardian." It is a print of a sleeping child in red being watched over by a big black dog.

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  52. Can you tell me who T. Crane is and where I can find information on him and his artwork? Thanks so much.

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  53. This not an artist we are familiar with. That, of course, is not unusual as there are hundreds of artists who made prints about whom we know nothing. In general, the best place to look for information on an artist is not the internet but in a library. There are a number of books on artists which a good library is likely to have, but the information for which is not on the web. I'd visit a library with a good art department (city library or university library).

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  54. I have 2 very large canvas chromos that were supposedly brought over from Germany by my Great Grandfather . I was told they were beer posters . ! has a baby playing near steps with puppies..this one has a harder surface...the other is a very fashionable lady with a parasol . I am guessing these to be mid 1800's..any one have any knowledge of items like these ?

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  55. Chromolithography was often used in advertising in Europe, so there is no reason not to think that is what these are. However, if they are advertising, they will have an identifiable object from the company doing the advertising (such as a stein or beer bottle with the name of the brewer). If there is no such "advertising" object, then they are likely simply decorative prints produced so they could be framed and hung in the home.

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  56. I found a chromolithograph by CM Relyea #739 made in USA called Down on the Farm. Can u tell me anything about this lithograph. I have had the litho preserved by a conservation framer as it was from my grandfather and it is part of my family history. I would like to know smoothing about it's history and it's value. I was told by the conservation framer he considered it to be in pristine condition. Thanks

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    1. I have a chromolithograph by CM Relyea #4868 made in USA called "Mother Of Mine". I would like to know about the illustration, date done value etc. Plus cost of preserving. Condition is excellent.

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  57. Any print with a number like that ("#739") and "Made in the USA" is from the 20th century. That means two things. First, it is likely not a chromolithograph, but instead another printing process (though not necessarily) and secondly, it will have only "decorative" value.

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  58. I have print I purchased yrs ago, it is of a sutter dog with a pheasant in its mouth. Looking closer on the back of the cedar backing it reads Alexander Pope print 76yrs old bought 1979, this sparked my interest so I removed the cedar backing to look at print, it is signed by Alexander Pope and in really small writing I think it is written GHT 1901 color type co. Is this a chromolithograph? Does it have any value?

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  59. If the print was done in 1901 by the "color type co." then it is likely not a chromolithograph. If you look under magnification, you'll probably see little dots of color, which would mean it is a photomechanical reproduction. I would have "decorative" value.

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  60. I have a Chromolithogragh Entitled AUTUMN A.T.Bricher 117 WITH THE PRANG's American Chromos list dated May 1, 1869 I would like to know its value. Thank you DarlaB

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  61. I have two chromolithographs title "How Rome Was" and "How Rome is today" by Arthur Asterle, at work can't remember. They are beautiful and interesting. My question, How rare are these? I can't seem to find to much info on them.

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  62. I have a chromolithograph on canvas of "The Barefoot Boy" by Eastman Johnson. Is it of value?

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  63. I have a Taber prang co. copyright 1909 I cant read the artist name it looks like Rrimbenfrivnj.It has a victorian woman sitting playin a piano with a man sitting behind her.They are in a house with windows and there is sheet music on the floor.Can someone help me identify the name of the print or artist.

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  64. I have just acquired a Prang's American Chromo titled Flowers of Hope after M J Heade.
    It has a 69 after M J Heade on the front right corner. It is in a carved wooden frame. Is it of any value other than to just enjoy its beauty?

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  65. i have recently found an old family bible and the illustrations are all chromolithographs i dont know much about either, the bible was given to my great uncle for his christening in 1923 but i think was published in late 1800's

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  66. I have a chromolitograph that I recently bouth at an antique store...they didn't have much information on it and they didn't know the old lady in the picture is Rembrandt's mother...It's framed with a mark on the back that says Elizabeth Joy Gallery,Harlech, Merionethshire. I would appreciate any info you can give me on this one, I have no idea how much is worth or where it could have come from...thank you. Emilia

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  67. Hi Chris,
    Is there difference between a chromolithograph and a colored lithograph? Why is that some lithos have an uneven "stoney" quality when viewed under a loop and others have a uniform dot matrix? What's the difference? Are prints that have a uniform dot formation less valuable?

    thanks!!!

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    1. "Colored lithograph" is not a technical term so it can mean many things. A chromolithgraph is a print where each color is printed from a separate stone. A colored lithograph can be one that was hand colored, or perhaps by stencil.

      If you see a dot matrix pattern, that is not a lithograph. It is a photographically made reproduction.

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  68. Does anyone know the value of a: 1st EDITION CHROMOLITHOGRAPH by CARL WERNER titled:
    "TEMPLE of VAN MEDINET, THEBES" 1874? I purchased this in London about 20 years ago. The size is approx 12x16. I've attempted to contact Church St. Galleries in London, but they've not returned my several queries despite the fact that I purchased it there. My original price back then was 245 Pounds which, at that time, was perhaps $450 or so.
    I know that there are reproductions out there for $25 at this time, but this IS said to be an original 1st edition.
    THANK YOU!

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  69. Great blog .. and information. I just 'found' two (likely) chromolithographs under botanical images in some 1800's frames. Both are of young girls (or possibly boys) with a daisy necklace and the other sleeping (or dead) with eyes closed holding flowers. Stamped along the bottom it says, 'Presented to Subscribers of the Christian Union' and mounted on stiff (card) board. I'm assuming these were mass produced. Any info is appreciated. (here's a site with similar pictures as mine .. mine have much better color) http://www.artmagick.com/forum/thread.aspx?id=12252. Thx

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    1. There really isn't much information to provide above the general information on chromos in the blog. These prints were newspaper bonus prints; that is, they were given to subscribers of a newspaper as a bonus. This was a fairly common thing in the 19th century.

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  70. Hello!
    Any info on the artist W Howell (I believe Wilson Howell) regarding chromolithographs? I have 2 of his watercolors & came across what I believe to be a chromolitho of a landscape with a copyright of 1908 that also has some hand embellishment applied.

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  71. Hi There! I have two Chromolithograph prints framed by New York framing company in early 1900s. The theme of the prints are late 1700s dressed people having a picninc and they are dancing in the other. They are a matching set, poster size. They also have a scrollwork/filigree type border outlining the print. I cant find any information or any photos that resemble these.
    Also, where is the printing info typiclally located? (front, back, bottom corner?). The print is secured in the frame by nails. Should I try and take it out?

    Thank you for any help!

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  72. I have one of the 1862/3 chromolithographs by Vincent Brooks of the Lumley portrait of Shakespeare. The frame seems original. I would love to know whether it is at all rare or collectable, I can find many references to it as it seemed to fool a few people in it's time! Many thanks

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  73. Have you heard of Taber Prang chromolithographs from early 1900's featuring african americans in a quartet and a wedding? I've searched the internet and can't find any reference to Taber Prang prints of this kind.

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  74. Hi, I have a print from 1891 from L Prang and co. by the artist A F Jaitana (looks more like Jaita N.A.) best that I can tell. Below the artist name looks to be Dy or possibly Dg.
    The picture is of a hen looking at a dog with her chicks, the background is of a grey buiding. (not to be confused with the hen and dog with the background being of an outdoor scenery) I do however; wonder if my print is part of the same series "Mothers care" Boston Library showed the series with two of the same picture, I wonder if they are missing one in the series or if it was simply an error on webpage. Unfortunatly, my print appears to be between two mats that are sealed together; no telling if there is title on back of print. Any knowledge on artist or series would be appretiated, thanks in advance.

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    1. The artist of these prints is A.F. Tait, who was one of the better artists who worked for Prang. I am not aware of Prang doing any sort of series like you suggest, but Tait did do a number of "cute" animal prints for the firm.

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  75. I have been searching for years for what my mother remembers as a litho she was told is titled "BLACK BEAUTY". It depicts a victorian girl with wavy black hair and her black horse with a garland of flowers around them both. Do you know of such a painting or print? She is 80 yrs now and remembers it from her parents home as a young girl. We'd like to locate it for her birthday

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    1. This does sound familiar, but I have no idea where you would find one, assuming you have checked the internet. There are so many prints that there is no easy way to find one in particular unless it is either common or you get lucky. Good luck and sorry we cannot help.

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  76. I have a chromolithograph by James Fuller Queen. It is over muslin and on a stretcher and in a large wooden frame. The size is approximately 24" by 30" and it is signed in pencil in the lower right hand corner by James Fuller Queen. The number is not completely visible so I can not read it. The print shows U. S. President George Washington presiding over a meeting of the Lodge of the Alexandria, Virginia Masonic Lodge. Everything appears as the online pictures of the reproductions except the candle sticks are reversed. Instead of 2 on the right and 1 on the left, there are 2 on the left and 1 on the right. The print is generally in good shape with the exception of a few small tears in the surface. What can you tell me about this? Does it have any value? It was purchased at auction from the Catawissa Masonic lodge in Pa. and had been stored in their attic for some time.

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  77. Hello I possess a chromolithograph of "The Capture of Batoche" and have a couple of questions.
    1) can it be cleaned (marks from touch glass in frame)
    2) would you have an estimate of its value

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    1. Most things can be restored, though without knowing more about the issue I cannot say for sure. And, as I have said a number of times in this blog, this blog is not a place for valuations.

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  78. Hello,
    I recently purchased what I believe to be a chromolithograph of "Embarrassment" by E. Percy Moran 93. It is colored overall with what appears to be brushed on white highlights that enhance the snow and other white objects in the image. It is very large, over 30" matted and covered with glass in a very large and heavy gold leaf ornate frame. The base image is not dots but hazy faint lines. What can you tell me about this work?

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  79. Hi...I have what I thank is a Chromolithograph of a John Singer Sargent watercolor called Boats at Anchor done in 1917..The Worchester art Museum has it..and I have talked with them about reproductions and have been told that it only give permission to reproduce it for articals and books..the last time it was asked to be used for anything other than that was in the 1951 and was turned down..so it was something that was done in the 30,s or 40,s...it,s 18" x 13 1/2"..its real hard to see any thing on it with a 10 power loop..i can see fine specks not dots in the paint..it does have a small peace of paper on the back of the frame thats signed in pencil Sargent Boats at Anchor..do you have any idea what artist could have done a Chromolithograph of that quality during that time.

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    1. This is almost definitely not a chromolithograph, but some sort of reproduction (there were lots of other forms of this other than dot matrix). It was probably done in the 1920s or 30s and there would be no artist involved, just a print publisher.

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    2. I see where Louis Prang and Timothy Cole had some dealing with Sargent works. But it is not signed anywhere...in the margin there is a number 4553VB..I didn't know if maybe that was like number 45 of 53 prints or some kind of catalog number..that's in the center of the margin in pencil...to the far right in the margin it has a number -6. Not sure what that would mean. If it was a publisher from the 20, or 30,s wouldn't it have a stamp or name...or where most of them unsigned. I have had some gallery's look at it and there not sure what it is.

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  80. I have a Henri Cassiers piece that was sold to me as a watercolor. On further inspection, I'm having issues determining if it is a watercolor or chromolithograph without higher magnification. The other thing that is throwing me off is that it is on heavy watercolor paper, so dotting is further obscured if they are there. Also, I found another example of a litho at auction that has more color in the right corner (to simulate what appears to be a sunset) than what I have. So my questions are: Did they print chromolithographs on watercolor paper? Did they ever change lithos from one print to the next or was that something that changed between the original and the litho? Were chromolithos ever done from originals? This is the litho that I found online: http://www.antiquehelper.com/item/303944
    Thank you!

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    1. Unfortunately, I cannot really be of much help. Note that there are lots of different types of reproductions of prints besides chromolithographs, so yours might be one of those. In general, actual chromolithographs were not done on watercolor paper. The color on chromolithographs, and any other type of reproduction, can be different simply because of age issues (fading etc). Really, in the end it comes down to process. You need to have someone look at it who can tell a watercolor from some other sort of print.

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  81. Chris, What can you tell me about a Prang's American Chromos. A. Friend In Need by After Schlesinger.On the back cardboard there is price list of Chromos dated May 6th 1869. This one went for a whopping $6.00

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    1. There is really nothing to say about this that you cannot say about any Prang chromolithograph. It is by a European artist and the image is European rather than American, so that does show that Prang was aiming not only at an "Americana" audience, but also recent immigrants and their fondness for the old lands.

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  82. Thank you very much! I'm just looking for an information about chromolithographs and this was very useful!

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  83. I have an old print apparently from France pre 1900 at the bottom it says Lith de Pr. Wentzel A Wissembourg and also Le Convoi Funebre de chasseur. Cannot read but looks like En Tigers Langtog. Can anyone help me with this one?

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    1. This is a lithograph (probably not a chromolithograph) by Pr. Wentzel who was in Wissembourg, France (may have been part of Germany at the time the print was made). The title is something like 'Funeral of the Hunter." Do not know what the last three words mean...

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  84. I have what I believe to be a chromo-lithograph, or oil chromo, "Winter Sunday in New England" On the left hand bottom corner it says "Strobridge & Co Chromo, CIN O" On the bottom right hand side, it says "Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1874 by Strobridge & Co. in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington." The back is stamped, "The American and European Chromo Publishing Company. Have on exhibition at their Picture Gallery over a million of the most elegant and costly Oil Chromos. They are all of large size, and embrace some of the most magnificent works of art ever produced, in Europe or America. They are good, and most of them better than the one you now... (this part is not legible). For a complete list and full description of all the chromos, see advertisement in the "HOME CIRCLE" the best illustrated family weekly paper in the United States, which paper, by the way, no home should be without. We will send you the "HOME CIRCLE" with the list of chromos on receipt of a stamp for return postage. Address F. GLEASON & CO. 738 Washington Street, Boston, Mass."

    I saw earlier up in the thread you mentioned margins. There is one very small margin (or what looks like one) at the bottom of the print, and the print itself looks and feels like an oil painting on canvas. The edges are somewhat brittle and there are obvious signs of aging. The only other one I can find identical to this is on the Library of Congress web site. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/pga.04177/

    Any information you can give me about this would be most helpful and appreciated!

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    1. Not really sure what more information you are looking for. If you read the blog above, you'll see why such prints were made and that many of these were by staff artists. Yours is a typical decorative chromolithograph. It is by the Strobridge firm, which was one of the largest chromo publishers of the late 19th century. As for the margins, chromos generally did not have margins as they were supposed to look like oil paintings, which did not have margins.

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    2. Chris, thank you very much for your response. I really do appreciate your time. After further inspection with a magnifying glass at the bottom of the print, I don't believe that it is a margin at all. It is a very thin and inconsistent line and on the right hand bottom corner it is actually blended in somewhat with the snow scene in this print. Also, there is what looks like are supposed to be blades of grass or small shrubs sticking out of the snow at the bottom and there are places where they (the blades or grass) extend down into what I thought was a thin margin. To the touch, this feels somewhat textured and shiny, and to me has the look and feel of an oil painting. Also, I felt it was possibly an oil chromo, due to the blurb that was on the back where it talks about oil chromos and says "like the one you now...." then it is not legible. Perhaps I have read wrong, but was under the assumption there was a difference between oil chromos and chromolithographs and was trying to determine which I had. Also it is in what is possibly the original frame, which was in a bit of disrepair (coming apart) on the corners, when I received it. The frame has several coats of paint on it (which is crazed and chipped in places) and there were two pieces of then wood used for the backing. The wood pieces don't completely come together and there is actually a dark line down the middle of the print where the space between the pieces of wood are. As well, there are dark places on the back of the print matching the dark spots on the pieces of wood. Needless to say, it looks like it has been in this same frame for a very long time. I carefully took everything apart and there was paint on the glass in places, giving indication it was painted while in the wood frame. The one I found like it on the LOC website does look like it has a clear margin all the way around. Mine does not. I have learned there is a lady locally who deals in antique art. I will try and take it to her for a hands on look. Thank you so much again!

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  85. Hi, I'm a UK based general collector who has in recent times been drawn to chromos. I have some large chromos of quite well known pictures by Edwin Landseer (Shoeing the Bay Mare) and Arthur Lomax (Tale of a Fox), neither of which are signed or titled. However recently I acquired a much smaller picture/chromo which has the signature 'I.Hanzell' and the date 1871. Isaac Hanzell is a succesful 19th century English artist known for oil paintings of fisherfolk and the like - My question then is this. Is this a chromo after one of Hanzell's oil on canvas artworks by another hand OR given the signature a chromo by him? I can't find any record of this picture anywhere or of any other chrom of his work or by him?
    chris.downs@hotmail.com

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    1. I know of no chromolithograph where the print itself was done by the artist whose work it shows. It was always a trained lithographic craftsman who would copy a painting by another artist.

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  86. I have an image of a Native American Indian painting a buffalo hide, with his son watching, an evening scene.
    There is a blue line around it, and 'Copyright 1901 The Osborn Co NY' written on the lower edge. Please say if this is likely to be an original print. Thank you.

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    1. Yes, it does sound likely to be a print from 1901. I suspect it is a dot matrix print rather than a chromolithograph, however, which you can tell by looking at it under at least 8x magnification. If you see dots of colors, then you know it is a dot matrix print.

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  87. Hello.
    I have a print that is framed with 4" quarter sawed oak and titled in carved wood A Peace Pipe. Copywright 1902, Taber Prang Art Co. Please let me know what I have here.

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    1. You have a typical Taber Prang decorative chromolithograph. They did a lot of similar images and they were quite popular.

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  88. I have 2 chromolithographs from Dolmetsch "The Historic Style of Ornament" l887. Are these worth anything in today's market please?

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  89. Hi, I have a chromo-lithogragh that is of a woman holding a small child, standing on a stone sea wall. The child is waving. There is also a smallblack dog at their feet. On the back is a label that reads "The Departure" "Chromo-lithograph of Brett & Fairchild" 116 Fulton St. N.Y.
    It is 7 1/4 x 9 1/2 and seems to be a textured material affixed to some type of hard board but i don't think its wood.
    If you can tell me anything about this and if it is of any value I would sure like to know. Thanks

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