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Thread: Tints around The Tower

  1. #1
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA

    Question Tints around The Tower

    In concert with the November 2010 Castle Challenge, I have an offering and a question.

    The offering is a selection of maps including the Tower of London - a dozen and a half of them, most nineteenth-century. You'll have to work a bit; since some of these are copyrighted I don't want to post excerpts. Bring them up in a colection of browser tabs so you can bounce back and forth between them. Fun stuff.
    open the 1802 Fairburn "London and Westminster"
    and the 1831 Cruchley, "New Plan of London"
    and scroll both down to The Tower

    open the 1853 Cross, "Cross's New Plan Of London"
    and the 1844 Wyld, "New Plan of London"
    and scroll both down to The Tower

    open the 1822 Carey, "New Pocket Plan of London Westminster and Southwark"
    and the 1864 Wyld, "New Map of London"
    and scroll both down to The Tower

    Don't give me that "faded colors on old maps" bit. 150 years old and that ain't red, it's VERMILLION.

    and as a onesie from the same collection,
    1882 Reynolds', "London and its Suburbs"

    and again from the same collection, the only modern version here, a nice A-Z atlas style
    (go nuts with colors, shall we?)


    (second map on the page)
    (reference to reply to complaints about illegible fonts in tiny sizes!)
    (navigate up one arrow, left one arrow for The Tower - I wanted this bit for the tinting: look at the blotches on the creek or canal or whatnot at the south bank.) (The Tower proper, at bottom right) (next panel East - even more blotchy tinting)

    Getting a clue what my question is about? Keep going...,-Ports-&-
    (you'll have to zoom in with the slider - The Tower is just west of dead center)

    Go here
    then click the detail mentioned by the fourth map, like so:

    OK - doesn't that stock-images.antiqueprints one look like exactly the same engraving as the one? Yet one's a page from an atlas and one is a wall map.

    I saved this stock-images.antiqueprints one for last, for its delightfully blobby hand-tinting of lines.

    Here's the question. When a map was hand-tinted like so many of these, was the tinting done by hand on *each and every copy*, or was it done once and then reproduced by color printing? Or were both done in different circumstances? What manner of pen or brush would they have used? On the "1831 Cruchley" one on the site, the red district or ward boundary looks like a felt-tip pen, same width from any angle... do you do that with something like a Speedball B nib?

    Look at the one. That circle is distinctly wiggly. The gardenhamlets...thamlets07a one though has the crisp uniformity of printing... not to mention which the matching red typeset overprinted letter...

    For those like me, easily amused, note (Trinity) Square to the NE of The Tower, a prominent *Oval*. Yeah, yeah, the space is square (ish). The green center labeled "square" isn't :-). Suddenly I feel free to name a railroad station "the dockyards" and an historic well "the light-tower"...

    Anyway - enjoy the neat old styles, and the variety of views on the theme of "The Tower".

  2. #2
    Guild Journeyer
    Join Date
    May 2008
    PEI, Canada


    Looks like multi-press/pass printing to me. A method still used today. There would be multiple 'plates' or similar that would have ink applied, and you printed over each colour one at a time. This is why you sometimes see the colour not perfectly lining up with the lines: Either someone was a little off on the plate, was off on setting the plate/paper during printing, or both.

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