Item #1091 MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS
MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS

MONOGRAM & CREST ALBUM with ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS and DRAWINGS

Item #1091

Portrait orientation, 9 13/16” x 11 13/16”. 88 leaves/176 pages, cream paper. The first five leaves, and the last twenty-five, are blank. Fifty pages are used for art. The pages are intact, neither torn nor chipped, though a few are nearly detached and there is some foxing. It also appears that there must have been an onion skin covering on each page, as almost all of the pages have a horizontal mark along the top edge of the page. The album has been treated gently because of the delicate artwork within but the cover is heavily worn and spotted. Partial seam split along the middle of the rear spine.

The cover features, in Gothic script, the letters L-T-L stamped in gold; this is heavily worn. Inside we find fifty-five designs, hand-drawn and hand-colored, overlaid with crest appliqués. Some of the designs are of astonishing geometric complexity. No date or clear signature is attached to any, but a few tantalizing clues crop up: one pictorial design, of a belt-and-buckle around a crown, is captioned “Landford House, Wilts.” This is a Grade-II listed manor house in Wiltshire, which belonged to the Nelson family (of Trafalgar renown) in the 19th century and which underwent additive construction in the 1880s. Was this then copied from a design found in that home - or was it a preparatory sketch, for a commission to decorate the house? The crests which adorn the design do adhere to a naval theme.

Two other pictorial images are cryptically signed with a K - or more likely a combined HC - and the number 73, giving us our only chronological hint. Interestingly enough, the second reveals the clear influence of John Tenniel, whose illustrations for the recently-published Alice books had helped make them best-sellers.

One of the final designs is in fact personally crested - with an elaborate MB. Apparently the artist lent the album to friends for their amusement and inspired adornment, so while the bulk of the design belonged to the L.T. L. of the cover, the album as a whole reveals the work of several hands.

Some pages contain crests with all elaborate monograms; others’ are strictly pictorial. Most pages are of some combination, often with the Latin phrases so favored by nobility (“Mal Y Pense..”, anyone?). One is military in theme, the crests emblazoned with regimental titles (Twentieth Hussars, Royal Longford Rifles, &c.). Another design features star-shapes overlaid like a medal for military valor.

Several of the designs are quite whimsical - one, illustrated as a croquet court and bordered with flowers, presents the crests within the evenly-spaced wickets, with pairs of mallets in each corner. The next takes the form of a folding pink fan, the crests upon which are topped with little crowns. Yet another arrays the colorful crests as flowers in a bouquet; or stained-glass designs in a church window; or miniature illustrations of a medieval manuscript. The challenge the artist clearly set was to outdo himself both in technical terms of design complexity and in cleverness of crest context.

Two are particularly cartoonish: in the one, we see a clown-like character ignoring the prominent “Stick No Bills” sign and posting upon a fence an announcement for an “Exhibition of Crests” - the poster features many crests, of course; the exhibition is to take place on Tuesday, February 32nd. The other shows a royal henchmen, in top hat and tails, his nose raised from the stench, wheeling a barrow of overflowing crests to be discarded - evidently the houses they represent are inferior to the station of his masters.

We will not describe every permutation, so as to leave a few surprises for the curious. The draftsmanship is exceptional, and the hand-tinting accomplished. The painstaking attention to every detail announces itself, and the colors still leap off the page. This was clearly carried by an experienced journeyman in the field of design. One who is experienced with blazing and heraldry would very likely find much to interpret here.

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