Thank You @covers ! Original Engravings of Confederate Generals

lelliott19

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THANK YOU SO MUCH @covers
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We have absolutely the kindest and most thoughtful members here at CivilWarTalk! A couple of weeks ago, new member @covers posted an 1863 letter. I assisted him with an ID of the man it was addressed to. We chatted a bit via PM and I mentioned my work on Wofford's brigade commanded by William Tatum Wofford. I mentioned that Howell Cobb was the original Colonel of the 16th Georgia and that Wofford's brigade was later in Joseph B Kershaw's division. Today, FedEx delivered a flat package to my house. Inside were five original engravings! I've done some research and believe that all five were executed by Charles B. Hall of New York, in preparation for his limited edition book General's of the Confederate States Army 1861-1865. Presented to the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York by Charles B. Hall published in 1898.

Inside the envelope were original engravings of the following Confederate Generals:
  • William Tatum Wofford
  • James Conner
  • Howell Cobb
  • Joseph Brevard Kershaw
  • William Wing Loring
I've never seen ANY of these engravings before. I imagine only a handful of them were made. There are other images of some of these men out there - but I've NEVER seen any as clear and crisp as these! There's only one image that I know of William T Wofford and its a faded copy of a CDV with little detail. The engraving is AMAZINGLY detailed and clear. Same with James Conner. The Kershaw engraving is equally as detailed --- you can see his eyelashes. I can't even begin to thank @covers enough. Such an amazing and generous gift. Thank you so much @covers
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Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
paris_photo_album_1860.jpg
You have a real treasure trove. These images were designed to fit into a book. The pages were a slip page with an oval opening for the image. The one in my wife's family is elaborately bound. The individual pages have gold leaf embossing. I am not sure how the images were marketed. Sometimes they were issused in editions by subscription. This isn't my field of study, but I do know that there was a set size of card with the image centered to match the window in albums. I have seen examples of those albums during trips to antique stores with my wife, so you could conserve them in an original manner. That would be cool.​
 
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Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
ENGR6.GIF
In response to a PM, the images in this thread are engravings. That means that a steel plate was cut by engraving tools; ink was spread onto the plate; the plate was wiped to leave ink in the grooves cut by the engraver & then it is printed.
Woodblock lines.jpeg

The fine vertical lines are joints in the end grain woodblock.​

The same method was used to produce the images in Leslie's Illustrated Magazine & Harper's. Those images were engraved on end grain wood blocks. If you look carefully on the larger format images, the butcher block pattern of the end grain hardwood is clearly visible.

wood engraving tools.jpeg

A modern day wood engraver's tools & tool roll. Steel & copper engraving tools are very similar​


In the engraving above, a engraver is working on a plate. Up until the 1820's copper was the material used, after that a 'steel' plate was used. An indication that the image is an engraving as opposed to a lithograph are the thin straight lines like those in the work table above. Engravers had a rack of tools with various cutting edges used to create desired effects.

engraving.jpeg

The engraved plate is a flopped image, left to right. In the image above, the engraver is looking at a mirror to copy a flopped image of the original on the easel. The Becker Collection, online, has a slide feature that blends from the original drawing to the woodblock etching published in Leslie's. In this example lifted from the examples at the head of this thread, the individual lines that make up the image are clearly visible in the background & uniform coat. The lines that model the face, in contrast, are very fine.

Another way to make this kind of print, which is called entaglio, is to paint a layer over the plate. The image is scratched trough & the the plate is put into a bath of acid. Etchings of that sort are printed in the same way as engraved plates. Typically, the lines on acid etched images are not as fine as those in woodblock or metal hand engraved plates. Both methods have been used for hundreds of years.
 
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Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
THANK YOU SO MUCH @covers
View attachment 378907
We have absolutely the kindest and most thoughtful members here at CivilWarTalk! A couple of weeks ago, new member @covers posted an 1863 letter. I assisted him with an ID of the man it was addressed to. We chatted a bit via PM and I mentioned my work on Wofford's brigade commanded by William Tatum Wofford. I mentioned that Howell Cobb was the original Colonel of the 16th Georgia and that Wofford's brigade was later in Joseph B Kershaw's division. Today, FedEx delivered a flat package to my house. Inside were five original engravings! I've done some research and believe that all five were executed by Charles B. Hall of New York, in preparation for his limited edition book General's of the Confederate States Army 1861-1865. Presented to the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York by Charles B. Hall published in 1898.

Inside the envelope were original engravings of the following Confederate Generals:
  • William Tatum Wofford
  • James Conner
  • Howell Cobb
  • Joseph Brevard Kershaw
  • William Wing Loring
I've never seen ANY of these engravings before. I imagine only a handful of them were made. There are other images of some of these men out there - but I've NEVER seen any as clear and crisp as these! There's only one image that I know of William T Wofford and its a faded copy of a CDV with little detail. The engraving is AMAZINGLY detailed and clear. Same with James Conner. The Kershaw engraving is equally as detailed --- you can see his eyelashes. I can't even begin to thank @covers enough. Such an amazing and generous gift. Thank you so much @covers
View attachment 378911
The best part of this story wasn’t told.......The gift went to a most deserving person!
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Laura, I swear you could charm the stripes from a coon! Not much a Southern Belle can't do with a smile and a catch in her throat! :rofl:
Regards
David

I've asked her to call me at night and read me a bedtime story! I'm trying to learn from the Master but I doubt I'll ever be able to change my Down East accent! :rolleyes: which isn't particularly known for charming birds off trees!
 

NH Civil War Gal

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She is a good role model for those who want develop that Southern Belle charm. Many are not aware of the steel fist in the velvet glove! 😂
Regards
David
Here's the thing - when I'm in London, everyone asks me if I'm from Canada and when I've been in New Orleans, they ask me if I'm from England :giggle:.

I try to take my lessons from Laura!
 

lelliott19

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I've asked her to call me at night and read me a bedtime story! I'm trying to learn from the Master but I doubt I'll ever be able to change my Down East accent! :rolleyes: which isn't particularly known for charming birds off trees!
Tina I think your "Down East" accent is awesome! No need to learn from anyone. You do just fine in the "charm" category!
 
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