Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Missing Frontispiece

No, this is not a post about Shel Silverstein's book.

Yesterday I went to Suzzalo Library where a librarian from the Maps collection helped me re-scan the over-sized woodcut images for my chapter to be published in a forthcoming collection about material life in the British Empire. To accomplish this task, I had the same bound copy of The Graphic 1869 (an illustrated weekly newspaper) brought out from the Auxiliary Stacks that I had used when I originally wrote the essay about four years ago.

I discovered that the frontispiece to the volume is gone. Where did it go? Was it stolen? Destroyed? Who would do such a thing? Here is what it looked like:

It's beautiful, isn't it? It's a woodcut reproduction of Edouard Richter's "Odalisque." Richter was a French painter of the Orientalist school of art. My essay discusses the figure of the Odalisque in relation to the Angel of the House (linked to one another through a breath mint, of all things--that's what my essay is really about, Victorian Altoids). Anyway, thank God for digital reproduction. A mysteriously missing frontispiece: that's what I get for dithering with ephemera.