Unrecorded Le Blond prints - International Exhibition 1862
Over the years I have purchased a number of bulk items of certain prints, mainly Le Blond or Le Blond Baxters. I have always presumed that these batches of identical items, upwards of 150 prints of some subjects, link directly back to Mockler’s auction sale in May 1896. Mockler was forced to sell his entire collection, hundreds of thousands of items, many of which he had purchased from Abraham Le Blond in June 1893 which included all Le Blond’s printing plates. A typical lot was Lot 559 which was described as 7 dozen Hop Picker, 6 dozen Christmas Time, 12 dozen The Rose, 6 dozen See Saw, 6 dozen Short Change. Many lots also included multiple copies of Baxter’s productions (not reprinted by Le Blond) as Mockler had also purchased large quantities of his prints but it is safe to say that most would have probably been Le Blond or Le Blond Baxters.
The great benefit to me of having some of these bulk items is that you can sometimes notice details that you would never have seen if it had been just a single print.
Recently, I purchased another batch of bulk prints, this time Le Blond’s International Exhibition of 1862 – LB 94. Many of them still had the full borders and I noticed that on some the cutting guide line ran down the left hand side of the print and on others the right. This could only mean two things, there was a line down each side and they had been trimmed on one side or, there was only one cutting line and there were two prints on the plate, each facing in the opposite direction.
Other similar full LB sheets such as Ramsgate and Brighton or Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and Crystal Palace have exactly the same format with only one cutting line.
This was confirmed as, on some examples, the registration holes were still visible at the bottom with the cutting lines being on opposite sides proving the layout of the two prints on the one sheet.
A reconstructed sheet showing the cutting guide line down one side and the registration holes either end confirming how the sheet was original laid out on the printing plate.
So there are actually two copies of ‘identical’ prints on the full plate. As, a number of years ago, I had discovered differences in ‘identical’ prints on the same plate in Le Blond’s Crystal Palace Sydenham, which can be read about here my thoughts went straight to, not are there any differences but what differences are there, knowing how these were produced there just had to be some but would they be dramatic enough to notice?
The 2nd example on the plate would have been copied by hand and been engraved, most probably, using an impression taken from the first engraving. So in theory the 2nd copy would be different in most aspects but only the skill of the engraver meant that the hand copied 2nd engraving was near identical to the first, apart from a few aspects!
A few minutes later I had managed to confirm that there are differences within the prints with additional figures in at least three places and other minor discrepancies in the engravers hand. Enough, I feel, to again treat these as two distinct versions of the same print.
One difference is near the centre of the print, in front of the building there are a group of people. Comparing the two versions you will see a group of six people which all vary slightly in design between the versions.
Then there are two people a man is holding his arm out in version 2 and not in the other. Lastly, right in front of the large doors there is a couple of figures and a child in version 1, in version 2 the child has now disappeared
The second difference is a group of figures mid left. In version 1 there are two figures and in the second version a small child has now appeared.
To me the major difference and the easiest to see is in the bottom right hand corner, the farthest figure to the right is a lady standing on her own, in version 2 a small child now appears between her and the lady in front of her.
For ease I refer to these versions as no child (version 1) and with child (version 2).
As I mentioned I have a number of these prints, most with good clear borders, some with guide lines or registration holes. I am selling these as a reconstructed sheet or as singles (you can specify with or without child, as above if you already have one version) and, as a special offer, if you mention you have ‘read about this on the GB website’ I will supply these postage free to the UK or duly subsidised worldwide. Please order as normal and either note on the order or email direct