Wenceslas Hollar (1607-1677)

Jupiter and The Monkey

Wenceslas Hollar (1607-1677) was a Bohemian engraver and water-colourist, born in Prague.

Important Bohemian etcher known as “Iconographer to the King”, under the patronage of the Duke of Arundel, achieved fame in his lifetime for his splendid etchings of landscapes, costumes and city views. of his own designs & those of his contemporaries in the 17th century.

Went to Frankfurt in 1627. Studied under the engraver and publisher Matthus Merian. Later moved to Strasbourg, then to Cologne in 1633. Attracted the attention of the collector Thomas, earl of Arundel, with whom he was associated for most of his life. Settled in England in 1637, moving to Antwerp in about 1644, and returning to London in 1652. Illustrated a number of books and produced the celebrated “Views of London,” after the Great Fire of 1666. Some 3,000 plates are credited to him. Appointed royal scenographer to Charles II. Died in extreme poverty.  

His neat & precise etching style has given him representation in most of the important museums of the world & admired by collectors up to the present day.

The “Jupiter & The Monkey” fable, sometimes refered to as “The Monkey God”, shows Jupiter issuing a proclamation to all the beasts, and offers a prize to the one who, in his judgment, produces the most beautiful offspring.  Among the rest came the Monkey, carrying a baby monkey in her arms, a hairless, flat-nosed little fright.  When they saw it, the gods all burst into peal on peal of laughter; but the Monkey hugged her little one to her, and said, Jupiter may give the prize to whomsoever he likes:  but I shall always think my baby the most beautiful of them all.

Weekly Finds

playing cards

Complete Set Double Twin Pack Playing Cards Alf Cooke Dogs + Jokers Vintage

A cardboard box with a twin double set of playing cards with the backs having 2 different dog designs, complete with 2 jokers each pack. Good crisp gold edges to the cards.

Angie’s New Weekly Listings

Victorian Antique Book Suffer Little Children Nister Dutton 14 Chromo Prints

A Picture Book of Bible Stories For Little Folks Titled “SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN”

With 14 full page chromolithographic illustrations and many B/w illustrations. Full colour Hard back cover with cloth spine.


The Great Flood, Abraham and the Angels, The Story of Isaac, Rebekah at the Well, Jacob’s Dream, Joseph and His Brethren, The Basket of Bulrushes, The Ungrateful People, Ruth and Naomi, The Voice of God, The Birth of our Lord, The Great Physician, The Child Jesus, Jesus in the Cornfields, The Prodigal Son, Suffer Little Children, The Good Samaritan, Jesus and the Disciples, The Good Shepherd.

Victorian Antique Book The Chorister Weatherly Nister Dutton 3 Chromolithographic Prints

A small pocket Picture Book  For Little Folks Titled “The Chorister”

With 3 full page chromolithographic illustrations and a few B/w illustrations. Full colour Hard back cover with cloth spine. By F.E.Weatherley

Victorian Antique Book Landing Of The Pilgrim Fathers Slip Cover Chromo Prints

A small pocket Picture Book  For Little Folks Titled “The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers”

With over 16 full page chromolithographic illustrations. Full colour Hard back cover with original paper cover slip.

Poems story by Felicia Hemans.

History Japanese Puzzle boxes

The creation of puzzle boxes originated in the Hakone region of Japan in the 1800’s. These boxes were originally created for workers who needed to safeguard their tools. Each box required a set of twists and turns to open. The trick was to determine the correct set of movements to open a specific box.

In the 1800’s Hakone was known for its hot springs. Many people visited the region for vacations and the tourism industry flourished. Puzzle boxes began to become popular as souvenirs. This continued through the World Wars, when soldiers on leave would purchase boxes to bring home.

 The first puzzle boxes did not have the elaborate decorative designs that are commonplace today. The patterns that are used to decorate the box are representative of another Japanese handicraft, parquetry. Parquetry is the craft of using wood and varnish to create a thin decorative sheet. These sheets are then fixed to the outside of the puzzle box after it is created.

The original boxes were created by three artisans; Mr. Takajiro Ohkawa, Mr. Tatsunosuke Okiyama, and Mr. Kikukawa. Each of these men eventually took on apprentices to carry on their work, and the craft flourished. At the height of the apprentice system there were approximately 150 artisans and apprentices in the area. However, Japan’s involvement in World War II was a blow to the industry. Young apprentices were conscripted into the army and did not return. Additionally, tourism made way for the newly needed munitions industry. In current day Japan there are nine puzzle box masters. This includes Mr. Yoshio Okiyama, grandson of Tatsunosuke Okiyama, who is considered one of the most skilled puzzle box crafters in the world. At age 75, he was a witness to the end of the apprentice system and the decline in the number of crafters. He has no apprentice.

 It is not unusual for a single crafter to make a box from start to finish. The wood must be obtained and dried before the box is assembled. The planes of the wood must be exactly even, as the mechanism of the box depends on the pieces sliding easily. The construction consists of a box in a box. The outer box hides the inner mechanisms and displays the parquetry embellishment. The inner box contains the movements that create the puzzle. In this way the solution to the puzzle is kept secret from any who do not know it.


New collectable finds of the week

Small Micro Mosaic Straw Work Napoleonic Roses Floral Geometric Antique Box

Wincarnis Tonic Wine

Wincarnis The wine that is now called Wincarnis was also called Liebig’s Extract of Meat and Malt Wine.
Wincarnis (win = wine, carnis = meat) was produced by Coleman & Co Ltd, St George’s and Bank Plain, Norwich and 3 New London Street, London.
One consumer’s testimonial, advertised in 1891, in a book of hints and directions in book keeping for retail chemists (‘How do I stand?’) states: “I have been attending a child two and a half years old suffering from blood poisoning; the child was very ill and refused all kinds of nourishment. I then tried your Liebig’s Extract of Meat and Malt Wine alcoholic, ordered him one table spoonful every two hours, which he took readily; he had nothing else except medicine for 14 days — the child is now recovering, and takes ordinary food. Yours truly, Geo. Hother, Surgeon.
Wincarnis was also available with added iron or quinine at the same price of 3/3 (17.5p) or 5/6 (27.5p) per bottle.
Wincarnis is currently advertised as an English aperitif wine and is produced by Hedges & Butler Ltd of London.

History Dates for Printing

  • History of printing dates
    Woodblock printing (200)
    Movable type (1040)
    Printing press (1454)
    Etching (ca. 1500)
    Mezzotint (1642)
    Aquatint (1768)
    Lithography (1796)
    Chromolithography (1837)
    Rotary press (1843)
    Hectograph (1869)
    Offset printing (1875)
    Hot metal typesetting (1886)
    Mimeograph (1890)
    Screen printing (1907)
    Spirit duplicator (1923)
    Dye-sublimation (1957)
    Phototypesetting (1960s)
    Dot matrix printer (1964)
    Laser printing (1969)
    Thermal printing (1972)
    Inkjet printing (1976)
    3D printing (1986)
    Digital press (1993)