Lot 119: c. 1768-1772 (3) Colonial Printing WOODBLOCKS by Mein & Fleeming, Sower, + Green
October 29, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Three (3) Woodblock Printing Plates of Astronomical Images by Colonial Printers, Mein & Fleeming, Sower, and Green
c. 1768-1772, Collection of Three (3) Woodblock Printing Plates depicting Astronomical Images, by Colonial Printers, Mein & Fleeming, Sower, and Green, Very Fine.
These woodblock printing plate images depict astronomical events, and served as illustrations for almanacs of the period, as indicated by Elizabeth Reilly in "Colonial American Printers' Ornaments & Illustrations" (1975). Each of these woodblocks were used to create illustrations similar to those reproduced in Reilly's book--the original colonial prints, almanacs or pamphlets are housed at collections of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, and at Yale University, New Haven.
1. The most impressive woodblock features a large eclipse with a crescent moon at the lower edge and ordinal directions (N, S, E, W), by loyalist printers John Mein and John Fleeming, Boston, 1767; Reilly #1906, p. 472. It measures 2.25" square, 1" thick, with dark ink surface patina, and an age crack. Mein and Fleeming printed almanacs for Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack for 1768, 1769, and 1770, which would place this image at the early part of their printing career. (Reilly dates the image 1767 because the almanac for 1768 would have been created in 1767).
2. The second woodblock features a thick crescent at the bottom of an inscribed partial eclipse by Christoper Sower, 1768, Germantown; Reilly #1953, p. 478. It measures 1.25" square, 3/4" thick, with dark ink surface patina and two small age cracks.
3. The third woodblock depicts a dark, lined moon with a thick crescent, by Thomas & Samuel Green, 1772, New Haven; Reilly #1949, p. 478. It measures 1.75" square, 1" thick, with dark ink surface patina.
Ex-Sotheby's Sale 7683, June 26, 2001. (3 items)
John Fleeming (often spelled Fleming) was a Scot who arrived in Boston in 1764. A Loyalist, he was banished by the Act of September 1778. His partner, John Mein, fled Boston in 1769 after allegations that the Chronicle was being subsidised by the Tories.