#ColourOurCollections: Images from the Cartographic Visual Collection

Following on from Elaine’s post yesterday, I am going to discuss two items I selected from our Cartographic Visual Collection for use in our #ColourOurCollections colouring book.

Napoleonic Print

The first image is from a collection of Napoleonic Prints and is based on an engraving of Napoleon Bonaparte by James Gillray (“the father of the political cartoon”) from 1806.

BL/CV/PolP/N/10 Tiddy-Doll, the great French-Gingerbread-Baker, drawing out a new Batch of Kings – his Man, Hopping Talley, mixing up the Dough [Original colour version]

The satirical print depicts Napoleon as a gingerbread baker, drawing the baked figures of three kings out of a stone baking oven with a large wooden peel. In the background Talleyrand can be seen mixing dough in a vat titled ‘Political Kneading Trough’ while a wicker basket in the foreground contains freshly baked figures (Napoleon’s relatives and allies) ready for delivery. The image is packed with satirical allusion and fun details, making it a prime candidate for the colouring book.

We hold two versions of the print, one in colour (above) and the other in black & white (below). It was the black & white version that was selected for conversion.

BL/CV/PolP/N/11 Tiddy-Doll, the great French-Gingerbread-Baker, drawing out a new Batch of Kings – his Man, Hopping Talley, mixing up the Dough [Original black & white version]

The process of converting the images was relatively straight forward. The print was first scanned and the image opened in Gimp. It was then cropped and resized to the required specifications before the threshold filter was applied. The filter provided a preview, allowing for the contrasting black and white areas to be adjusted as required. Despite some significant spotting on the original print, the end result (below) is remarkably clean.

BL/CV/PolP/N/11 Tiddy-Doll, the great French-Gingerbread-Baker, drawing out a new Batch of Kings – his Man, Hopping Talley, mixing up the Dough [Converted version]

Irish Topographical Print

The second image I selected is from a collection of Irish Topographical Prints. The print is of Ormiston House, a Scottish baronial-style residence in County Antrim, by R. Quiller Lane from 1896. It relates to a visit by Lord Cadogan, viceroy of Ireland, to the north of Ireland during which he stayed at Ormiston, then the residence of Alderman W.J. Petrie.

BL/CV/TP/Antrim/16 The Viceroy’s Visit to the North of Ireland: Ormiston, the Residence of Mr. Alderman W.J. Petrie Where Lord and Lady Cadogan Will Stay While at Belfast [Original version]

Its bold, clearly defined lines and limited shading made the image an ideal candidate for converting, as can be seen below.

BL/CV/TP/Antrim/16 The Viceroy’s Visit to the North of Ireland: Ormiston, the Residence of Mr. Alderman W.J. Petrie Where Lord and Lady Cadogan Will Stay While at Belfast [Converted version]

Other candidates were less successful when the threshold filter was applied. While I had hoped to include a location a little closer to home, the conversion of many of the topographical prints proved trickier than expected!

Unused images

The image below is from a print of the River Lee in Cork, providing a striking view of Blackrock Castle on the bank of the river. As can be seen, the detailed nature of the print didn’t translate appropriately, with the darker shades in the foreground appearing muddy and confusing while the lighter details in the background have faded or disappeared completely.

BL/CV/TP/Cork/12 The Cork River (from below the Glanmire Road.) [Converted version]

Another image I had hoped to include was from a collection of prints by William Hogarth from the Hawtin Collection. The print is part of a series of etchings titled Hogarth’s Tour (1781) and provides a view of Upnor Castle on the bank of the River Medway in Kent. A group of men, including Hogarth, occupy the shore in the foreground. While I was quite happy with the conversion, the image (below) was ultimately excluded for the purpose of space.

BL/Hawtin/HogarthPrints/Tour/3 Upnor Castle [Converted version]

Tomorrow our series of posts on the #ColourOurCollections campaign will continue, with Emma discussing her personal selection from among our Archival Collections. In the meantime, UCC Library’s colouring book (2022) is free to download here.

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