Scientist of the Day - Charles Hullmandel
Charles Hullmandel, an English artist and printer, was born June 15, 1789. While making an artist's tour of Europe in 1817, he met Alois Senefelder, who had invented the lithographic printing process some 20 years earlier. Hullmandel was apparently inspired by this encounter, for he came home and set up the first lithographic press in London. Many of his prints were portraits--the National Portrait Gallery in London has over a hundred of them--but he also did many natural history illustrations for books and journals. The printer's name appears on most lithographic impressions, usually in the lower right-hand corner, but the printer is often ignored in favor of the names at the lower left, the original artist and/or the person who transferred the drawing to stone. Often the lithographic printer is not recorded in indexes or as metadata, and the only way to find out which prints were done by Hullmandel is to look at a whole slew of material printed in London in the 1820s through the 1850s. We have done just that, and we see above six assorted Hullmandel prints. They are, in order: a Numidian demoiselle, drawn by Edward Lear, from John Gould's Birds of Europe (1837); a section of Paviland Cave in Wales, from William Buckland's Reliquae Diluvianae (1823); an Australian numbat, from an article in the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London (1841), and a skeleton of a Mylodon, from Richard Owen’s Description of the Skeleton of an Extinct Gigantic Sloth (1842).
Later in life, Hullmandel teamed up with Joseph Walton, and many prints of the 1840s and 1850s bear the inscription "Hullmandel & Walton," such as the scene of Thomas Huxley hacking his way through a jungle in the Louisiade Archipelago (1852; fifth image) or the wonderful toadfish that embellished another article in the Zoological Society Transactions (1849; sixth image).
Hullmandel published a book on lithography in 1824, when he was just getting started in the business: The Art of Drawing on Stone. We would like to add that work to our collections someday.
Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Comments or corrections are welcome; please direct to email@example.com.