02 September 2013


Have you ever heard of the word Grangerizing? How about the phrase Extra-Illustration? They are a tad esoteric but oh-so-interesting.

Being a bookie-type-person I had heard of the terms and was delighted to learn that one of the exhibits occurring when I visited the Huntington Library last month was: Illuminated Palaces: Extra-Illustrated Books from the Huntington Library.


The term Grangerize was named after 18th-century British clergyman James Granger and is the practice of adding prints, manuscripts and illustrations to existing books. Also, referred to as extra-illustration, Grangerizing was an entertaining hobby that often reflected the reader's response to the texts by way of these additions. Unfortunately, it also resulted in the mutilation of books. But, who am I to talk - I alter books all the time! I guess these guys were the first altered book artists.

So, needless to say, I found this exhibit quite interesting. The altering, or Grangerizing, was hardly noticeable in many of the books displayed - with just one engraving tastefully "tipped in" to the existing text.

Some had envelope-like structures pasted in with hand-written pages within:

And, fold out pages:


Scandalous centerfolds!:

While others had a more scrap book-like appearance. I found myself wanting to see more of these:


I loved this photograph and accompanying text on the wall:

"Sisters Carrie and Sophie Lawrence extra-illustrating a book in their New York City workshop, ca. 1902.

One collector wrote, "There are few bread-winning pursuits better adapted to woman's delicate touch, innate taste, and artistic feeling than print inlaying and extra illustration." "

I realize that I should probably be offended by this but frankly given the opportunities at the time I think I would rather be in that cozy little workshop Grangerizing-away than doing pretty much anything else.

Exhibit curated by Lori Anne Ferrell and Stephen Tabor.

1 comment:

  1. so interesting. i've added new vocabulary, grangerizing, and have in my meager and funky collection a wonderful farm-wife version of this. thanks so much!