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Arabian Nights – “Modern Illustration”

(WARD, LOCK AND CO.), 1865.

(This is worth a click to view the whole image.)  I’ve been researching illustration of late and I ran across this image in a book by Charles Maginnis. Beautiful work that is too good not to post. Maginnis asserts that “modern illustration” did not exist before about 1865, when a photograph could be taken of a line drawing and inserted as a metal plate with the text in a publication. Before that time, to get illustrations in books required not only the original artist, but sometimes a team of people who reproduced the artistic work onto a wood block for printing. Therefore, the original intent of the artist could be modified or even botched up by a woodcutter. I wonder what Maginnis, a printer of fine books, would think we are doing now when I can completely create a press-ready book — including photographs and original illustrations — in my living room. Or create a digital book or magazine that reproduces such illustrations?