Printer’s tool(s).



The detail in the picture is taken from a small impression included in an illustrated Bible from 1642. The signature reads: “MHem.In. / CVS” and something. These inscription indicates that Maarten van Heemskerck (1498 – 1574) invented the composition and Christoffel van Sichem (1581‒1658) engraved it on a woodblock. Interestingly, the item designed besides van Sichem’s monogram is a knife/burin which in this case substitutes the “usual” abbreviations of “sculp.” or even “exc.” which refers to publishing more than engraving. In this way the work of the engraver is visualized and symbolized by the tool he used in the process.

This, among with other woodcuts is for sale here: (until 30.12.18).

Dr. Ad Stijnman has gathered an impressive list of abbreviations found on printed images in the period 1500-1900 with their explanation. This list is available online in .pdf format at this link.



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