If the holiday leftovers are still lurking in our refrigerators, we figure there’s still time for one more Christmas-themed post, courtesy of Curator of Children’s Literature Laura Wasowicz. The charming engraving below raises two interesting questions you might want to mull over as you finish off the pecan pie. First, where would Anderson have seen the image upon which this engraving is based? I’m guessing it was reproduced in a book or as a print he saw. Second, what is that object in front of the kneeling Magus? Perhaps it has to do with gold, frankincense or myrrh? Or is it his turban? Is it a recognizable part of the iconography of the Magi?
Fawcett, John, 1740-1817. Scripture Scenes. Cadiz, OH: H. Anderson, 1829.
This is a scarce early Ohio imprint; it is rarer still in that it contains nine hand-colored metal engravings probably executed by its publisher Hugh Anderson (1782-1866), who worked as an engraver in Philadelphia prior to his move to Ohio. Anderson based this engraving of the Adoration of the Wise Men upon a painting by the 16th-century Italian master Jacopo Bassano, shedding new light on the types of access that American children living in the Old Northwest had to Renaissance art. Purchased from David M. Lesser. Ruth E. Adomeit Book Fund.
~ Laura Wasowicz