In past years of the AAS annual report, we have included in the back pages quotes about the institution over its two centuries, a traveling chess game and paper dolls (with pieces to be cut out!), an Instagram hashtag match-up, and in last year’s iteration, a rebus-palooza. This year’s “back fun pages” (as they have been dubbed in-house) serve as a nod to the countless hours of work put into the 2017 Grolier Club exhibition Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858–1920 by curators Lauren Hewes and Laura Wasowicz. In addition to many of the firm’s published works, AAS is also fortunate to have McLoughlin Brothers’ extensive art archive of its published materials, including some coloring, outline, and painting books! And since the McLoughlin Brothers were known as trailblazers for their experimentation with color printing and book formats, we thought we would use one of those painting books (pictured here) for a bit of fun.
Both the physical exhibition and printed catalog are highlighted in the annual report (just published!), but the concluding pages of the report (see below) hope to encourage readers to kick back, pull up a palette, and relax. After all, isn’t one of the many pros of the still-growing adult coloring book phenomenon near-instant stress relief (although for those keeping score, these aren’t relief prints at all, but chromolithographs!)? Although countless books in the McLoughlin archive could have been appropriate, it was the firm’s Young Artist Painting Book by William Bruton which really caught our eye (and begged reproduction as both the catalog’s frontispiece image and for these pages).
In “Try Your Own Brush with History” we’ve included a period color sample palette as well as excerpts from the (comprehensive) directions by the McLoughlin firm. In addition, the lithographed cover plate from 1882 and its black and white version for readers to color on their own were also reproduced. But if you feel compelled to color more than what we supplied in the annual report, we offer here as a PDF file the remainder of the book! This includes Bruton’s gorgeous uncolored images of children: “On the Sea Shore,” “Sailing the Yacht,” “In the Hay Field,” “In the Meadows,” “Off for a Sail,” London Bridge,” “The Skipping Rope,” “Four in Hand Team,” “The Swing,” “Tug of War,” “Picking Blackberries,” and “Gathering Blossoms.”
Color us scholarly, but we just can’t help providing facsimiles! Try your hand at it!