Engraving à la Archibald McLees (1817-1890)


Jan 17, 2019
Hello Engravers!

I am looking over some English copper plates that I purchased a few years ago and wondering if anyone on the forum is deeply familiar with script engraving from 1870-1910. One of the more prominent American Engravers in the penmanship world at that time was Archibald McLees, having done work for both the Spencers on their texts as well as Knapp and Rightmyer among others.

I'd love to learn more about the engraving process for some of these texts and discuss the relationships between penmen and engravers, particularly on these more artistic plates which are as much a testament of the engraver's skill as the penman's.

Is there anyone on the forum that has this expertise? I am fairly well-versed in the penmanship side of this history, but most of my knowledge regarding historical methods for reproduction are of the use of photoengraving. I'd love to chat with someone who has spent an equal amount of time researching engravers.

Below is a sample plate from the New Spencerian Compendium—engraved by A. McLees in ~1882.



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