Victorian Periodical Wood Engravings

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, prints from magazines and periodicals became collectibles, and Gleeson White (1851-98), editor and co-founder of The Studio (1893), published guidelines in 1897 about how to store and arrange them best:

“[…] prepare a certain number of cardboard or cloth-covered boxed filled with single sheets of thick brown paper. In these an oblique slit is made to hold each corner of the print. By this method subjects can be mounted quickly, and, as the collection grows, new sub-divisions can be arranged and the subjects distributed among a larger number of boxes.”(White 7)

The anonymous person who originally collected the illustrations that were acquired by Greenslade closely followed that advice (Holland and Meyrick 12). The difference is that these illustrations are glued to the card.

Over 4900 other wood engravings were acquired for the university from Puttick and Simpson Auctioneers, Leicester Square, London, in 1924 by architect Sidney Kyffin Greenslade (1866–1955), then the ‘Consultant Curator’ of the School’s collection.

This blog aims to introduce rather then discuss in depth a choice of illustrations and provide information about further reading on a regular basis.

(Karen Westendorf)


Don Vann, J., VanArsdel, Rosemary T., eds. Victorian Periodicals and Victorian Society. Aldershot: Scolar P, 1994. Print.

White, Gleeson. English Illustration: The ‘Sixties’: 1855-70. Bath: Kingsmead Reprints, 1970. Print.

Please click on the images below:

Frederick Walker

A night scene a sitting room. A man jumps up from his armchair in front of a fireplace. A woman in a nightdress holding a candle stands behind him. John Leech 

Charles Samuel Keene