Printing Block: St. Stephen Martyrdom by G. DORE
Full Page Wooden Printing Block For Bible Illustration “Martyrdom Of St. Stephen” Likely by Gustave Dore. c. 1880, Hand Engraved 11 Section Wooden Printing Block, for a Full Page Plate of “The Martyrdom of St. Stephen,” Likely Engraved by Gustave Dore, Choice Extremely Fine.. This spectacular, original, hand-engraved, 8.5” x 7” wooden printing block is made up of 11 smaller blocks, held together by wooden dowels, which fit together to form the whole image. What appears to be a thin darker top layer of perhaps metal, is actually the engraved top of the engraved wooden blocks themselves. The darkness caused by the actual inking of the surface from actual use in printing, that has slightly stained into the wood, attesting to its absolute authenticity. The scene, which is unlabeled and unsigned on this block, shows the stoning death of St. Stephen. The original image was published in Gustave Dore’s multivolume Bible sets, which first appeared in 1865, and were published in various editions and languages into the 1880’s. Some editions have images slightly different from other editions, suggesting that a printing plate had to be replaced and a new one engraved. Some editions are missing a specific plate or have an additional plate not found in other editions. In early editions of his Bibles the plates are signed “G. Dore,” including “The Martyrdom of St. Stephen.” Some editions, however, have plates which are unsigned, and it is unclear who engraved those plates. Since the block offered here is not signed, it may be a replacement (perhaps by Dore himself or by an assistant) or a plate from one of the pirated editions of the Bible, published after Dore’s death in 1883. As we have not seen an original of this work, we cannot be certain where this plate was used or if it was engraved by Dore. Whatever its origin, this is beautiful printing plate, a powerful image, and an excellent example of how printing was done in the late 1800’s. Included with this lot is a modern impression from this full page, very large plate and some related information. (12 items)..