Sun Artists Series Wrapper

Sun Artists Series Wrapper

Featuring a design by English illustrator Laurence Houseman, (1865-1959) this rare example of a brown-paper wrapper for the first Number of Sun Artists was issued in October, 1889. It originally contained four hand-pulled photogravures made from the original negatives taken by English photographer Joseph Gale, (1835-1906) as well as individual letterpress featuring an essay on this photographer’s work by George Davison.  Folio in size and edited by William Arthur Boord, (1862-1928) the publication is described in the following contemporary account with an emphasis on the exemplary hand-pulled photogravure plates issued along with it:


The Sun Artists Journal is a significant example of photogravure in the history of the photographically illustrated book. Sun Artists was published in eight parts by Keegan Paul, Trench and Trübner, London between October 1889 and July 1891. Each Issue was devoted to the work of a single British photographer, illustrated by four hand-pulled photogravures, together with an introductory descriptive essay. Laurence Housman was commissioned to provide the cover design for the series, the letterpress being by the Chiswick Press.

Particular care was taken by the publisher of Sun Artists to identify the individuals who prepared the gravures for publication, all leading exponents of photogravure at the time. Mr. Dawson of the Typographic Etching Company, himself an acclaimed photographer, made the etchings for Issue 1. Mr. Cameron Swan of Messr. Annan and Swan made those for Issues 2,3, and 4 while the etchings for Issues 5-8 were made by Mr. W.L. Colls. (1.)

Besides the elaborate design and letterpress copy appearing on the cover, (a notice at lower margin states it was further sold and distributed in the United States by the Scovill and Adams Company of New York City) the following notices appeared within individual black-line boxes on opposite sides of the inside of the enclosure when opened:

Left Side:


The second number will be published in January, 1890, and will contain four Photogravures from pictures by


with descriptive letterpress.  A limited number of signed, unlettered proof copies will be issued.

All communications relative to this serial should be addressed to the Hon. Sec.,

Mr. Arthur Boord,

1, Paternoster Square,
London, E.C.

The rights of  reproduction and translation are reserved. (outside of frame)

Right Side:


In answer to inquiries,  “Sun Artists” is the only serial entirely devoted to the reproduction of artistic nature pictures in first class photogravure.

In case of any doubt, and to avoid disappointment, intending purchasers should ascertain beforehand whether the publication offered them is issued under the authority of the promoters of this serial.

condition: overall wrinkling and staining to enclosure along with partial tear to spine

1. excerpt: Sun Artists Journal: in: Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography: edited by John Hannavy: Routledge: 2013: p. 1358  (PhotoSeed has placed this publication in Portfolio category)

Sun Artists Series Wrapper

Support Dimensions40.3 x 30.4 | 40.3 x 60.8 cm (outline of series title Sun Artists printed in gold ink)