ILLUSTRATION. A term generally used in reference to the pictorial decoration and illustra tion of books. In the more usual sense. book illustration is the addition to a book of pic tures (and indirectly of maps and plans) which may aid in the right understanding of the text. This service they may render in a serious and almost scientific way by giving views of build ings, accurate drawings or other reproductions of dress, portraits of individuals, copies of works of art named, and the like, these being things which are impossible to describe in words, and of which a clear presentation to the reader is de sired. On the other hand, the illustrations may also be merely extensions of the text; thus, when Cruikshank or Leech illustrates Olirrr Twist or Jorrock's Hunt, the description or narra tive passage of the text is in a sense repeated by the artist—a part of the story is retold in line and light and shade.
A book consisting almost entirely of pictures, or having those for its principal subject, cannot be said to be an illustrated book. Thus the vol umes of the Paris Salon, with large photograv ures of the paintings and statuary of the year with a text which is rather perfunctory, or that little volume which made the delight of school boys fifty years ago, Mr. Jonathan Oldbuc•, or in more recent times, the albums of Ca ran D'Aehe and Email], or Howard Pyle's or T. S. Sullivant's "Fables" are of this class. In the one case the pictures are the book, and the text is not absolutely needed; in the other case the pictures and the brief legends or the re-written ,Esop Fable a hundred words long, form together a humorous study of which the picture is much the more important part. This is hardly illus tration. And in like manner when the pictures drawn for a book are large, and few in number. and are printed on separate plates and bound in, they have less the air of illustration, and indeed, serve less well their purpose as illustration, than those which, being smaller, are inserted in the text. The very admirable pictures by Albert Lynch given with the quarto edition of Maupas sant's Pierre et Jean, although spoken of with great respect by excellent judges, and although admirable compositions. are yet less effective as illustrations than the less pretentious and really less able drawings by Merbaeb, and others which ere scattered through the duodecimo volumes of Daudet's L'Immoriel or Bourget's Mensonges, and immeasurably inferior to the roughly cut headpieces by Meissonier in Les conics remois.
From this point of view the famous 'vignettes' of the eighteenth century illustrated books are the least satisfactory of illustrations. They render, indeed, a single scene or incident of the story, but they are wholly unrealistic in char acter, the figures being posed without general truth of attitude or truth of gesture, and while they are attractive and instructive as works of the draughtsman and of the engraver's art, they are also models of all that is to be avoided in book illustration.
HtsTonY. The history of illustration is hard to treat as a continuous narrative. The Egyp tian manuscript Books of the Dead contain numbers of delicate and very ornamental paint ings, usually of small size and combined with the text in an admirable way: and the paintings in the Ani Papyrus in the British Museum. and a few other recently discovered manuscripts. have larger drawings. On the other hand, we are without any knowledge of Greek manuscripts with drawings accompanying them. Of Roman Imperial manuscripts with illustrations there is nothine known prior to the Christian epoch: but the paintings which accompany the famous Genesis of the Vienna Museum and a very few contemporary hooks remain to us. It. is the opinion of excellent critics that these monuments of a decadent epoch will mislead us. if we try to judge from them the character of work of the earlier and better times; but those who ergo this may forget that one art continues to flour ish while others lapse. In the fourth century sculpture had declined; but mosaic was just be ginning its magnificent development, and tiro most startling examples of Boman vaulted con struction in solid mortar masonry (late also from that time. :Moreover, the antique look and the pagan spirit are still to be found in the Chris tian illustrations of the fourth and fifth een turies, whereas the Church has had its own way utith the medieval manuscripts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries; and those of much earlier date, like the Irish and the Anglo-Saxon, are too barbaric to have any relation to this inquiry in their paintings—whatever the illuminated page may have of decorative effectiveness.