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Extra-illustration (also known as ‘Grangerization’)

Extra-illustration is the practice of inserting illustrations into an existing book. Its defining characteristics are that the text and the illustrations are produced separately, and that the extra-illustrator is neither publisher nor printer, but an independent collector. The process has been neatly summarized by Robert R. Wark:

The idea was to start with a book that interested you. It might be on almost any subject - biography, history, travel, Shakespeare, and the Bible were among the most frequent choices. You gathered works of art on paper (mostly prints, less frequently drawings, and occasionally, after the mid-nineteenth century, photographs) that could serve as appropriate "extra" illustrations to the text. You mounted the illustrations on sheets uniform in size with the pages of the text; the book was taken out of its binding; the extra-illustrations were interleaved at appropriate places; the whole was rebound, often expanded to several volumes rather than the one or two with which the operation started. If, as often happened, the pages of text were of smaller size than the majority of the illustrations, then the text was remounted on sheets chosen to accommodate the illustrations.

The first known example of extra-illustration to have survived is a copy of the 1707 edition of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion illustrated with 336 prints and 141 drawings, apparently assembled around 1720 by John Bulfinch for Robert Harley, first Earl of Oxford, and now in the Royal Library at Windsor.

The popularity of extra-illustration as a pastime seems to have been related to the publication in 1769 of the Reverend James Granger's A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the Revolution: consisting of characters disposed in different classes and adapted to a methodical catalogue of engraved British heads. Intended as an essay towards reducing our biography to system, and a help to the knowledge of portraits. Interspersed with a variety of anecdotes, and memoirs of a great number of persons, not to be found in any other biographical work. With a preface, shewing the utility of a collection of engraved portraits to supply the defect, and answer the various purposes, of medals - which, as its title suggests, provided a classified system for organizing a collection of portraits, and proposed engravings as a suitable form in which to collect such portraits. In fact, Granger himself noted that he had largely restricted his biographies to individuals of whom engraved portraits could be found. Although Granger lent his name to the practice of extra-illustration, often known as 'Grangerization', Wark notes that the 1769 edition of the Biographical History 'with blank leaves for the reception of engraved portraits or other pictorial illustrations of the text', described in the Oxford English Dictionary, appears to be an erroneous reference to a few copies of the 1775 and 1779 editions which were prepared with interleaved blank sheets. Indeed, the earliest reference in the Oxford English Dictionary to the use of Granger's name to denote extra-illustration dates from 1881.

In fact, Granger himself seems never to have used his extensive collection of prints as extra-illustrations. The most notable early extra-illustrator was Richard Bull (1721-1805), at one time MP for Ongar, who extra-illustrated nearly seventy works, including a copy of Granger's Biographical dictionary expanded physically and chronologically to thirty-five large folio volumes. Apparently assembled from around 1769, it was sold in 1774 to Lord Mountstuart for £1000, and is now in the Huntington Library. (In reality, much of the physical work of cutting out and pasting down seems to have been carried out by Bull's daughters.)

However, extra-illustrators (including Bull) also turned their attention to other subjects, most notably topography (particularly Thomas Pennant's Some account of London of 1793), but also literary works (notably Shakespeare). Indeed, it seems that the subject of the extra-illustrations was most collectors' over-riding concern, rather than the quality or rarity of the image: the majority were not print connoisseurs (in this, the Sutherlands seem to have been an exception).

As with so many hobbies, extra-illustration had an economic impact: Horace Walpole blamed Bull, in particular, for driving up the price of prints. Print-sellers began to produce prints specifically for extra-illustrators, often sold in sets to be inserted into particular works. Dealers also, occasionally, produced extra-illustrated works with a view to selling them on: Bulfinch's role in the creation of the Harley Clarendon has been mentioned above, and Peltz suggests that he and other early-eighteenth century print-sellers dealt in purpose-made extra-illustrated Clarendons. Wark proposes that one of the most extensive known extra-illustrated books, the 60-volume "Kitto Bible" in the Huntington Library illustrated in the 1830s with 30,000 prints and several hundred drawings by the London print-seller James Gibbs, may have been created with a view to its sale.

Despite its apparent origins at the beginning of the eighteenth century, extra-illustration really grew in popularity during the second half of the century, and was a fashionable pastime throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, continuing to be practised until the end of the century. Geographically, it seems to have been concentrated in the United Kingdom and United States of America. It was not without its critics, however, who justifiably accused extra-illustrators of dismembering old books for their engravings; as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, so the critics seem to have emerged victorious and the activity declined.

(Drawn from Wark, Shaddy, and Peltz, 'Cut and paste' and 'Pleasure of the book'.)


Introductory works

Lucy Peltz, 'The Cut and Paste of English History', Country Life, 24-31 December 1998, pp. 66-68.

Robert R. Wark, 'The Gentle Pastime of Extra-Illustrating Books', The Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. LVI, no. 2 (Spring 1993), pp. 151-165. (Largely based on the extensive holdings of the Huntington Library.)

Lucy Peltz, 'The pleasure of the book: Extra-illustration, an 18th-century fashion', Things, no. 8 (Summer 1998), pp. 6-31. (Journal originally 'edited and produced by students on the Victoria & Albert Museum/Royal College of Art MA course in the History of Design'.)

Robert A. Shaddy, 'Grangerizing: "One of the Unfortunate Stages of Bibliomania"', The Book Collector, vol. 49, no. 4 (Winter 2000), pp. 535-546.

General works

Marcia Pointon, Hanging the Head: Portraiture and Social Formation in Eighteenth-Century England, New Haven & London (Yale University Press): 1993, ch. II, 'Illustrious Heads', on pp. 53-78 & 248-251.

Lucy Peltz, 'Engraved Portrait Heads and the Rise of Extra-Illustration: the Eton Correspondence of the Revd James Granger and Richard Bull, 1769-1774', The Walpole Society, vol. LXVI (2004), pp. 1-161.

Specific authors, subjects or collections

Bernard Adams, 'A Regency Pastime: The Extra-Illustration of Thomas Pennant's 'London', The London Journal, vol. VIII, no. 2 (Winter 1982), pp. 123-139.

R. Paul Evans, 'Richard Bull and Thomas Pennant: Virtuosi in the Art of Grangerisation or Extra-Illustration', Cylchgrawn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales Journal, vol. VIII, no. 3 (Summer 1998), pp. 269-294.

Lucy Peltz, 'The extra-illustration of London: leisure, sociability and the antiquarian city in the late eighteenth century', Ph.D. thesis (Manchster University): 1997.

Lucy Peltz, 'The extra-illustration of London: the gendered spaces and practices of antiquarianism in the late eighteenth century', in Martin Myrone and Lucy Peltz ed., Producing the Past: Aspects of Antiquarian Culture and Practice 1700-1850, Aldershot (Ashagte): 1999, pp. 115-134.

Antony Griffiths and Reginald Williams, The Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: User's Guide, London (British Museum Publications): 1987, pp. 54-59. (Lists extra-illustrated works in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.)

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