Nerd out on publishing

The Golden Age of Book Illustration

photo courtesy of Sacramento State

Maybe you’re a book collector. Or maybe you’re a book hoarder. Either way, I’m not judging, and neither is the library.

The California State Library has lent artifacts for a new exhibit, The Golden Age of Book Illustration, at Sacramento State University’s library gallery. It showcases the long history of creating images for books—certainly not as simple as it sounds—as well as different types of book illustration, starting with the advent of printing technology in the early 19th century. Expect to see a range of processes, including woodcuts, engraving, etching, aquatint, lithograph and chromolithograph. “Barn Owl” (pictured), for example, is an aquatint engraving on an elephant folio from the early 1800s, and you’ll have to get your butt to the University Library Gallery to figure out exactly what that means.

Check it out for free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Tuesday to Saturday, through May 19.

This is an exhibit for book collectors, publishing scholars and art history geeks alike—an unusual look into the past of everyone’s favorite possession: books, right? And maybe, just maybe, walking into the building will remind you that you should really be taking advantage of your local library.