There are approximately seven hundred works on paper in the Dayton C. Miller Iconography Collection. They consist mostly of woodcuts, engravings, etchings,
and lithographs, though there are a few examples of pen-and-ink-wash drawings, watercolors, and Japanese wood-block prints. Most are termed "reproductive
prints"; that is, they are reproductions or copies of works by well-known artists such as Titian, Jordaens, Teniers, and Watteau.
The earliest work appears to be a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, The Men's Bath, ca. 1496-97, and the next earliest a woodcut by Hans Burgkmair, Natural
Fools, from the Triumphal Procession of Emperor Maximilian of Austria, 1526. Another woodcut by Burgkmair, Of the White King's Introduction to
Mummery, depicts a banquet in which mummers approach Maximilian while musicians play various instruments in the foreground. The image dates from 1514-16, but it was printed from the original wood block in the eighteenth century.
A beautiful hand-colored engraving by Jean Ganière of a boy with a vertical flute probably dates from the seventeenth century. There are two etchings, late-seventeenth-century copies after Titian, by Valentin LeFebre, Landscape with Flute-Playing Shepherd and Young Man Playing a Viola da Gamba. There is also
a seventeenth-century pen-and-ink drawing by Jac. Matthias Weyer of a soldier playing a flute, with a fisherman on the verso.
There are at least two engravings by William Hogarth that date from the mid-eighteenth century, The Enraged Musician and Marriage à la Mode (not
reproduced here). Two etchings by Michael Rössler of a man and woman, both wind instrument makers with the tools of their trade and instruments attached to
their garments, probably also date from the mid-eighteenth century. They were published by Martin Engelbrecht, who was himself an engraver. The collection
contains a wonderful example of his work in a hand-colored etching and engraving of ca. 1720, Flötten, Hautbois, Flachinett, Fagot, und Clarinet (Flutes,
Oboe, Flageolet, Bassoon, and Clarinet), in which a gentleman seated on a terrace is surrounded by these instruments. His dog sits at his side, and there is a
view of the landscape in the distance. Details on the man's garments, the instruments, and even the dog's collar are gilded. An Italian work that probably dates
from the mid-eighteenth century is a large engraving by Giovanni Cattini, The Recorder Lesson, after a drawing by Giambattista Piazzetta. A hand-colored
etching and engraving by Georg Balthasar Probst, a German optic print entitled L'Ouie (Hearing), dates from ca. 1790 and shows a large music room with
musicians playing various instruments as visitors stroll among them.
There is a still life in watercolor by the Dutch painter Abraham van Stry, which may date from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. A watercolor
portrait of the eminent flutist, Jean-Louis Tulou, by an unknown artist probably dates from the early nineteenth century. An engraving by Robert Bell, after a
painting by Sir David Wilkie, The Bagpiper, probably dates to the mid-to-late nineteenth century and is very fine. Also very fine is a Japanese color wood-block
print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, which probably dates from about 1845.
Some images are humorous. There are two caricatures among the selections represented here. The Country Choristers, a late-eighteenth-century engraving by
John Goldar after a work by John Collet, depicts a choir stall in which six men are singing and a bewigged musician blows on a pitch pipe. A nineteenth-century hand-colored lithograph caricature by Louis-Léopold Boilly, entitled Le Concert, shows five half-length figures singing and playing instruments.
Several other nineteenth-century lithographs depict animals playing instruments: Musique by Louis Eugène Pirodon is a copy after a painting by Emmanuel
Notterman; and another by Jules Worms is actually a cover for piano work by E. Marie, La Lutte Artistique/Quadrille (The Artistic Struggle/Quadrille). The
famous illustrator Gavarni is represented by two works, one of which is a humorous lithograph published in La Revue et Gazette Musicale, in which a man
complains to his flageolet-playing neighbor that he has been playing now for three hours. The flutist, who holds both a flageolet and a clarinet, interrupts him
and asks, how could he have guessed that he preferred the clarinet?
The works of art that Miller collected complemented his collection of flutes. As a print collector, he found the works of certain artists or a certain "state" of an
engraving less important than the subject matter of the images and the instruments represented in them. Proof of this is the way in which Miller organized the
iconography collection: not by century or by artist, but by theme, with such categories as "Animals," "Caricatures and Cartoons," "Exotic Instruments," "Pan,"
"Costumes," " Mythological," "Japanese and Chinese," and so forth.
Ever meticulous in documenting his collections, however, Miller did create a card-file index for the iconography collection that is cross-indexed alphabetically
by artist and chronologically by acquisition number. Miller recorded on each card the artist's name, title, the work's medium, measurements, and source, and
often included a brief description of the scene. A cursory survey of the card-file index and Miller's ledger book suggests that the iconography collection ranges
from the late fifteenth to the early twentieth century and from works by Dürer and Hogarth to covers from the Saturday Evening Post. As well as fine-art works,
then, the collection contains what are termed "ephemera"--greeting cards, magazine covers, engraved plates or title pages from books, and photographs of art
works from museum collections. Most of the engravers, etchers, and lithographers mentioned in Miller's card file and ledger book are not well known today,
but many studied with important artists and their work was highly regarded in their own day.
Many of the thirty-three works on paper represented here were included in The Pipers: An Exhibition of Engravings, Watercolors and Lithographs from the
Dayton C. Miller Collection, held at the Library of Congress in 1977, and they represent some of the finest and most important works in the Dayton C. Miller
Archival reproductions of images from the Dayton C. Miller Iconography Collection are available from the Library of Congress Shop.
Martin Engelbrecht, 1684-1756
Flötten, Hautbois, Flachinett, Fagot, und Clarinett (Flutes, Oboe, Flageolet, Bassoon, and Clarinet), ca. 1720