Two-Way Paintings

Two-way paintings are also very unusual examples of fore-edge paintings. The edges of the book were decorated when the pages of the book were opened in the middle. In order to see each image clearly the text block needs to be fanned up and then down or to the right and then the left depending on the orientation of the painting.

Above, a two-way painting is shown fanning both paintings in a single direction. Notice, the bottom painting is clearly visible, while the top image in indistinct.

 

Above, a two-way painting showing one of its two paintings.

 

This is a fine example of a two-way fore-edge painting. When the book is opened in the center, two paintings appear: one on either side of the divide. Each of the two sides is also a split painting, leaving the full painting divided into four separate quarters. Each quarter depicts a scene from the book and an accompanying portrait inlay. On the left, the first quarter shows the Ploughman from the “Georgies” of Virgil and a portrait of Virgil himself. The second quarter shows Cicero addressing the Senate, inlayed with a portrait of Cicero . The right side depicts the destruction of Pompeii with a portrait of Pliny in one quarter, and the crossing of the Alps with an insert of a portrait of Hannibal in the other, so this unique work actually contains eight paintings! (Browne, R.W. A History of Classical Literature . London : Richard Bentley & Son, 1884.) (From the George M. & Frances L. Gill Collection)

 

 

This two-way painting depicts Christopher Columbus and George Washington. (Richardson, Abby Sage. The History of Our Country: From Its Discovery by Columbus to the Celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of Its Declaration of Independence . Boston : H.O. Houghton and Company, 1875.) (From the George M. & Alice Gill Collection)

 

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last updated on April 5, 2006

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