Sunday, 5 March 2017

Piranesi Vases and Urns are classic Heritage Editions artwork.

From 1745 Giovanni Battista Piranesi restored and sold Roman antiquities at his workshop on the Corso in Rome. He also created his own classical-style structures and created etchings of them for publication.

Having had the benefit of the finest teachers, and classical architectural training, his ability as an artisan and etcher, and his dedication to the recording and restoring of Roman antiquities, led to his being elected honorary a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London in 1757.

Piranesi’s love of classical structures was reflected in his imaginative restoration of the antiquities he found. He used elements from antique Roman carvings on his stonework commissions for his patrons and collectors. Piranesi was also commissioned to do restoration work at the Vatican. In 1766 Pope Clement XIII recognized the quality of Piranesi's work when he awarded him the Order of the Spur... after which Giovanni Battista Piranesi usually signed his work Cavalier Piranesi.

Piranesi was a graphic artist of technical brilliance and great expressive range. He gained recognition for his superb etchings, in which he emulated the method of intaglio engraving when he drew a series of even parallel lines similar to those produced manually with a burin in engraving. Piranesi's style of etching gave him the freedom of drawing as his needle pierced the resin (wax) ground over the copperplate. An acid-wash etched through the carved lines, and provided great flexibility in creating irregular or varied lines and strongly defined tonal contrasts.

These illustrations are Heritage Editions Urns - prints of the stone masonry by Piranesi. At right is a Heritage Editions reproduction of an Antique Vase and Cinerary Urn Plinth, printed from an etching entitled In Inghilterra presso il Signor Dalton Cavaliere Inglese  (Presented in England to English gentleman by the name of Dalton) - by the first great artist of Romanticism, Giovanni Battista Piranesi for 'Antique Ornaments'  (Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi y Sarcofagi, Tripodi, Lucerne ed Ornamenti Antichi), published in Rome circa 1773-1778.

Giambattista Piranesi is perhaps most famous today for his superb prints of Vases - usually referred to as Urns.  Original 18th century etchings of these are available from Antique Print Club. Not always available - or affordable - Heritage Editions reproduction prints are wonderful substitutes. They are inexpensive and suit even contemporary décor.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Botanical illustrations. Australian.. or bright and cheerful.

Botanical illustration is universally appreciated – by all cultures and by all ages. Over the years as more people move to the cities our pace of life or place of residence no longer allows us to watch a bird, butterfly or beetle, or to observe a beautiful bloom as it grows. The wonders of nature are around us every day but unless you have your own garden it is usually only those who plan trips to botanic gardens or the countryside who are able to enjoy them.

On the other hand, antique prints of nature can be studied - without any knowledge of their technical, scientific, or historic value. If we are not interested in the rarity of antique prints, the way they were made, and even the precious hand-made paper of early prints, we can still appreciate their beauty, in the inexpensive reproduction prints that have been made from them to make them more readily available.

The most popular of all Australian botany prints are undoubtedly the Banksias – named after the great English botanist Sir Joseph Banks who funded much of the first voyage of Captain Cook, and accompanied this important voyage when Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770. While their ship Endeavour was laid up for repairs near Cooktown, after being damaged on the Barrier Reef, Banks and the other scientists on the voyage travelled around the countryside observing and recording the terrain and the fauna and flora. It is no wonder that original hand-coloured copperplate engravings of early natural history studies are so precious; but less rare, less expensive, and equally decorative, are the Heritage Editions and Decorator Art prints of Australian flowers. There are many to choose from..

Perhaps three or four small prints of an Iris or Lily have greater appeal? They can even be framed together in one frame for a grand focal point. There are 10 of these Heritage Editions elegant botanical studies by Curtis to choose from… or else, around a group of 5 large prints from Basil Besler’s 17th century studies of flowers that are beautifully displayed with their bulbs and roots for added character, and with their names in flourishing script.

For colour and drama, choose from the 17th and 18th century illustrations for plant catalogues. With several images to a page they produce an entirely different effect – particularly when hung together on a wall: 6 brightly-coloured vertical prints of plants with bulbs by Johann De Bry, and four elegant horizontal groups of flowers by Filippo Arena are prints from some of the finest botanical engravings ever done.

For an entirely different effect and particularly suited to kitchens or family rooms, 4 illustrations by Volckamer show brightly-coloured citrus fruit (some cut to show the inside), with their names on ribbons, floating above the European estates where they were grown in the eighteenth century. 

A group of botanical studies can be a centrepiece in any room or even above a bed. One large Besler flower study each side of a bed or each side of a piece of furniture against a wall in any room look really stylish. A single small print or even a pair can add charm to a kitchen, bathroom, laundry, or even the smallest room in the house. Bring the beauty of nature inside all year round – either with bright colour or elegant subtlety.

U/V blocking glass is now available to prevent fading and damage of all your artwork. Conservation framing is worth the extra cost for long-term enjoyment. Your artwork can improve the atmosphere of any room. If you need help please get in touch. We’d be happy to help you.

Friday, 17 February 2017

John Gould Birds of Australia.

John Gould bird illustrations include the finest illustrations ever done of Australian birds. Starting in 1830 when he was twenty-six, for over fifty years Englishman John Gould (1804-1881) published fifteen superb works on the birds of the world, and became known as The Bird Man. In 1909 The Gould League of Bird Lovers in Australia was named in honour of the father of Australian birds John Gould and the mother of Australian birds, his artist wife Elizabeth Gould (1804-1841).
At fourteen, John Gould began work as an apprentice gardener with his father in the Windsor Royal Gardens. The British Museum’s zoology collection at Tring in Hertfordshire still contains magpies that were shot and stuffed by Gould during his first year. He showed entrepreneurial skill at a young age by selling stuffed birds to the sons of aristocracy at nearby Eton College. After gardening at Ripley Castle in Yorkshire, Gould opened business in London and became a successful taxidermist. He even stuffed birds for King George IV.

At the age of twenty-two Gould was appointed Curator Preserver of the new Museum of the Zoological Society in London. Inspired by a collection of Himalayan birds that was neither described nor illustrated, Gould enlisted Edward Lear (who had worked as an artist at the Zoological Society from the age of 16), to train Gould’s artist wife Elizabeth, in the art of lithography.


Gould had an excellent eye for scientific detail as well as colour. Aware of his limitations as an artist, Gould employed fine bird illustrators to produce 3,000 beautiful hand-coloured lithographic plates of birds from different families and different regions of the world. Elizabeth Gould lithographed over 600 plates, and drew sketches for hundreds more - until she died after the birth of their eighth child.

With great business acumen John Gould enlisted financial support from over 300 contemporary naturalists, museums in England and Europe, and British nobility, for his expeditions around the world and the grand publications of magnificent hand-coloured lithographs of birds.

John Gould Birds of Australia are now available as inexpensive Heritage Editions prints. 500 of each bird were colour-printed, the same size as the originals.


Heritage Editions Australian Limited Edition Maps

Bowen c1744. 1st English map of Australia

Heritage Editions Limited Editions maps have been reprinted from antique maps that reported some of the most important milestones in the discovery of Australia.

Many individuals contributed to the publication of original antique maps when the journals and charts of a voyage were originally published. A map may have been surveyed by a navigator on a voyage, drawn by a cartographer (literally, map-drawer), and then carved into a metal plate by an engraver after the ship returned home. Sometimes one or more specialist map illustrators were employed to draw and engrave embellishments for more important maps. After they were printed the maps were often published for an atlas, or a travel book recording voyages of discovery. This would have involved an editor who compiled the book or atlas, and a publisher who organized the printing and binding. If the map was important it was sometimes published in more than one country. This involved additional editors and publishers – and sometimes also engravers when the map was re-engraved.
Cook c1770. 1st chart of eastern Australia 'New South Wales' & Cape Tribulation to Endeavour Straits
If a map required updating following later discoveries, the updated section of the engraved copperplate would be beaten or ground flat, and re-engraved for re-publication. Each antique maps is considered to be an original map of the date of its publication. “Original” indicates that a map was printed onto a piece of paper from an engraved plate at the original publication date specified. 
John Oxley c1823. Brisbane River chart

It is always nice to be able to buy an original antique copperplate engraving of an important early map or chart. However, not only is this sometimes not possible owing to limited funds, it is also sometimes not practical as there is only a limited number of pieces of paper surviving and some are rarely seen outside museums or other public institutions.

Later edition reproduction prints of these important maps have been reprinted as Limited Editions. Because of their importance, for wider enjoyment, the above maps are now available as Heritage Editions. Printed in small numbers, these are now referred to as modern Limited Editions. 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Inigo Jones architecture. Royal Palace, Whitehall.

A pair of superb Heritage Editions architectural prints have been reproduced from the finest pair of long elevations by Inigo Jones. Printed with brilliant finish on heavy white paper, with very large borders around each image, the paper size is 445 x 985mm (17 ½ x 38 ¾ inches). As we have difficulty with providing images of large prints we show mainly the printed area. The colour of the upper one is more realistic, but we guarantee you will appreciate their quality!

The Palladian architecture of northern Italy strongly influenced the architectural designs of Inigo Jones (1573-1652), who is today considered the father of classical English architecture.

From 1605 Inigo Jones was theatrical designer and architect for the royal courts of James I and Charles II. In 1615 he was appointed royal surveyor general. During two trips to Italy, he had studied the Palladian style of architecture in northern Italy. His architectural commissions in London included St Paul’s Church (now commonly known as the Actors’ Church) and Covent Garden which he designed as an Italian-style Piazza (since much-altered).

The first professional English architect, Inigo Jones was greatly influenced by classical style. Jones considered that strict mathematical proportion should control plan, elevation and all structure. Rejecting completely the previous Gothic and Tudor styles, Inigo Jones designed structures of great elegance. The first of Inigo Jones’s buildings to incorporate the Palladian style, was the Queen’s House, a former royal residence on the river at what was to become Greenwich. It was the first English building in the classical-style, and still has the original marble floor and beautiful Tulip staircase. The Great Hall of the Queen’s House is perfectly proportioned. Built between 1616 and 1635, Queen’s House is considered to be the finest architectural design by Inigo Jones, and it is now a Grade 1 listed building. Today it houses part of the National Maritime Museum which is one of the Royal Museums of Greenwich.

St Paul’s Cathedral in London is also a classic Inigo Jones design. At its entry was a large portico supported by Tuscan columns. Unfortunately St Paul’s cathedral was also rather burnt, but has since been restored. In 1638 Inigo Jones completed new designs for the Royal Palace, Whitehall. From 1530 to 1698, the Royal Palace at Whitehall was the main London royal residence. The palace was of beautiful proportions. With over 1,500 rooms it was the largest palace in Europe when, except for the Banqueting House, it was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1663.

Inigo Jones designed forty-five superb buildings in London. Of these only seven are still standing. Even though his buildings were destroyed, we can still enjoy the beauty of his work - both elevations and floorplans, since between 1715 and 1767, Colen Campbell published a series of superb copperplate engravings by Henrik Hulsbergh and P. Fourdrinier from prominent London architect Henry Flitcroft’s drawings of Inigo Jones’s architectural plans. Many of these original copperplate engravings of Inigo Jones’s superb architectural designs for elevations and floorplans of the Royal Palace at Whitehall are available from Antique Print Club at

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Heritage Editions: Fine Art - Low Cost

Derek and Kathryn Nicholls have been dealing in antique prints and maps for over thirty years. Antique Print Club offers thousands of antique maps and prints: original engravings or lithographs of most subjects and styles up to 400 years old.

Old maps and prints are beautiful, interesting and entertaining. Early prints were made on hand-made paper and hand-coloured with ochres that were made from nature. Because paper is vulnerable to damage, their rarity steadily increases. If you would like to find out more about the processes that were involved in making antique maps and prints, just visit our Antique Print Club Library at

Heritage Editions inexpensive reproductions and Limited Editions were printed from rare antique prints and maps so that they are readily available with the same decorative appeal of antique maps and prints. 

Heritage Editions Limited Edition maps chart the discovery of Australia, including Captain Cook's East Coast and John Oxley's Brisbane River. Not only are important original antique maps very rarely seen, but they are unaffordable for many people. Heritage Editions maps and prints are inexpensive and available to anyone.
Heritage Editions artwork never goes out of fashion. Classic style enhances modern decor - perhaps even more than traditional. As with all artwork Heritage Editions remain in as good condition as when bought, if framed with conservation materials, including U/V protective glass to prevent fading from ultraviolet light when hung in brightly lit areas.

Heritage Editions maps & prints provide inexpensive elegant gifts; or supply commercial quantities and multiple item orders at trade prices.
To view the complete
range available we suggest a visit to Neranwood (off Springbrook Road in the Gold Coast Hinterland).
0412 442 283, or Email Kathryn at 

Heritage Editions maps and prints can be bought online, but remember that website images never look as good as the real thing.
If we can be of assistance, just let us know.

We hope we can help you with your next project or present!

Kathryn & Derek Nicholls (Directors)