Photo of George Baxter

George Baxter

Le Blond Ovals

In the nineteenth century, George Baxter's innovative process for improving colour printing using wooden blocks lay in building up a series of tints, one after the other, with the aid of engraved wooden blocks, upon a perfect impression of a steel or copper-plate engraving. For this he obtained a patent in 1835. Falling upon hard times Baxter sold licenses for using his process to several printers, one of whom was Le Blond and Company. This firm was recognized as the most important of the Baxter licensees because its work was nearest to Baxter's in style and quality. Le Blond & Co produced the well-known Le Blond Baxters in 1868, by acquiring Baxter's original plates and blocks and erasing the original Baxter signature. These prints were of inferior quality; the prints which made Le Blond famous were the Le Blond Ovals.

In these prints, Le Blond & Co introduced a completely individual manner of production and style , breaking away from the Baxter tradition. The Ovals, a set of thirty-two prints, each measure six and a half by five inches and are printed in the centre of a mount ten by eight inches. Each picture is surrounded by an embossed rim, and the title and serial number of the print are embossed in a small panel in the bottom right-hand corner of the mount.

The subject of the Ovals presents a nostalgic picture of rural life in the early nineteenth century. The foreground of each picture is dominated by the subject matter of the title, the background is uncluttered, with just sufficient detail to complete the picture. The Ovals are well produced, brilliant in colour and have become collectors' items, competing as they did, in terms of popularity, with Baxter's prints. The Pratt Library has acquired twenty-one of the Le Blond Ovals for its Baxter collection.

from Mitzman, Max E. George Baxter and the Baxter Prints.
Newton Abbot, [Eng]: David & Charles, 1978.

List of the ovals at the EJ Pratt Library

Item # Title
49 The Image Boy
50  'Please remember the Grotto'. 
72  Good News 
73  The Burning-Glass
74  Blowing Bubbles 
75  Pet Rabbits 
76  The Blackberry Gatherers 
77  Soldier's Return 
79  The Gleaners 
80 The Millstream -- Towing the Prize 
81  The Cherry Seller 
82  The Pedler [sic] 
83   Showman
85  May Day
88  The Village Spring
89  Snowballing
90  The Fisherman's Hut
91  Waiting at the Ferry
92  The Swing
93  The Bird's Nest
99  Grandfather's Pipe
101  Sunday Morning
103  The Dancing Dogs



Grandmother's Snuff Box