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Book Arts Collection

A guide to discovering artists' books in the Book Arts Collection at Hill Memorial Library.

About Lithography

Lithography was created by Alois Senefelder in 1796. It comes from the Ancient Greek lithos meaning "stone" and graphein meaning "to write." Traditional methods of lithography uses limestone or marble upon which an image is drawn with a greasy material. Next, the image is etched into the stone using a weak acid, like gum arabic (you might recognize this material as the binder in watercolors!). Because water and grease repel each other, an oil-based ink can be used to ink up an image on a wet stone, which can then be transferred to paper or another material using a lithography press.

The process of lithography has evolved though the years. Fine artists still use the traditional techniques of drawing on stone, but they also have commercial techniques like plate lithography and offset lithography available to them as well. The first gallery contains examples of stone lithography in our Book Arts Collection, and the second gallery contains plate and offset lithography examples.

Try a Search with these Subject Headings:
Offset lithography
Offset lithography--Specimens

Stone Lithography

Black and white lithograph of depressed


Van Vliet, Claire. Greed. Vermont : Janus Press, 2013.
N7433.4 .V275 G74 2013

Accordion structure with additional panels that unfold to reveal lead and wood type collage text. Four of the leaves are illustrated with Van Vliet's black and white stone lithographs of distorted faces: a propagandist, a lobbyist, a banker, and Joe Public.

black and white winter landscapes


Griffiths, Bill. Winter. Market Drayton: Tern Press, 2000.
PB2281 .W56 2000 OVER, Rare

Black and white stone lithography illustrations paired with Welsh poetry. Bound in cork and leather.

The Inconstant Moon: Poems to the Moon

Mark, Enid. The Inconstant Moon: Poems to the Moon. Philadelphia, Pa. : ELM Press, 2007.
N7433.4 .M358 I63 2007 FLAT, Rare

Moon themed poetry and illustrations by Enid Mark via lithograph. The center illustration -- this one -- is a stone lithograph on black paper. The other illustrations were printed by offset lithography. "The drawing of the lunar landscape is based on a photograph of the southern hemisphere of the moon as seen by the crew of the Apollo 15, July-August 1971." --Colophon

Observations of Anxiety, Distance, Scale and Language...

Ray, Michelle. Observations of Anxiety, Distance, Scale and Language... Tuscaloosa, Ala.: [Michelle Ray], 2011.
N7433.4 .R39 O27 2011, Rare

Windows in valley folds can be reversed for a simplified tunnel book element. "Created in response to the April 27, 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa, AL and the anxieties that ensued. Images and text created with lithography and photopolymer plates on handmade cotton, abaca & gampi papers." --Artist's statement


McPherson, Sandra. Floralia. Portland, Or. (3733 NE 24th Ave., Portland, Or. 97212) : Trace Editions ; West Burke, Vt. : Janus Press, 1985.
PS3563 .A326 F5 1985, Rare

Claire Van Vliet of Janus Press collaborated with Sandra McPherson in several works. This item features hand-colored lithographs and a printed, cloth binding.

Male nude in black and white lithography

Disasters of Love: A Defense of Delilah

Kuch, Michael. Disasters of Love: A Defense of Delilah. Asparagus Valley [Hadley, Mass.]: Double Elephant Press, 2005.
N7433.4 .K825 D57 2005 FLAT, Rare

"The etchings reference art historical works and relate to the poem by myth and metaphor. The entire Hebrew text from Judges is incorporated into these intaglios. Between the columns of the text, twelve lithographs from stone depict the brutish Samson engaged in his Herculean labors." -- Artist's statement

Images and description on artist's website:

Flowering Time: A Poem

Johnson, W. R. Flowering Time: a Poem. West Burke, Vt. : Janus Press, 1976.
PS3560 .O3865 F58, Rare

Color stone lithography by Claire Van Vliet. This is a typical example of Van Vliet's poetry books from this time period -- one poem printed with lead type via letterpress featuring two or three illustrations.

Additional Lithography Processes

MZLK: The Tours

Freeman, Brad. MZLK: The Tours. [New Haven, Conn. : B. Freeman, 1997]
N7433.4 .F7 M9 1997, Rare

Many printmaking technologies were used first for commercial purposes before being explored by artists. Offset lithography is an example more commonly used in commercial processes. While the product may look very different, the planographic technique based on oil repelling water is still the fundamental commonality between stone lithography and offset lithography. In this work, Brad Freeman plays with color separations and photomontage while discussing his personal history with lithography through offset lithography.


O'Callaghan, Julie. Well-heeled. London ; [West Burke], Vt. : Gefn Janus Unltd., 1998, c1985.
PS3565 .C34 W45 1998, Rare

Lithographs with tusche washes by Susan Johanknecht. "This is a half-size facsimile of the original edition and was printed by offset lithography at the Stinehour Press." --Colophon

The Inconstant Moon: Poems to the Moon

Mark, Enid. The Inconstant Moon: Poems to the Moon. Philadelphia, Pa. : ELM Press, 2007.
N7433.4 .M358 I63 2007 FLAT, Rare

Moon themed poetry and illustrations by Enid Mark via lithograph. Most lithographs in this book are printed via offset lithography (such as the image pictured here), but the centerfold image is a stone lithograph on black paper. "The images of the star fields are from photographs in the Atlas of the Milky Way (1934)." --Colophon

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