This 1868 engraving illustrated a story about winter activities.
(Illustration courtesy Plainfield Public Library.)
The Plainfield Public Library's current exhibit features Winslow Homer engravings that augment the Library's invaluable oil and watercolor originals.
In the days before photographs were used as magazine and newspaper illustrations, artists were commissioned to supply engravings to illustrate articles and stories. Winslow Homer, though known as a painter of seascapes and shore scenes, also took on these commercial assignments.
The Plainfield Public Library has a nearly complete set of the engravings Homer did for Harper's Weekly Magazine from the 1850s through the 1870s. The Library, which was established in the late 1800s, subscribed to the magazine and kept them all these years for their enormous research value. With the advent of the Internet, historic collections of 19th century magazines and journals became available online. The engravings were professionally removed years ago from copies of the publications in order to preserve them from theft or damage, but have never before been on display because of the cost of framing them.
Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Plainfield Cultural and Heritage Commission, the Library has been able to frame a selection of the engravings to mount the current exhibition.
The exhibit will remain on view to the public through March 31 in the Anne Louise Davis Gallery. Because the room is also used for community meetings and library activities, visitors are encouraged to phone ahead to check for a time when they can browse the exhibit at leisure. Call (908) 757-1111x136 for details.
The Plainfield Public Library is at Park Avenue and 8th Street.