Select Early Woodblocks (1650-1850)
As a matter of fact, early carved woodblocks for printing have always been rarely found on the market. Their general scarcity, and especially on today’s market, is rather puzzling if one thinks that thousands of blocks have been produced by more or less skilled artists and craftsmen in order to print millions of illustrated sheets which, in most cases, had a popular character and were not meant to last for centuries. The study, appreciation and conservation of printing woodblocks has begun to emerge quite recently, and this new regard for the matter has highlighted how poorly this material has been investigated and how few are the surviving pieces in public institutions.
Indeed, woodblocks had never been considered artistically or documentarily important to the history of print and graphic illustration, and had been often intentionally destroyed or neglected, with the result that they are particularly rare finds today.