Winslow Homer Civil War Art:
The Georgia Delegation in Congress
The illustration at right is an example of Winslow
Homer's work as a lithographer. The task of a lithographer was to
translate a photographic image into an image that could be printed in black
ink. Photographs have a wide spectrum of tones, ranging from white
through the gamut of grays and finally to black. In printing on paper, the
image must be represented by either the white background of the paper, or
the black of the ink. Gray tones, therefore, must be simulated by a
pattern of black lines that are drawn on the lithograph. The challenge
of the lithographer is to create the impression of a rich gamut of grays,
with only black lines to work with.
January 5, 1861 - Georgia Delegation in
Congress (Click on Image for an Enlarged View)
The task of the lithographer was not to create, or
interpret, but simply to reproduce, as accurately as possible, the image
captured in a photograph.
The image above is a lithograph created by Winslow
Homer for the cover of the January 5, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly.
Homer created the lithograph from photographs by Mathew Brady.
This illustration, therefore, takes on an important place in history,
due to the contributions of two of the most significant names in the art
world of the 1800's . . . Winslow Homer and Mathew Brady. The image is
of the Georgia Congressional Delegation. The image is significant,
in that is was published days before Georgia seceding from the Union.
The image has Homer's distinctive signature in the lower left corner.
The signature can be seen if you click on the image for a larger view.
The caption indicates that the lithograph was created from photographs
by Mathew Brady.
The illustration was creates a sense of foreboding .
. . there are no smiles on the faces of the Georgia Delegation, and by
the end of the year ushered in with this illustration the Nation would
be embroiled in the bloodiest conflict of its history.
A Note to our Readers
We acquired the images above for the
purpose of digitally persevering them on this site for all to enjoy.
With the digital archive complete, we are making the original, 140 year
old illustrations available for purchase. By selling these
original illustrations, we are able to acquire more material to archive
on this site. If you are interested in purchasing one of the
original Harper's Weekly leafs on this page, contact
leafs are available for a price of $250 a piece, and the proceeds will go to continue to expand the
resources on this site.