Friday, March 27th, 2015...5:08 pm

It’s the drapery, stupid!

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It’s been a loooong winter here in Cambridge. I don’t know, perhaps that is why when this particular waltz crossed my desk, the cover leapt out at me. The lithography and chromolithography of the 1840s and 50s sheet music covers can be simply breathtaking: I’m continually astonished by their sophistication and technical complexity. In this particular case, lithographer John Brandard has taken what might have been a simple image of a woman gazing down at a flower, and created a tour de force.

*2008TW-2095(76) Front cover

*2008TW-2095(76) Front cover

Just have a look at the drapery on her dress! The underskirt seems to have a satiny sheen to it, the stripes appear to alternate a shiny material with a less-shiny material, but zoomed in closer (simply click on the image) one can see that Brandard has achieved all of this through clever visual trickery. And all of this on a sheet music cover. No wonder Degas admired this guy, I do too. Just the thing to cheer me up on a gloomy, wet day.

[Thanks to Andrea Cawelti, Ward Music Cataloger, for contributing this post.]

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