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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 325 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ILLUSTRES, the Latin name given to the highest magistrates of the later Roman Empire. The designation was at first its help being probably those of Gillot, at Paris, in the early 'eighties. The next stage was to be the invention of some means of reproducing wash drawings. To do this it was necessary for the surface of the block to be so broken up that every tone of the drawing should be represented thereon by a grain holding ink enough to reproduce it. This was finally accomplished by the insertion of a screen, in the camera, between the lens and the plate—the effect of which was to break up the whole surface of the negative into dots, and so secure, when printed on a zinc plate and etched, an approximation to the desired result. Half-tone blocks (as they were called) of this nature (see PROCESS) were used in the Graphic from 1884 and the Illustrated London News from 1885 onwards, the methods at first in favour being those of Meisenbach and Boussod Valadon and Co.'s phototype. Lemercier and Petit of Paris, Angerer and Goschl of Vienna, and F. Ives of Philadelphia also perfected processes giving a similar result, a block by the latter appearing in the Century magazine as early as 1882. Processes of this description had, however, been used for some years before by Henry Blackburn in his Academy Notes. ' During the decade 1875–1885, however, the main body of illustration was accomplished by wood-engraving, which a few years earlier had achieved such splendid results. Its artistic qualities were now at a rather low ebb, although good facsimile engravings of pen-drawings were not infrequent. The two great illustrated periodicals already referred to during that period relied more upon pictorial than journalistic work. An increasing tendency towards the illustration of the events of the day was certainly shown, but the whole purpose of the journal was not, as at present, subordinated thereto. The chief illustrated magazines of the time, Harper's, the Century, the English Illustrated, were also content with the older methods, and are filled with wood-engravings, in which, if the value of the simple line forming the chief quality of the earlier work has disappeared, a most astonishing delicacy and success were obtained in the reproduction of tone. Perhaps the most notable and most characteristic production of the time in England was colour-printing. The Graphic and the Illustrated London News published full-page supplements of high technical merit printed from wood-blocks in conjunction with metal plates, the latter sometimes having a relief aquatint surface which produced an effect of stipple upon the shading; metal was also used in preference to wood for the printing of certain colours. The children's books illustrated by Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane and hate Greenaway at this time are among the finest specimens of colour-printing yet seen outside of Japan; in them the use of flat masses of pleasant colour in connexion with a bold and simple outline was carried to a very high pitch of excellence. These plates were generally printed by Edmund Evans. In 1887 the use of process was becoming still more general; but its future was by no means adequately foreseen, and the blocks of this and the next few years are anything but satisfactory. This, it soon appeared, was due to inefficient printing on the one hand, and, on the other, to a want of recognition by artistsof the special qualities of drawing most suitable for photographic reproduction. The publication of Quevedo's Pablo de Segovia with illustrations by Daniel Vierge in 1882, although hardly noticed at the time, was to be a revelation of the possibilities of the new development ; and a serious study of pen-drawing from this point of view was soon inaugurated by the issue of Joseph Pennell's Pen Drawing and Pen Draughtsmen in 1889, followed in 1892 by C. G. Harper's English Pen Artists of To-day and in 1896 by Walter Crane's Decorative Illustration of Books. At this time also the influence of Aubrey Beardsley made itself strongly felt, not merely as a matter of style, but, by the use of simple line or mass of solid black, as an almost perfect type of the work most suitable to the needs of process. Wider experience of printing requirements, and finer workmanship in the actual making of the blocks, in Paris, Vienna, New York and London, soon brought the half-tone process into great vogue. The spread of education has enormously increased the demand for ephemeral literature, more especially that which lends itself to pictorial illustration; and the photograph or drawing in wash reproduced in half-tone has of late to a great extent ousted line work from the better class of both books and periodicals. Improvements in machinery have made it possible to print illustrations at a very high speed; and the facility with which photographs can now be taken of scenes such as the public delight to see reproduced in pictures has brought about an almost complete change in pictorial journalism. In addition, reference must be made to an extraordinary increase in the numbers and circulation of cheap periodical publications depending to a very large extent for popularity on their illustrations. Several of these, printed on the coarsest paper, from rotary machines, sell to the extent of hundreds of thousands of copies per week. It was inevitable that this cheapening process should not be permitted to develop without opposition, and the Dial (1889–1897) must be looked on as a protest by the band of artists who promoted it against the unintelligent book-making now becoming prevalent. Much more effective and far-reaching in the same direction was the influence of William Morris, as shown in the publications of the Kelmscott Press (dating from 1891). In these volumes the aim was to produce illustrations and ornaments which were of their own nature akin to, and thus able to harmonize with the type, and to do thin by pure handicraft informal, and not strictly differentiated from other marks of honour. From the time of Valentinian I. it became an official title of the consuls, the chief praefecti or ministers, and of the commanders-in-chief of the army. Its usage was eventually extended to lower grades of the imperial service, and to pensionaries from the order of the spectabiles. The Illustres were privileged to be tried in criminal cases by none but the emperor or his deputy, and to delegate procuratores to represent them in the courts. Sec O. Hirschfeld in Sitzungsberichte der Berliner Akademee (1901), p. 594 sqq.; and T. Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders (Oxford, 1892), i. 6o-6i.
End of Article: ILLUSTRES

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