Monday, 27 August 2012

Bonnie Scotland and the Strobridge Litho Co.


A slight departure post this time. Some of you may or may not know that I do a bit of graphic design work, this mainly consists of creating designs that go on POD (Print on Demand) products like t-shirts, mousemats, etc. There are various links to my stores for such on the blog sidebar here, as well as on my website. Feel free to have a look if you have a bit of time.

Recently though, I've been concentrating on more arty digital work and launched a new online store selling large sized quality prints and canvases, again, link on sidebar if interested. Most of this work is based on digital imagery of buildings or landmarks that interest me, or just something that catches my eye. There is a wealth of imagery and photography out there, in the public domain, and some of the images are as professional as can be, though some, especially older examples, do need a bit of work.

Which brings me to today's topic. I discovered these old theatre advertising posters by the Strobridge Litho Company in the USA, the headings of 'Bonnie Scotland' caught my eye. Due to their age though (circa 1895), they are not of the greatest quality now. I've noticed they are offered for sale on a number of websites and POD stores on the internet, but of the stores I've glanced at, no one has taken any effort to enhance and brighten the images up, though I will say my research is in no way extensive, so I may have missed some. Anyway, I thought I would have a go myself. Obviously, below, the original image is on the left, my reworking on the right!

'Here's to the King of Glen and Crag.' and 'Arrival of the Regiments.'


I haven't discovered a great deal of information of the Strobridge Litho Company, or who actually created the original works, though at one time, the company was one of America's most important lithography firms. Its signature products were circus, theater, and movie posters. The firm was founded by Elijah Middleton, and by 1854, he had taken on as partners a lithographer, W.R. Wallace, and local bookseller Hines Strobridge. (More Here)

The artist and cartoonist, Matthew Somerville Morgan, also joined the company of Strobridge in 1880, so perhaps he may have had a hand in the originals, when I have some spare time I may spend a bit researching more information.(More Here)

'At Paldy's Fair.' and 'Come Under My Plaidie.'



My own efforts are by no means exhaustive, and obviously the more time one spends on such a venture, and the more care one takes, the better the results will be. I am fairly happy with my own results to date, and the full sized images I have completed are sized at 20x30 or 30x40 inches. Most of the work was done using Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which is a fantastic application, all the more so because it is free.(Info Here)

'Humphrey Accuses Buchanan.' and 'Jean MacFarlane Stays Her Brother's Hand.'



I may or may not offer the full sized enhanced images for sale, the above examples are greatly reduced to speed page loading time and save on file size. I would like to experiment a bit more with these images, and others, and glean more experience. Any constructive feedback is always welcome.

More Links:
One source of the original images above is in the American Library of Congress
More images from the Strobridge Lithographing Co.

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