'The Ant & Grasshopper. Against Idleness'
From 'The child's illuminated fable-book'
Published by William Smith, London
National Art Library Pressmark: 60.V.25
This ornate image is chromolithography at its most elaborate. An expensive process using a different stone to print each colour, chromolithography was first used just to print one or two overall colours. Later it was used for luxury colour-illustrated gift books from about 1840. The most ornate designs had dozens of bright colours, silver and gold. Cheaper methods replaced chromolithography after 1880.
Lithography, invented by Alois Senefelder in 1798, works on the principle that oil and water repel each other. A design is drawn onto smooth limestone using a greasy medium. The stone is wet and oily ink is applied with a roller. It sticks to the greasy lines but avoids the wet parts of the stone.