Skip to main content
Ages 13+
Under 13

Pastoral Landscapes That Form an Elegant 19th Century Alphabet


Charles Joseph Hullmandel, lithography pioneer, drew a complete alphabet that gathered the idyllic landscape with the semantic exaltation of letters.

For all of us, letters have always been a form of expression and connotation, just like words themselves form new meanings. Typography, hence, is a type of proof of our long devotion to the alphabet and of our desire to manipulate the forms of the letters with the purpose of extolling them. Charles Joseph Hullmandel, author of The Landscape Alphabet, was one of the most influential lithographers of the nineteenth century. He published a wonderful book entitled The Art of Drawing on Stone, which became an essential manual for all the lithographers of the time as well as for those that came later. Hullmandel developed a model that reproduced tone differences and created the effect of soft watercolours, which enables the printed reproduction of romantic landscape paintings, made popular in England by Joseph Mallord William Turner.




This volume collects 26 idyllic landscapes, each one belonging to a single letter of the alphabet. The work now belongs to the British Museum and is available online via their digitalised collection website; it includes the entire miniature alphabet. The most notable characteristic of the series, which actually contains fields, castles, coastlines, ships and seascapes, is the softness used to contrast the cream coloured paper and the ink —the overall elegance the combination creates. In its entirety, the book enables the viewer to experience the symbolism of graphic signs and the history of lithography.

Related Articles