This is an awesome letterpress block with fabulous detail. The dress is very striking and along the second to last row there are what looks to be treble clefs along the line. You should be able to see them from the photo. She is wearing bows in her hair and along her waist. This is a very unique block and has great charm.
This block is marked "291 IPEU".
We will be listing a number of these great blocks that we purchased as a lot. All have similar characteristics (wood, patina, tacks, and plate) and look to be made by the same company or person. Some are marked with the IPEU standard marking, but some are not. It is our thought that all are IPEU made, but I will note the ones that are marked along with the number associated.
The I.P.E.U. is the International Photo Engravers Union of North America and was formed in 1904 to represent halftone photoengravers in the printing industry. They merged with the ALA (Amalgamated Lithographers of America) in 1964. That puts an age of all of these from 1904 to 1964. My guess is most are between the 1930s and 1950s.
Wood engraving had always been the standard in the publishing industry, but with the arrival of photography and halftone printing a new graphic worker emerged. Halftone printing began to takeover for wood printing by the end of the 1800s.
This technique used by the IPEU provides a great amount of detail not present in wood blocks.
All of these blocks are in the condition I acquired them and I will not be posting an example of what the block prints on paper. I want these to arrive in the most original condition I can to you. Many of them have a blue hue and I am not sure if that is due to never being used or a blue ink. My thought is that these have never been used, but I cannot say for sure.
Many of these blocks have very crude cuttings making them look very handmade and unique. I am not sure if there is reason for this or why they are this way. I have detailed pictures of many of the blocks.
Please let us know if there are any questions.
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