July, August, September 2021


INERT PRESS is a FREE and INDEPENDENT online gallery dedicated to the preservation and EXHIBITION of print illustrations from the century 1850 to 1950.

OUR INTENT is to showcase the remarkable skills of often unattributed photographers, artists, illustrators, and printmakers who brought image to print.

Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Magazine was a monthly periodical available by subscription that catered to the interests of women and the harmonious achievement of domestic tranquility. It was first printed in Philadelphia in 1830 by Louis A. Godey, who continued in the role of publisher until 1878. The magazine was widely circulated prior to the Civil War, and in 1860 it enjoyed the support of 150,000 subscribers. It was the preeminent lady’s magazine of it’s time.

At year’s end the twelve monthly magazines were bound in date order into a hard cover book form, sold as an annual, and referred to as Godey’s Lady’s Book. It included poetry, musical compositions, short stories, and illustrated depictions of daily life. It also contained patterns for clothing, embroidery, and sewing.

The illustrations on exhibit are from a specimen of the Lady’s Book for the year 1870. The page size is approximately 6″ X 9″. The black and white illustrations were produced by means of engraving on a metal plate that took the image to press. These images are approximately 4.5″ X 6.5″ and are only a small sample of the wide variety of illustrations found abundantly throughout the publication. Under magnification the images reveal much greater detail than expected, including a fine “gauzy” dot pattern, and a level of detail that is almost microscopic. The plates were engraved and printed using then state of the art techniques and equipment.

Images were scanned at 600 dpi with 24 bit color using the Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner. Image files were edited to a uniform aspect ratio but were not altered or manipulated in any way. Magnified detail, and image clarity are due to the density of the scan.

Make the most of the exhibit

Click any image to open it’s media file to full size in another tab. Click again within the new tab to reveal a magnified view with navigation.

Fashion Plates

The fold-out color pages found in each issue give evidence to the elegant refinement of 1870 lady’s clothing in the post Civil War period. These pages are twice the size of the individual page measuring approximately 9″ X 12″. They were folded and then bound into the magazine on the left edge.

The base image was printed in black and white with flat colors added by means of separate tint plates. No dot pattern or line is evident in the magnification of the color plates.

These illustrations in a fold-out form were an eagerly anticipated feature of the magazine providing the reader with a depiction of good taste in the seasonal changes of ladies apparel.

The Gallery

The Cow Doctor
Joseph’s Coat Brought To Jacob
Waiting At The Ferry
The Village Doctor

An evocative pastoral simplicity and a highly refined engraving technique give a sense of natural realism to the illustrations.

Going Home
The Cavallier
First Time Of Asking
The Butter Cup Verdict
Louis A. Godey – Publisher
Our Contributors
Godey’s Fashions For January 1870
Godey’s Fashions For February 1870
Godey’s Fashions For March 1870
Godey’s Fashions For April 1870
Godey’s Fashions For May 1870
Godey’s Fashions For June 1870
Godey’s Fashions For July 1870
Godey’s Fashions For August 1870
Godey’s Fashions For September 1870
Godey’s Fashions For October 1870
Godey’s Fashions For November 1870
Godey’s fashions For December 1870