a

Landscape Alphabet by Charles Joseph Hullmandel/ all photos from British Museum.

Charles Joseph Hullmandel, who died in 1850, was one of the forefathers of British lithography. His name is on thousands of lithographic prints from the early 1800s. He was apparently well-known for creating a method for printing subtle shifts in tones and reproducing the effect of light washes. This enabled the print reproduction of Romantic landscape paintings.

Among Hullmandel’s thousands of prints is a fascinating series on the alphabet in landscape form. Each letter is a story. They are among the goodies found on the British Museum web site.

For the letter A, we see three figures around a fire at the edge of a pond (see image above). The outline of the letter is vegetated.

C is for a castle on a cliff, with waves crashing and clouds curling.

c
The letter E is a “ruinous gate,” a broken arch magically hanging in the air. Two men point at the ruin.

e
M returns us to natural splendor, with willows and spruce. Ducks linger under the trees.

m
The letter Q shows us a stone bridge over a winding river, with hills covered in trees.

q
W is another romantic ruin; this time a gate with trees growing away from it.

w
Z is a pastoral scene of a cozy hut with smoking chimney set within a forest.

z

Explore the full set.