Paul N. Quirk

The Woodcut Prints of Paul N. Quirk 1895 – 1982

Engraved or carved woodblock printing is centuries old and an ancient Chinese proverb states … “A picture is worth 10,000 words.”

As late as the 1940’s catalogue print illustrations of microscopes sold by American and European companies were printed from hand-engraved blocks of fine grained Boxwood.  Working from the basement of his home in Chicago, Paul Quirk was among the last generation of woodblock engravers.

In 1975 we commissioned Paul N. Quirk to illustrate our book The Atlas Catalogue of Replica Rara Ltd. Microscopes in Woodcut Prints 1675 to 1840. With failing eyesight and completion of this assignment, Mr. Quirk closed his engraver’s bench and retired to a home away from Chicago.  The detail of his work is remarkable, and never to be repeated.

Among his engravings, one of the most remarkable and detailed is the Withering Microscope of 1793. Directions for use of this simple box microscope are in print on the inner surface of its box cover. Hand-engraved in the obverse – letter by letter. The message begins with the words… “The Botany Microscope…” and continues for a total of more than 600 individually engraved letters.


History of the Microscope (1665 to 1830) Collection of 25 Woodcut Prints

History of the Microscope (1665 to 1830) Collection of 25 Woodcut Prints

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Price: $75.00

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