Charles Joseph Hullmandel

Born 1789
Died 1850
Place of Birth Mayfair, Westminster
Place of Death London
Gender Male
Biographical Notes From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Lithographer, was born on 15 June 1789 in Queen Street, Mayfair, Westminster, one of the two children of Nicolas-Joseph Hüllmandel (1756–1823), a German composer and keyboard performer, and Camille-Aurore Ducazan, niece of the receiver-general of France. His parents left France on the eve of the revolution and settled in London. By 1816 he was living with his father at 51 Great Marlborough Street, where, late in 1818 or early 1819, he set up a lithographic press. This remained his home and the principal address of his firm, though he also occupied no. 49 from around 1829 to the mid-1840s. After a private education and training as an artist in Paris, Hullmandel travelled extensively on the continent making drawings. Some of his Italian sketches were later developed as lithographs or paintings. Few of his drawings or paintings can be traced, though he exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and elsewhere between 1816 and 1826. On returning from one of his continental tours in 1817 he met the inventor of lithography, Senefelder, in Munich. This experience seems to have changed the direction of his life and, back in London, he began drawing on stone and, later, printing from it. His first lithograph, undated, is preserved in an album of his experiments in the St Bride Printing Library, London. His earliest published lithographs, a set of Twenty-Four Views of Italy (1818), were drawn on stone by him and printed at the press of Moser and Harris in Somers Town, London, but were published from Great Marlborough Street. He seems to have taken advantage of this publication to make himself familiar with lithographic printing, and soon afterwards he set up a press in his own home. From that point Hullmandel's professional life was devoted to lithography. With the guidance of F. Delpech and G. Engelmann in France, he soon became a capable lithographic draughtsman and a successful printer. One of his most important early publications was Britannia delineata (1822–3), which he worked on as a draughtsman with James Duffield Harding, Samuel Prout, and William Westall, in addition to printing all the lithographs. By this time he had established himself as the finest lithographic printer in Britain. By example and through his writing Hullmandel managed to inspire confidence among artists in a process that up until then had been regarded in Britain as unreliable. Among the many artists who had their lithographs printed at his press were Thomas Shotter Boys, Théodore Géricault, Harding, Richard Lane, Edward Lear, Prout, George Scharf, and James Ward. Initially Hullmandel worked as a lithographic draughtsman, making his own drawings on stone and translating those of others; as his firm grew he acted more as a proprietor and manager, and in this role he turned his own artistic experience to commercial advantage. His efforts to publicize lithography, and thereby his own activities, began with two books: a translation of the French manual of A. Raucourt de Charleville, Manual of Lithography (1820), and his own Art of Drawing on Stone (1824). The latter was extremely influential and ran to two further editions (1833, 1835). Most of the major improvements made to lithography in Britain in the 1820s and 1830s can be attributed to Hullmandel, and in this period he was also the most prolific printer of pictorial lithographs in the country. In the 1820s, aided by Michael Faraday as technical consultant and Harding as specialist lithographic draughtsman, Hullmandel developed ways of producing and preparing crayon-drawn lithographs so that they could withstand edition printing, and he also devised chemical methods of treating the stone that allowed corrections to be made to a drawing once printing had begun. In the mid-1830s, in co-operation with Harding, he pioneered methods of creating tonal effects on stone using a variety of techniques (stump, reserving lights with gum arabic, rubbing down tones with coarse cloth) that were taken up for the tint stones of tinted lithography, especially in skies. These developments put him at the forefront of European lithography. In the same period he printed colour plates for G. A. Hoskins's Travels in Ethiopia (1835), which were the first real colour lithographs to be published in Britain. His experiments in rendering tones and colour printing were put to good use in one of the major lithographic achievements of the middle of the nineteenth century, Boys's Picturesque Architecture in Paris … (1839), which he printed and probably masterminded technically. His final improvement to lithography was lithotint, which he patented in 1840. This was a technically exacting process which allowed artists to work on stone with washes of diluted ink much as they could on paper. Though not widely used, it had one major application in Harding's The Park and the Forest (1841). In the 1840s Hullmandel's firm lost its leading edge and faced strong competition from other lithographic houses. Around 1843 he went into partnership with Joseph Fowell Walton, to whom he left the lease on his premises in Great Marlborough Street, his patent rights, and his share in the business. The imprint Hullmandel and Walton continued in use for about a decade after his death. Hullmandel remained a bachelor and lived with his sister, (Adelaide Charlotte) Evelina (d. 1839), and his manager, the flower painter Valentine Bartholomew (1799–1879), until the two married in 1827. In the 1840s he also had, at different times, two modest country houses in Fulham. A lithographed portrait shows him as a serious and somewhat dour figure, though other evidence points to a gregarious and generous character who enjoyed the company of people from the worlds of science, music, and the visual arts, including Faraday, Manuel del Popolo Vicente Garcia, Lear, Maria Feliciá Malibran, and J. M. W. Turner. What is known about his business activities suggests that he was meticulous and put great demands on himself and others; obituary notices stress his honour and integrity. He died suddenly at Great Marlborough Street of a brain haemorrhage on 15 November 1850 and was buried in Highgate cemetery on 21 November.

Michael Twyman, ‘Hullmandel, Charles Joseph (1789–1850)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/14113, accessed 12 June 2013]

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Ardfinnan (Lithographer)