Chromolithography

An example of chromolithography on the Windsor menu

The artwork on these menus varied and featured imagery and typography characteristic of the late Victorian era, with children, animals, and scenery that frequently emphasized sweetness and nostalgia.

Thanksgiving dinner menu, 1883Thanksgiving dinner menu, 1883.

Historically, the nineteenth century was an era of great progress in graphic design due to new technologies made possible by the industrial revolution. Color lithography or chromolithography, which enabled the reproduction of color images, was one of the major developments of this time period, and, along with the explosion of typographic sizes and letterform styles, was responsible for the revolution in graphic design that took place during the Victorian era.

Notably, many of the menus in the Bohn-Bettoni Collection are from the period known as the heyday of chromolithography: 1860-1900.