The fourth and fifth decades of the 19th Century are better known for technological innovations, rather than cultural or artistic revolutions. Railroads and the telegraph, in particular, heralded the real beginnings of the modern era. For the first time, goods and information could move faster than the speed of a horse; everything that followed was hugely influenced by these changes.

Both culturally and historically, this was a period of taking a deep breath before the major changes of the last half of the century. Europe was still ruled by the monarchs of the Restoration — not happily, which would be reflected in the revolutions of 1848. Marx and Engeld published their Communist Manifesto also in 1848; but its effects would not be felt for a few years.

Artistically, the Romantic movements were in decline, but the revolutions of Expressionism were still unimagined. Instead, there were notable changes in the direction of a realism far beyond previous such movements. Major examples were the drawings of John James Audubon, and the invention of photography.

By the way, the dark blue and brown colors of these pages are from the very drab (to my modern eye) Victorian palette of the era. And the typefaces: well, let’s just say that everything in those days had serifs.