Up until the 1880s, most of the illustrations produced for the inside pages of books were made using woodcuts that were created by an engraver on a sheet of wood. Thus the images were interpretations, made by the engraver, of the image that had been created by the artist.
From that point on, and thanks to the recent advances made in photomechanical printing, illustrations could be reproduced directly, without any need for intermediaries.
On seeing that their drawings could be reproduced accurately and easily, many artists became professional illustrators. Pictures were no longer mere graphic complements to the text, they were now complete images that accompanied it.
In Catalonia, while older illustrators such as Apel·les Mestres, Josep Lluís Pellicer, Alexandre de Riquer and Josep Pascó continued with the tradition, younger artists like Adrià Gual, Josep Triadó, Joaquim Renart, Ismael Smith and many others began working in the world of book illustration.
At that time, the Catalan illustrated book achieved a great quality and images were present everywhere: inside the books, on their covers and their bindings.
Josep Pascó i Mensa (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, 1855 – Barcelona, 1910)
Cover for Els sots feréstechs, by Raimon Casellas. Barcelona, Tobella & Costa, 1901
Printed on paper
Biblioteca de Catalunya, Barcelona