Winter 2018

Hidden treasure

Two hours from Paris, the historic printing house Imagerie d’Épinal is reborn as the heart of a contemporary French brand

The original Images d’Épinal were the once ubiquitous ‘penny prints’ made in Épinal, a town in the Vosges region of northeastern France. Printed in black and white or in vivid colour, the prints depicted Napoleonic triumphs, children’s storybook scenes, saints, biblical tableaux and coloured cut-outs that can be assembled to make models of stages, buildings, soldiers and jumping jacks. They were the mass media of their time, eagerly acquired for their exotic subject matter and lurid colours. They were sold in shops and on street corners.


Nineteenth-century lithographic print of Russian infantrymen made by the Pellerin company in Épinal. Many of the Imagerie’s most popular prints were illustrated taxonomies of items from history, fashion and the natural world.
Top: To walk into the extensive underground cellars at Imagerie d’Épinal in northeastern France is to enter an Aladdin’s cave of printing history. The shelves of the huge storage space are stacked with heavy lithographic stones.


John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 95 vol. 24, 2018


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 95 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.

Tracker Pixel for Entry