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Lithography workshop

The establishment of a lithography workshop was especially important for the activities of art departments and for artistic creativity in Lithuania in later centuries.

Lithography, a method of printing on a stone plate, was invented by Alois Senefelder in 1796. He established the first lithography workshops in London and Vienna (both 1801) and Munich (1804). Workshops appeared in other major cities from 1816, including Petersburg (1816), Warsaw (1818) and others. The first person who spoke of lithography as a convenient way to print illustrations in Lithuania was Ludwik Bojanus, an anatomy professor at Vilnius University. In 1817 he read the lecture “An overview of lithography” at Vilnius University Council, which was published in the magazine “Dziennik Wileński” in 1819.

When the supervisor of Vilnius University, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, expressed his wish for the establishment of a lithography workshop in Vilnius in 1819, J. Rustem started putting it into effect. In his letter of 21st October 1819 he addressed Aleksander Chodkiewicz, who already had a lithography workshop at his estate. J. Rustem asked him to explain lithography printing techniques and ink and chalk compositions. In 1820, Vilnius University lithography workshop was given premises in the house of St. John College. On 1st September 1820 stones used for lithography were brought from Bavaria and on 1st October 1820 the lithography printing machine was brought from Warsaw (soon afterwards J. Rustem found out about an innovative machine invented in France and tried to bring it to Vilnius, but probably unsuccessfully).

As the technique of lithography is essentially based on drawing with particular materials on specially prepared stone, the decision was made to join the workshop and J. Rustem’s Sketching School. In 1822, work started at the workshop. J. Rustem supervised students and their lithography work and regulated costs.