The image on the left is of the booklet, published in the CH Heritage Series, titled Engravings, which includes 89 illustrations placed in their historical context. The title refects the great majority of images illustrated having been made by the process of engraving, although other forms of print are also illustrated, including lithgraphs, aquatints and etchings.

The extraordinary range and quality of prints which feature CH’s buildings, its pupils and its activities are a testament to the importance of its role in the histories of London and of English education.  Most were published in illustrated guide books or histories of London, in books on CH or on English schools, in newspapers or in magazines.  There are known to be over 500 such engravings published up to the end of the 19th century, the great majority of which feature in the collection.

The earliest known engraving of a CH boy in his bluecoat uniform appeared as the frontispiece to a navigational text book written for the Royal Mathematical School in 1682, and engravings of both CH boys and CH girls appeared annually from at least 1709 in the decorative borders to anthems which were especially written for an annual Easter service.  A small bird’s eye view of the school at Hertford was published in a view of Hertford town in 1700, and the first known view of the London school was published in a 1720 history of London. 

The popularity of engravings grew in the 1820s with the advent of steel rather than copper as the medium for making engravings, as the steel plates were harder than copper plates and allowed thousands of pulls to be made from a plate.  In 1842 The Illustrated London News was launched as the first illustrated newspaper.  Its success and the growth of other newspapers such as The Graphic led to a significant increase in the number of engravings which featured CH.

There were few prints made of the school at Horsham, in view of the development of photography.