I am a collector of LeBlond prints and a descendant of Robert LeBlond, the ne’er-do-well older LeBlond brother who emigrated to America in 1856 with his wife and children, attempted to make a living, and returned to England to die at the early age of 47.
My grandmother’s house was full of LeBlond prints that had been passed down to her through the family from her great-grandfather, the above mentioned Robert LeBlond. Despite that Robert’s unfortunate failure as a businessman, family members felt great pride in the LeBlond heritage and the family prints were cherished. I’ve supplemented my inherited prints with purchases throughout the years and hope to eventually own a copy of each print created by the LeBlond brothers.
The LeBlond Brothers: Robert Leblond & Abraham Leblond
Robert was the elder of the two brothers, born on August 4, 1816. He apprenticed to a copper-plate printer named Thomas Brooker of 13 Walbrook whose sister Sarah he married on November 17, 1837. In 1840 he visited America for a few months, then returned to England to open up shop with his brother Abraham sometime around that same year. The firm of LeBlond & Company was located at 24 Budge Row and Walbrook, in London, England. The brothers began printing book plates, wall prints, and needlebox prints.
Not much is known of the relationship between the two brothers, but perhaps it was rocky, or perhaps Robert just had an unrequited desire to live in America, for in 1856 he relinquished his interest in the firm and moved his family to the U.S., settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was not particularly successful there, either, but did work as a bookkeeper and proof reader for the firm of Wrightson & Company and later was appointed the American agent for the firm of Blackie & Son of Glasgow. At some point he set up a small printing company with his son Robert Emmett LeBlond but the business folded after a short time. In June of 1863 he returned to England and died on October 18th of that year at the home of his sister Jane. The cause of death was dropsy, which is an old term for edema, the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water. Today we would probably say he died of congestive heart failure or pulmonary edema.
The LeBlond Prints
The LeBlond prints can be divided into the following categories:
Small Figure and Fancy Subject
- Baxter Prints
- “LeBlond & Co., Printers” by R. W. LeBlond, Antiques Magazine, June 1937, pages 292-5. [Download pdf]
- The Le Blond Book by C.T. Courtney Lewis, Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Limited, London and Edinburgh, 1920. [See the book here.]
What’s It Worth?
LeBlond prints vary in price depending on the rarity of the print. Most can be purchased for under one hundred dollars, some for as little as $10 to $15. Some of the rarer ovals still sell for more. Consult an antiques appraiser to get a value for your print. Prints are regularly available on eBay and their selling prices can give you an idea of what people are willing to pay for them. Please do not leave me a comment asking for a valuation of your print – I do not know!!!