Victorian Premier’s History Award

Printed on Stone. The Lithographs of Charles Troedel

Amanda Scardamaglia

Melbourne Books, Melbourne, 2020


Born in Hamburg in 1835, Charles Troedel became an apprentice lithographer to his father before being recruited to Melbourne by a Norwegian printer. Troedel founded his own business in 1863 and attracted praise for The Melbourne Album, which is reproduced here. A master of lithography, the technique of printing on stone, which transformed the production of graphic arts, Troedel gained great success in commercial advertising. He employed notable artists to design thousands of posters, labels, letterheads, business cards and programmes.

Amanda Scandamaglia’s elegant book is based on the huge Troedel archive in the State Library of Victoria. She skilfully places Troedel’s work in an Australian and international context without losing sight of the firm’s Melbourne base and city clients such as Guests biscuits, the Carlton Brewery, fashion houses, theatres and sporting clubs.

This book is in part a history of 19th century Australian advertising ‘through the lens of the lithograph’. Advertising both reflected and promoted social trends such as alcohol consumption, smoking and the obsession with cleanliness.  Then as now, technological breakthroughs, in this case lithography, affected social patterns. Above all, this is a commercial, social and cultural history, written in a scholarly style but with strong popular appeal. Highly original, this book is visually superb and endlessly fascinating.