New Book | London: Prints and Drawings before 1800

Posted in books by Editor on March 26, 2017

Published by the Bodleian and distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Bernard Nurse, London: Prints and Drawings before 1800 (Oxford: Bodleian Library, in association with The London Topographical Society, 2017), 232 pages, ISBN: 978  18512  44126, £30 / $50.

By the end of the eighteenth century London was the second largest city in the world, its relentless growth fuelled by Britain’s expanding empire. Before the age of photography, the most widely used means of creating a visual record of the changing capital was through engravings and drawings, and those that survive today are invaluable in showing us what the capital was like in the century leading up to the Industrial Revolution.

This book contains over one hundred images of the Greater London area before 1800 from maps, drawings, manuscripts, printed books, and engravings, all from the Gough Collection at the Bodleian Library. Examples are drawn from the present Greater London to contrast town and countryside at the time. Panoramas of the river Thames were popular illustrations of the day, and the extraordinarily detailed engravings made by the Buck brothers are reproduced here. The construction, and destruction, of landmark bridges across the river are also shown in contemporary engravings.

Prints made of London before and after the Great Fire show how artists and engravers responded to contemporary events such as executions, riots, fires, and even the effects of a tornado. They also recorded public spectacles, creating beautiful images of firework displays and frost fairs on the river Thames. This book presents rare material from the most extensive collection on British topography assembled in this period by a private collector, providing a fascinating insight into life in Georgian London.

Bernard Nurse is the former Librarian of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

New Book | The Print Before Photography

Posted in books by Editor on March 26, 2017

From Museum Bookstore:

Anthony Griffiths, The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking, 1550–1820 (London: The British Museum, 2016), 560 pages, ISBN: 978  07141  26951, $75.

A landmark publication—beautifully illustrated with over 300 prints from the British Museum’s renowned collection—The Print Before Photography traces the history of printmaking from its earliest days until the arrival of photography.

Copperplate printmaking, developed alongside Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type, was a huge business employing thousands of people, and dominating image production for nearly four centuries across the whole of Europe. Its techniques and influence remained very stable until the nineteenth century, when this world was displaced by new technologies, of which photography was by far the most important. The Print Before Photography examines the unrivaled importance of printmaking in its golden age, illustrated through the British Museum’s outstanding collection of prints. This unique and significant book is destined to be a leading reference in print scholarship, and will be of interest to anyone with an interest in this era of art history.

Between 1991 and 2010, Antony Griffiths was deputy keeper, then keeper, of Prints and Drawings at The British Museum. In 1984 he co-founded the journal Print Quarterly. He was appointed a fellow of the British Academy in 2000.

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