Enfilade

Call for Papers | Printing Colour, 1700–1830

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 18, 2017

Jacob Christoph Le Blon, after Hyacinthe Rigaud, Cardinal André-Hercule de Fleury, 1738, mezzotint with colour separatons.

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From the Institute of English Studies at the University of London:

Printing Colour, 1700–1830: Discoveries, Rediscoveries, and Innovations
Senate House, London, 10–12 April 2018

Proposals due by 1 October 2017

Eighteenth-century book and print cultures are considered to be black and white (with a little red). Colour-printed material, like William Blake’s visionary books and French decorative art, is considered rare and exceptional. However, recent discoveries in archives, libraries and museums are revealing that bright inks were not extraordinary. Artistic and commercial possibilities were transformed between rapid technical advances around 1700 (when Johannes Teyler and Jacob Christoff Le Blon invented new colour printing techniques) and 1830 (when the Industrial Revolution mechanised printing and chromolithography was patented). These innovations added commercial value and didactic meaning to material including advertising, books, brocade paper, cartography, decorative art, fashion, fine art, illustrations, medicine, trade cards, scientific imagery, texts, textiles and wallpaper.

The saturation of some markets with colour may have contributed to the conclusion that only black-and-white was suitable for fine books and artistic prints. As a result, this printed colour has been traditionally recorded only for well-known ‘rarities’. The rest remains largely invisible to scholarship. Thus, some producers are known as elite ‘artists’ in one field but prolific ‘mere illustrators’ in another, and antecedents of celebrated ‘experiments’ and ‘inventions’ are rarely acknowledged. When these artworks, books, domestic objects and ephemera are considered together, alongside the materials and techniques that enabled their production, the implications overturn assumptions from the historical humanities to conservation science. A new, interdisciplinary approach is now required.

Following from Printing Colour 1400–1700, this conference will be the first interdisciplinary assessment of Western color printmaking in the long eighteenth century, 1700–1830. It is intended to lead to the publication of the first handbook colour printmaking in the late hand-press period, creating a new, interdisciplinary paradigm for the history of printed material.

Abstracts for papers or posters are encouraged from historians of all kinds of printed materials (including historians of art, books, botany, design, fashion, meteorology, music and science), conservators, curators, rare book librarians, practising printers and printmakers, and historians of collecting. Transport and accommodation offered to speakers. Please submit abstracts for papers (20 minutes) and posters (A1 portrait/vertical) by 1 October 2017.

Keynote: Margaret Graselli (National Gallery of Art, D.C.)
Convenors: Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies) and Ad Stijnman (Leiden University)

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