Call for Articles | Printing Things, 1400–1900

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 16, 2018

From the Abstract Submission Form:

Printing Things: Blocks, Plates, and Stones, 1400–1900
Edited by Giles Bergel and Elizabeth Savage

Abstracts due by 1 November 2018 (extended from 15 October); completed chapters due by 15 May 2019

In all fields based on historical printed material, research conventionally focuses on the text, images, and other information that was printed. The objects used to produce that information (including cut woodblocks, engraved metal plates, and cast metal sorts) have been neglected. Many hundreds of thousands of these historical printing surfaces survive today. The vast majority are inaccessible to researchers because they are uncatalogued and often considered ‘uncatalogue-able’. However, as individual objects and as an untapped category of cultural heritage, these artefacts of printing offer a great deal of information that the finished prints, books, fabrics, and other printed materials do not.

As relics of historical crafts and industry, these objects fall outside the modern disciplines. This edited volume will respond to the need for a multidisciplinary introduction to what image-based fields calls ‘print matrices’ and text-based fields call ‘printing surfaces’. Following from the conference Blocks Plates Stones (London, 2017), the first facilitated discussion of the use of such objects in research, Printing Things will represent the state of research in this new and developing field. It will bring together object-based research, collection-level surveys, historical printing practices, ethical considerations of their storage and use (or non-use) today, methods for multiplying the originals (e.g. dabs, stereos, electros), and methodological studies. By doing so, it will offer frameworks for describing, conserving, curating, presenting and understanding these objects using new and existing paradigms. It aims to facilitate their introduction into historical research across the disciplines.

Contributions are sought from art historians, book historians, cultural historians, musicologists, science and medicine historians, typographers, and researchers in other fields based on historical printed material; material scientists and conservators; historically informed printers and printmakers; curators, cataloguers, librarians, and printing museum managers who care for these objects; and digital humanities specialists who are creating a new generation of tools for culling information from these objects. The book will focus on handpress work.

In addition to object- and collection-based case studies, theoretical perspectives might include:
• What can print matrices/printing surfaces teach us that printed materials cannot, and vice versa?
• How should they be regarded: as artists’ tools, intermediary states of works of art, or works of art in themselves?
• Is there a value in considering woodblocks, metal plates, and litho stones together as a single category?
• What lies behind the sudden and recent increase in interest in these objects, and how can these objects inform those emerging research trends?
• How are they to be conserved, curated, presented, and understood?
• Does the recent turn to object-centered cultural criticism (‘thing theory’) provide useful paradigms for their study?
• What are the ethical and critical issues around bringing them back into use as printing surfaces?
• What is their place within the systems of digital remediation and knowledge within which art and book history is increasingly practiced?

Abstracts must be submitted by 15 October 2018. Chapters of 4,000–5,000 words (*including notes and captions*) with up to 10 illustrations will be due 15 May 2019 for publication in mid-2020. The book will be peer-reviewed and published in full colour. Contributors will be responsible for sourcing images and copyright for their contributions, but they will qualify for fee waivers from many heritage collections because the publisher is a charitable academic press. Please send queries to Gemma Cornetti at printingcolourproject@gmail.com.

Giles Bergel (Oxford), Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)

Advisory Board
Sven Dupré (Utrecht), Caroline Duroselle-Melish (Folger), Maria Goldoni (‘Xilografie modenesi’), Paul Nash (Printing Historical Society), Marco Mozzo (Polo museale della Toscana)

New Book | Painter of Pedigree: Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury

Posted in books by Editor on October 16, 2018

Published by Unicorn and distributed in the US and Canada by The University of Chicago Press:

Lawrence Trevelyan Weaver, Painter of Pedigree: Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury, Animal Artist of the Agricultural Revolution (London: Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018), 300 pages, ISBN: 978-1910787670, $45.

Thomas Weaver of Shrewsbury (1775–1844) is known for his wonderful paintings of animals—prize bulls, pedigreed sheep, and thoroughbred stallions—set against the backdrop of the ever-changing English landscape as the Industrial Revolution gathered steam. Traveling from country house to country house, Weaver with his journeys mapped the networks of kinship, patronage, and aspiration that undergirded the social life of the landed families and gentry of Georgian England.

Drawing on a previously unexamined collection of Weaver’s papers and pictures, including personal and professional correspondence, diaries, contemporary newspaper cuttings, verse, and portraits of his family, Painter of Pedigree brings to life the work of an animal artist in the age of agricultural improvement, revealing the art, artistry, and artifice that went into portraying and promoting these new breeds.

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