Printmakers and Publishing in the 18th Century

The prints and accompanying ephemera (trade cards, flyers and proposals for subscription) displayed serve to stress the all-important role of publishers in commissioning and disseminating prints of every sort.

Copper Impressions aims to illustrate what might have been printed on Michael Phillips's working replica of a wooden intaglio rolling press, at present here in the Library and so very like the one in Abraham Bosse's Traicté des Manieres de Graver en Taille Douce....& d'en Construire la Presse... (Dean Aldrich's copy of the book was on display); constructions of its type were still current in the 18th-century (though it must be admitted that this particular press is too small to have accommodated the large plates by Sharp and Simon, published by Macklin and Boydell). William Hogarth was an artist who jealously published his own works; Boydell and Macklin were entrepreneurs. A fourth display case gave a glimpse of those who inhabited the milieu in which painters, printmakers and publishers plied their wares.

This exhibition was be punctuated by several printing workshops conducted by Michael Phillips. It opened with talks on aspects of 18th century engraving, followed by a workshop on printing from relief-etched copper plates.

Copper Impressions: Printmakers and Publishing in the 18th Century was curated by Nicholas Stogdon and Cristina Neagu and ran from 16 April to 29 May 2015.

Subsequent workshops demonstrating the rolling press have been scheduled.