I am posting short articles on printing history, bibliography and other news here.
Longer articles and book reviews which have been published in journals can be found on my Academia.edu page. For a full list of my published articles, unpublished lectures and conference papers see my CV.
‘Printing House and Engraving Shop, a Mysterious Collaboration’ (2004) deals with the illustrations of books with intaglio images and the bibliographical implications. In ‘Printing House and Engraving Shop, part II’ (2018) I discuss recent work in the history of intaglio book illustration and introduce an overlooked source for the economics of the printing trades, Kearsley’s Table of Trades (1786) and the recently re-discovered Essay on Engraving and Copper-plate Printing (1732) by J. Hanckwitz, copper-plate printer. These are dealt with in greater depth in ‘Hanckwitz’s Essay on engraving and copper-plate printing rediscovered’ (2019) in which I include a complete annotated transcript of the poem. My most recent article deals with Vesalius’ instructions to his printer: ‘The Typography and Layout of Vesalius’ De fabrica as specified in his Letter to Oporinus’ (2019).
Woodcuts and engravings
In ‘Printing House and Engraving Shop’ (see above) I explained the need to understand the printing history of both woodcuts and engravings. Caroline Duroselle-Melish and I are working on a translation of Jean-Michel Papillon’s articles on the woodcut in the Encyclopédie, which includes important insights into the printing, as well as the cutting of woodcuts. For intaglio printing, as well as studying the various manuals, it is important to have first hand knowledge of the operation of the wooden rolling press. Up until now, only nineteenth-century iron rolling presses have been available in bibliographical teaching pressrooms, and then only rarely. The Rare Book School rolling press, a replica eighteenth-century press which I built in Oxford, now installed at the University of Virginia, is the first wooden rolling press to be used for bibliographical teaching and research.
I am currently working on an article describing the newly discovered parts of a late seventeenth or early eighteenth-century rolling press in the basement of the Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp and the two other presses in the museum.
With input from myself and Ad Stijnman, Karel van de Waarde is compiling a database of wooden rolling presses and pre-1800 images of rolling presses.