CFP: Printing Colour 1700-1830: Discoveries, Rediscoveries and Innovations in the Long Eighteenth Century

Title: Printing colour 1700-1830: Discoveries, rediscoveries and innovations in the long eighteenth century
conference – april 10-11, 2018 (senate house, london) object sessions – april 12, 2018 (london collections) 
london, england
october 1, 2017

Keynote: Dr Margaret Graselli (National Gallery of Art, DC)
Convenors: Dr Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies) & Dr Ad Stijnman (Leiden University)

Eighteenth-century 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 colour 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. Registration fee waived for speakers and poster presenters, transport and accommodation also offered to speakers. Please submit abstracts by 1 October 2017 at

This conference is sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.