Placing Prints: New Developments in the Study of Print, 1400-1800


The Courtauld Institute of Art has put out the following call for papers:

Friday 12 February 2016 - 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK, WC2R 0RN

Saturday 13 February 2016 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK, WC2R 0RN

Speaker(s) include:

Antony Griffiths: Oxford Slade Professor, former Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and Co-Founder of Print Quarterly

Organised By:

Naomi Lebens: The Courtauld Institute of Art
Tatiana Bissolati: The Courtauld Institute of Art
Bryony Bartlett-Rawlings: The Courtauld Institute of Art
Chloe Gilling: The Courtauld Institute of Art

Traditionally, the history of printmaking has fallen in the space between art history and the history of the book. Often ‘reproductive’ and multiple in nature, prints have long been marginalized in art historical scholarship in favour of the traditional ‘high’ arts. The inherent complexities in the manufacture and sale of print, often involving multi-faceted networks of specialist craftsmen, artists, publishers and sellers, has also led to much confusion. Not knowing how prints are made has affected our ability to understand the medium and its aesthetic qualities. However, recent scholarship has opened up new avenues for placing prints in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. From the techniques applied in the making of prints to the individuals involved in their production, distribution and use, current research is continuing to shape our understanding of this complex field.

This conference aims to showcase new developments in the study of prints, challenging and developing traditional approaches. We are looking for papers that address a wide variety of issues and plan, over the course of the two-day conference, to have a series of panels devoted to different themes. Some issues to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

the question of the ‘reproductive’ print and the idea of originality in printmaking
the print in art criticism
the development of new genres of print
the question of the ‘popular’ print and the place of cheap prints on the early modern market
the relationship between word and image in print
the social uses of prints, in collections and other environments
seriality and sequencing in prints
the role of prints as transmedial agents, triggering the production of the same composition in different media
techniques and innovations in the making of prints
networks and relationships behind the production and sale of prints; the notion of collaboration
colour: coloured printing, hand-coloured prints and processes of translating colour into in a monotone linear mediumThe conference will include a pop-up display in the Courtauld Gallery’s print room, curated for the occasion. This will provide the opportunity to engage directly with objects related to the themes discussed.

We invite papers from both established and emerging scholars in universities, museums and galleries. Our aim is to provide a platform for sharing approaches and developing future collaborations between scholars working with prints. For this reason, we are also willing to consider papers delivered in French, Italian and German. However, speakers must provide an English translation of their text and be willing to answer questions and contribute to discussions in English.
Unfortunately, funding for speakers is not available and speakers from outside London are encouraged to apply to their institutions for subsidies to attend the colloquium.

Abstracts for 20-minute papers, not exceeding 250 words should be sent with a brief academic CV (100 words) by 22 November to: