British Printed Images to 1700 Conference, Fri 12 – Sat 13 Sept 2008, Victoria and Albert Museum

Printed images were widely circulated in early modern Britain and they provide vivid and revealing evidence about many aspects of the culture of the period. Yet only recently have historians begun to give them proper attention, and this conference will be one of the first to draw out their significance.  Themes will include the importance of printed images for the history of the Reformation and post-Civil War politics, the emergence of new genres like topographical engraving and mezzotint, and the place of prints in the developing consumer market.

Ancillary events include a session for ‘new researchers’ and an display of material from the National Art Library, and there will also be a presentation about the database of British Printed Images to 1700 which is currently being constructed with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).  The database will make available in fully searchable form a comprehensive corpus of printed images from early modern Britain, mostly from the British Museum but including selected material from the V&A and other collections.  The project website can be found here:

Costs: £110 for 2 days, £55 for 1 day, concessions available – students get in half price!

Booking: available online at or call 020 7942 2211

Programme: Friday 12 September

International Conference Auditorium, Sackler Centre 10.30–18.15

10.00 Registration

10.30 Antony Griffiths British Museum, The Print in Stuart Britain after Ten Years

10.50 Margaret Aston, Symbols of Conversion:Proprieties of the Page in Reformation England

11.30 John King Ohio State, Word and Image in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

12.10 Special display of books from the National ArtLibrary in the Print Room Education Study Room

13.00 Lunch 

14.00 Gill Saunders V&A, ‘Paper Tapistry’ and‘Wooden Pictures’: Printed Decoration in theDomestic Interior before 1700

14.40 Ben Thomas Kent, Noble or Commercial?The Early History of Mezzotint in Britain

15.20 Tea

16.00 Angela McShane V&A and Clare Backhouse Courtauld, Top Knots and Lower Sorts: Print and Promiscuous Consumption in the 1690s

17.00 New Researchers’ Session

David Davis Exeter, Divine Visions or Idolatrous Sights? Images of Godin Protestant prints 1558–1603

Adam Morton York, Living the Life of Antichrist: Representing the Invisible Nemesis in Early Modern England

Rhian Wyn-Williams Liverpool, The Visual Language of Kingship, 1640–53

Stephen Brogan Birkbeck, The Sovereign Remedy: Images of the Royal Touch in Restoration England

Rosemary Dixon Queen Mary, Portrait Engravings and the Material Book:Representing Archbishop Tillotson in Text and Image

Programme: Saturday 13 September

International Conference Auditorium, Sackler Centre 10.30–17.00

10.00 Registration

10.30 Lori Anne Ferrell Claremont, Ca. The Art in Techne: Diagrammatic Illustrations in Early Modern ‘How-to’ Books

11.10 Alex Walsham Exeter, “Like Fragments of a Shipwreck”:Printed Images and Religious Antiquarianismin Early Modern England

11.50 Michael Hunter, Katherine Hunt, John Bradley and Paul Vetch Birkbeck, CCH, and bpi 1700, Demonstration of database for theBritish Printed Images to 1700 website

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Malcolm Jones Sheffield, The Common Weales Canker Wormes

14.10 Kevin Sharpe Queen Mary, Images of Oliver Cromwell

14.50 Tea

Justin Champion Royal Holloway, Decoding the Leviathan: Doing the History of Ideas Through Images 1651–1700

15.50 Round table discussion led by Mark Knights Warwick, and others

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