Griffiths 1998

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Griffiths, Antony. The Print in Stuart Britain 1603-1689. London: British Museum Press, 1998.

when James I became king in 1603, "the regular publication of single-sheet engravings in England had scarcely existed for more than a decade, and was confined almost entirely to portraits of the powerful and to maps" (13); within 20 years, there was a "lively and growing market for prints"

under Charles I, "the visual arts became a fashionable part of life at court, and the first great collections of old master paintings were formed in Britain" (13)

1545, first copper plates used in England to illustrate Vesalius's Anatomy

1590s, English printmaking; specialist publisher John Sudbury, George Humble; "near monopoly on print production in London, specialising in maps and portraits" (14)

  • prior to Sudbury and Humble, engravers sold prints or plates directly to their clients (14)
"It was a rare, and usually Continental, engraver who was able to work directly for a patron. Most had to work through a publisher, as only a publisher was able to market their prints. ... Plates would have been commissioned, and on delivery would have become the property of the publisher against payment of the agreed price." (17)

plates modified over time, portraits updates as people aged

"Subjects that were certain to be ephemeral interest were in general avoided, while the threat of instant piracy meant that it was hardly worth trying to be original." -- "subjects of perennial interest" like four ages of man, etc. (17)

no one who was not a member of Stationers' Company could own a letterpress printer; anyone could own a rolling press, though

British artists of Elizabethan/Jacobean periods heavily influenced by Netherlandish artists; not so much by French or Italian (20); British prints not well-known abroad (20)

print collectors on the continent pasted them into albums or framed them; few collected prints in England

  • "The Earl of Arundel owned some important prints, but kept them in a way that now seems startling, pasted on to the backs of sheets which had drawings on the fronts." (20)
  • John Evelyn began collecting in 1640s
"Certain categories of print presuppose a collector, for they could not be produced for any other group." (20)

Thomas Rowlett, between 1645-1649, published prints for art collectors

"London print production was dominated by portraits." (21)

collections of prints of plants/animals used as embroidery patterns or coloring books (21-22)

Abraham Darcie, A Monumentall Pyramide (1624) -- pamphlet honoring the late Duke of Richmond; rough etching over copper plate produces black splotches, "mourning pages"

Little Gidding books; "i have examined three of these books, and, apart from Peake's set, have not found a single English print in them. There are next to no French and Italian prints either, and only one German -- the engraving by Durer of angels holding the sudarium. This is striking proof ofhow completely the London print market was supplied from the Netherlands." (22) (Robert Peake produced the only set of Bible illustrations made in England before the civil war, under Laud's sponsorship, bound up with certain copies of the Bible -- see [Henderson___])

first print publisher's catalogue issued by Peter Stent in 1654

printmakers began selling impressions wholesale at the end of 17c to other booksellers/printmakers; retailers outside London could mark up catalogues of prints with order requests (25)

Samuel Pepys, Henry Aldrich, John Evelyn -- collected prints

collectors would have little interest in mass prints by Stent et al.; meant to be used, now are rare

  • Stent's 1662 catalogue includes small pieces to adorn tobacco boxes, landscape and ovals color for cabinets and dressing-boxes, etc.
  • ornaments for closets and chests
  • map, fit to adorn a chimney piece
  • wallpapers, printed textiles (29)

coloring prints to be sold

mezzotints turned into glass prings (29); fashion for women in 1680s (29)