Dr Elizabeth Savage

Contact details

Dr Elizabeth Savage
Lecturer in Book History and Communications
Institute of English Studies
School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
History of art, History of the book
Summary of research interests and expertise:
  • Fifteenth-century print culture and incunable studies
  • Sixteenth-century print, book and visual culture
  • Early modern illustrations
  • Visual paratexts, including printer’s devices and ornaments
  • The history of collecting printed material
  • Colour printing in the hand-press period, 1450-1830
  • Historical materials, techniques and workshop methods for printing, especially in relief
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
01-Apr-2017 Die Farbholzschnitte von Lucas Cranach dem Älteren: Werke und Druckzustände


In Lucas Cranach der Älter. Meister Marke Moderne, ed. Gunnar Heydenreich, Daniel Görres and Beate Wismer (Düsseldorf: Museum Kunstpalast, 2017), 58–62

01-Apr-2017 Early Modern Frisket Sheets: A Regularly Updated Census

Research aids

 BibSite: The Bibliographical Society of America, first version 2015

01-Aug-2016 A Renaissance Art History of the Blockbook Canticum canticorum (review of Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, An Allegory of Divine Love)


 In Print Quarterly 34/3: 319-324

01-Jan-2016 The Mystery of the Scrappy Fragments: Untangling Robert Steele's Discovery of Frisket Sheets

Journal articles

Printing History (American Printing History Association) New Series 19 (Jan 2016): 16-32

01-Sep-2015 'Material Colours': The Heritage of Colour Knowledge in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Printshops


Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, in Colour Histories: Science Art, and Technology in the 17th and 18th Centuries, ed. Magdalena Bushart and Friedrich Steinle (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2015), 95-113, 364-369

01-Aug-2015 A Historical Overview of Printed Colour before 1700

Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, in Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, eds., Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions, Library of the Written World: Handpress World 41, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 1-7

01-Aug-2015 The Materials and Techniques of Early Colour Printing: A General Survey


Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, in Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, eds., Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions, Library of the Written World: Handpress World 41, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 11-22

01-Aug-2015 Colour Printing in Relief before 1700: A Technical History


Elizabeth Savage, in Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, eds., Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions, Library of the Written World: Handpress World 41, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 23-41

01-Aug-2015 A Printer's Art: The Development and Influence of Colour Printmaking in the German Lands, c.1476-c.1600


Elizabeth Savage, in Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, eds., Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions, Library of the Written World: Handpress World 41, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 93-102

01-Aug-2015 Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions

Edited Book

Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, eds., Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions, Library of the Written World: Handpress World 41, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Leiden: Brill, 2015); reprint 2015.

    • IFPDA Book Awards, Honourable Mention: ‘every dealer, collector, and curator of old master prints will need this volume in their library’
    • De Boekenwereld: ‘inspiring standard reference work’
    • Journal of the Printing Historical Society: ‘cri de coeur’
    • The Library: ‘significant’, ‘major advance in our knowledge’

01-Jul-2015 Jost de Negker's Woodcut Charles V (1519): An Undescribed Example of Gold Printing


Art in Print 5/2 (July-Aug 2015): 9-15

01-Mar-2015 New Evidence of Erhard Ratdolt's Working Practices: The After-Life of Two Red Frisket-Sheets from the Missale Constantiense (1505)


Journal of the Printing Historical Society (Spring 2015): 81-97

01-Dec-2014 Red Frisket Sheets, c. 1490-1700: The Earliest Artefacts of Colour Printing in the West


Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 108/4 (Dec 2014): 477-522

01-Jun-2014 Flying Colours


Apollo (June-July 2014), 44-49

14-Mar-2014 Renaissance Colour Prints at the Royal Academy are Unmissable (review of Renaissance Impressions, Royal Academy of Art, London)


 The Conversation (2014)

01-Jan-2014 Color Prints before Erhard Ratdolt: Engraved Paper Instruments in Lazarus Beham's Buch von der Astronomie (Cologne: Nicolaus Götz, c. 1476)


Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Upper, in Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 89 (2014): 86-105

01-Dec-2013 Printing the Rainbow (review of Michael Twyman, A History of Chromolithography)


Apollo (Dec 2013): 112-13

01-Sep-2013 Review of Byron and Politics: 'Born for Opposition' (Maughan Library, Kings College London)


 SHARP News (Society of the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing) 22/4 (Autumn 2013): 14

01-Jun-2013 White Spirit (review of Victoria George, Whitewash and the New Aesthetic of the Protestant Reformation)


 Apollo (June 2013): 124-25

01-Jun-2013 Celebrating Maximilian I's Augsburg (review of Gregory Jecman and Freyda Spira, Imperial Augsburg)


 Print Quarterly 30/2 (June 2013): 183-86

01-Feb-2013 Crafting Prints (review of Ad Stijnman, Engraving and Etching 1400-2000)


 Apollo Magazine (Feb 2013): 92-93

01-Sep-2012 Review of Shakespeare: Staging the World (British Museum, London)


 SHARP News (Society of the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing) 21/4 (Autumn 2012): 18

01-Apr-2012 The Wonders of the Kunstkammer: Hapsburg Collections Come to Cambridge, review of Splendour & Power: Imperial Treasures from Vienna (Fitzwilliam Museum)


Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies (Apr 2012): 10-13

01-Mar-2012 'Plays of Light and Blazes of Colour (review of Melanie Grimm, et al., Lichtspiel und Farbenpracht)


Print Quarterly 29 (Mar 2012): 48-49

01-Mar-2012 'Printed Paintings (review of Hercules Segers and his 'Printed Paintings', British Museum, London)


Apollo (Mar 2012): 178-179

01-Jan-2012 Glittering Woodcuts and Moveable Music: Decoding the Elaborate Printing Techniques, Purpose and Patronage of the Liber selectarum cantionum (1520)


Elisabeth Giselbrecht/Elizabeth Upper, in Senfl-Studien I, ed. Birgit Lodes and Stefan Gasch, 17-67, Wiener Forum für ältere Musikgeschichte 5 (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2012)

01-Dec-2010 A Happy (Re)marriage (review of Ad Stijnman and Claudia Kleine-Tebbe, Hochzeit von Bild und Buch)


Print Quarterly 27/4 (Dec 2010): 401

01-Mar-2010 Zao Wou-Ki and the Art of Nature


Above 13 (Spring 2010): 166-83

01-Dec-2009 A Visual Timeline for A Heavenly Craft (review of A Heavenly Craft, ed. Daniel De Simone)


Print Quarterly 26 (Dec 2009): 371-373

01-Dec-2009 Dr Livingstone's Lament: An Unpublished Letter by David Livingstone


Above 11 (Winter 2009): 86-87

Earth Movers: Quaking up Land Art's Legacy of Feminism


Bitch 48 (Fall 2010): 36-42

Publications available on SAS-space:

Date Details
The First of the Moderns or the Last of the Ancients? Bernardino Telesio on Nature and Sentience


Bernardino Telesio’s philosophy of nature marked a momentous change in the philosophical panorama of late Renaissance. By redefining the notion of sentience (sensus) as the ability, inherent in the two principle forces of the universe (heat and cold), to react and adapt to a reality in constant change, Telesio championed a view of nature and man that radically departed from the principles of Aristotle’s natural philosophy. In developing his new notion of sentience, Telesio insisted on the aspects of receptivity and awareness. Through the first, he stressed the primary role of pneumatic matter (spiritus), understood as a thin, supple and swift vehicle capable of accounting for all material changes in the universe ; through the second, he raised the property of self-perception to the level of a universal natural property. This allowed him to replace the key Aristotelian concept of unintentional teleology with the idea of a self-organising power inherent in nature and to endow the material spirit with the ability to feel and react to all phenomena occurring in the universe (spiritus omniscius omnino). By relying on subtly discerning tendencies of pursuit and avoidance, Telesio’s spirit was thus capable of preserving life at all levels, both higher and lower, physical and ethical.

Synesian Dreams. Giacomo Cardano on dreams as means of prophetic communication


Girolamo Cardano conceived and outlined his four books on dreams ac-cording to Synesius’ philosophy between 1535 and 1537. Originally divided into ten books, the volume underwent subsequent modifications until it was pub-lished in 1562. We know from Cardano’s own testimony how the key episodes in his life were always heralded or accompanied by dreams. From this point of view, the 1562 summa on dreams reflects one of the most critical of such moments. As Jean-Yves Boriaud explains in the introduction to his new Latin edition and French translation of Somniorum Synesiorum libri quatuor, in the year prior to the composition of this work, Cardano was undergoing intense dream activity as a result of the tragic execution in 1560 of his son Giovanni Battista, who had been charged with poisoning his wife. From that moment on, the death of his son would represent a watershed moment in both his life and literary career. For this reason, too, Somniorum Synesiorum libri quatuor deserves to be considered as one of Cardano’s most important writings and Boriaud’s edition should be saluted as a notable accomplishment.

Introduction: Tommaso Campanella and the arts of writing


An introduction to vol. XVIII, no. 1 of Bruniana & Campanelliana.

Fazio and His Demons: Girolamo Cardano on the art of storytelling and the science of witnessing


Fazio Cardano, Girolamo Cardano’s father, plays a key role in Girolamo’s philosophi-cal investigations. This article focuses on Girolamo’s use of Fazio as an authoritative figure in matters of demonic apparitions and explores the boundaries – not always clearly defined – between storytelling and reliable witnessing in Cardano’s accounts of family memories, reported speeches and preternatural phenomena.

The Eternal Return of the Same Intellects. A new edition of Girolamo Cardano's De Immortalitate Animorum


The Metaphysical Implications of Campanella's Notion of Fiction


Campanella’s notion of fiction (fabula) hinges upon a multilayered view of reality based on a series of ontological divisions : ens rationis divinae, ens reale, ens rationis, ens irrationalitatis and non ens. They identify levels of being that span the full range of reality, from a minimum to a maximum degree (an ontological spectrum that in Campanella’s philosophy is closely connected to the Telesian criterion of self-preservation). According to Campanella, any human foray into the territories of ‘being of reason’, ‘being of unreason’ and even ‘non being’ is always balanced by a natural ‘return’ to being and reality. This article intends to contextualise Campanella’s views on fiction within the broader framework of his metaphysics.

Philosophy According to Tacitus: Francis Bacon and the Inquiry into the Limits of Human Self-Delusion


Bacon belonged to a cultural milieu that, between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, proved to be especially receptive to infuences coming from such continental authors as Machiavelli, Bodin, Duplessis-Mornay, Hotman, and, through Lipsius, a particular brand of Stoicism tinged with Tacitean motifs. Within the broader question of Tacitus’ infuence on Tudor and Stuart culture, this article focuses on the issue of how Bacon’s characteristic insistence on the powers of the imagination (fingere) and of belief (credere) in shaping human history may have infuenced his view that human beings suffer from an innate tendency to self-delusion.

What Ever happened to Francis Glisson? Albrecht Haller and the Fate of Eighteenth-Century Irritability


This article investigates the reasons behind the disappearance of Francis Glisson’s theory of irritability during the eighteenth century. At a time when natural investigations were becoming increasingly polarized between mind and matter in the attempt to save both man’s consciousness and the inert nature of the res extensa, Glisson’s notion of a natural perception embedded in matter did not satisfy the new science’s basic injunction not to superimpose perceptions and appetites on nature. Knowledge of nature could not be based on knowledge within nature, i.e., on the very knowledge that nature has of itself; or – to look at the same question from the point of view of the human mind – man’s consciousness could not be seen as participating in forms of natural selfhood. Albrecht Haller played a key role in this story. Through his experiments, Haller thought he had conclusively demonstrated that the response given by nature when irritated did not betray any natural perceptivity, any inner life, any sentiment interi´eur. In doing so, he provided a less bewildering theory of irritability for the rising communities of experimental physiology.

Research Projects & Supervisions

Current PhD topics supervised:

Dates Details
From: 01-Oct-2019
Women’s Ownership of Medical Knowledge in Tudor and Stuart England, 1485-1714

Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Royal College of Physicians, through the London Arts & Humanities Partnership

From: 01-Oct-2018
The Print Collection of Count Saverio Marchese (1757–1833)

Krystle Attard Trevisan

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
Association of Print Scholars Founding jury member, Grants Program
International Council of Museums Member, UK Committee
Printing Historical Society Member, Publications Committee; Grants & Prizes Committee


Name Type Activity Start date End date
Digital Resuscitation: The Officina Plantiniana’s Collection of14,000 Woodblocks Advisory committee member 01-Apr-2019 01-Apr-2021
Graphic Arts Group Member
Relevant Events

Related events:

Date Details
28-Nov-2019 ‘Mysteries of Printing the Book of St Albans’, Print and Book Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London

23-Apr-2019 Printing Colour in Late Medieval England: The Baffling “Craft” of the Book of St Albans (1486)’, & ‘Hands-on Workshop: Reconstructing the Colour-Printing the Book of St Albans’, Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies

10-Apr-2019 Original Revivals: New Old Master Colour Prints for the Collecting Market in the Long Eighteenth Century

 Printing Colour 1700–1830: Discoveries, Rediscoveries and Innovations in the Long Eighteenth Century, School of Advanced Study, University of London

26-Mar-2019 Historical and Chemical-Physics Characterisation of a Previously Unknown, Unique, Six-Colour Relief Print

 Armida Sodo/Ludovica Ruggiero/Stefano Ridolfi/Elizabeth Savage/Luca Valbonetti/Maria Antonietta Ricci, at Innovation in Art Research and Technology (InART), Parma

28-Nov-2018 ‘Finding Hans Baldung Grien’s Colour Printer’, Work in Progress Seminar, Institute of English Studies

18-Oct-2018 ‘Identifying Hans Baldung’s Colour Printer, c.1511–12’, Hans Baldung Grien. Neue Perspektiven auf sein Werk, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

07-Sep-2018 'The Advent of Colour Printing an Illustrated Talk on the Book of St Albans’, St Albans Museum

28-Jun-2018 Panel: Science and Knowledge. Multiplied and Modified: Reception of the Printed Image in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, University of Warsaw/National Museum in Warsaw

10-Apr-2018 Printing Colour 1700–1830: Discoveries and Rediscoveries in the Long Eighteenth Century (IES)

Eighteenth-century book and print cultures are considered to be black and white (with a little red). Colour-printed material, like William Blake's visionary books and French decorative art, is considered rare and exceptional. However, recent 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.

01-Dec-2017 ECR Training Day: Researching Print Matrices/Printing Surfaces

This free, hands-on, object-based training day will introduce 10 ECRs to the research of historical matrices/printing surfaces (e.g. cut woodblocks, etched metal plates, litho stones). The emphasis is pre-1830. By analysing the objects and resulting impressions, participants will learn how to describe them; identify how they were made, used and copied; relate them to printed content; and use them as primary material in their own research. The interdisciplinary remit includes text and image, as well as decorations, initials, medicine, music, mathematical symbols, scientific imagery, and more. This event is the first application of a new research framework, which will later be published open access. Participants will learn new research skills and, through their feedback, help shape the future of research in fields related to print heritage. The training is convened by Elizabeth Savage and facilitated by Giles Bergel and Roger Gaskell.

22-Sep-2017 The Matrix Reloaded: Establishing Cataloguing & Research Guidelines for Artefacts of Printing Images

The material turn in fields that rely on printed matter has led to interest in how those texts and images were—and are—produced. Those objects, including cut woodblocks, etched/engraved metal plates, and lithographic stones, could be fundamental to research. Tens of thousands survive from the last 500 years, but the vast majority are inaccessible because they do not fit into the cataloguing structures and controlled vocabularies used by the libraries, archives and museums that hold them. Those that are accessible tend to be under-used, as few researchers are equipped to understand them or communicate about them across disciplinary boundaries. Even the most basic term is debated: to book historians/in libraries, pieces of type are multiples cast from a matrix (mould); to artists and art historians/in museums, the resulting types are the matrices (the sheets printed from them are the multiples).

As new possibilities to catalogue and digitise these artefacts are revealing their research potential, a common framework could advance knowledge of image-printing processes and images’ role in the print trade. This twelve-month project will create a research network and distil a single, interdisciplinary best practice from existing standards across disciplines and heritage collections to train researchers to engage with them.

As a precondition for this training is consensus on terminology, methodology and best practice, (1) an international, interdisciplinary working group will be formed. It will agree on recommendations following (2) a conference and (3) this closed summit in September 2017. The aim of BARSEA scheme is to cascade benefits to early career researchers, so this framework will be put into practice at (4) a training session for ECRs in December 2017, refined, and (5) published open access in March 2018 so that researchers in many places and disciplines can use these objects in their research from the start of their academic careers.

This research is supported by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.

21-Sep-2017 Fabric-Covered Woodblocks Printed with “Oil Paints” in Late Medieval England?

 Blocks Plates Stones: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections, Courtauld Institute of Art

21-Sep-2017 Blocks Plates Stones: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections (Courtauld Institute/British Academy)

The material turn in fields that rely on historical printed matter has led to interest in how those texts and images were—and are—produced. Those objects, including cut woodblocks, etched and engraved metal plates, and lithographic stones, could be fundamental to research. Tens of thousands survive from the last 500 years, but the vast majority are inaccessible because they do not fit into the cataloguing structures and controlled vocabularies used by the libraries, archives and museums that hold them. Those that are accessible tend to be under-used, as few researchers are equipped to understand them or communicate about them across disciplinary boundaries. Even the most basic term is debated: in book research, a matrix is the mould for casting pieces of type; in art research, each resulting type is a matrix (and the sheets printed from them are the multiples). As new possibilities to catalogue and digitise these artefacts are revealing their research potential, it is essential to establish how they can best be made available and how they can be used in research.

This deeply interdisciplinary conference will survey the state of research into cut woodblocks, intaglio plates, lithographic stones, and other matrices/printing surfaces. It will bring together researchers, curators, librarians, printers, printmakers, cataloguers, conservators, digital humanities practitioners, and others who care for or seek to understand these objects. The discussion will encompass all media and techniques, from the fifteenth century through the present.

15-Sep-2017 Aberystwyth Bibliographical Group: ‘Early Colour Printing and Book Illustration’, Symposium

31-Aug-2017 Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Gjøvik: Printing, Colour, Design: Historical Perspectives: ‘Relief and Intaglio Colour Printing Techniques before the 19th Century’

21-Jun-2017 Panel: People of the Book, The Book in the Low Countries: New Perspectives, Hidden Collections, Institute of Historical Research

06-Apr-2017 Prints in Books: The Materiality, Art History and Collection of Illustrations (Association of Annual Art Historians annual conference)

Book illustrations, especially from the hand-press period (1450–1830), are an essential but traditionally overlooked source of art historical information. Although the hierarchies of fine art over popular art are dissolving, and modern disciplinary distinctions between text and image (or art and book) are giving way to cross-disciplinary and holistic approaches to printed material, printed images that happen to be inside books often fall outside the remits of art historical, literary, bibliographical and material research. 

One reason is that practical and academic barriers impede access to the art historical information that book illustrations can provide. Due to incompatible cataloguing standards adopted by libraries and art museums, researchers can struggle to identify book illustrations across collections. Cataloguing protocols may reduce hundreds of significant woodcuts in a book to the single word ‘illustrated’; some world-leading graphic art digitisation initiatives exclude book illustrations. As the global digitised corpus expands, will book illustrations be more represented in print scholarship or will they continue to fall into the gap between art and book? As material objects and visual resources, should they be considered bibliographical, art historical or iconographical material? And how do such classifications influence their interpretation? 

This interdisciplinary panel seeks to establish a platform for discussion about the position of printed book illustrations in graphic art scholarship. Theoretical and object-based papers related to any aspect of collecting, cataloguing and interpreting printed book illustrations, broadly defined, are welcome, as are papers that explore the materiality, iconography, historiography or art history of printed pictures inside books.

31-Mar-2017 Philadelphia Museum of Art and Kislak Center for Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania: ‘Paper, Ink, and Fabric? Illustrating the Book of St Albans, 1486’, Objects of Study: Paper, Ink, and the Material Turn

12-Dec-2016 Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science, Cambridge University/Fitzwilliam Museum: 'Printing Fabric with “Oil Paints” in Late Medieval England?'

30-Sep-2016 Kislak Center for Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania: ‘The Language of Scientific Illustrations: Cross-Disciplinary Cataloguing Conundrums’, Materiality of Scientific Knowledge: Image-Text-Book

01-Sep-2016 The 15th Century Conference (Royal Holloway, London): ‘An Unidentified Fifteenth-Century Printing Technique? Reconstructing Workshop Methods for the Book of St Albans, 1486’

01-Jul-2016 King’s College, Cambridge: “Spotlit” Soldiers: Sixteenth-Century Works-in-Progress or Eighteenth-Century Forgeries?’ Retirement Symposium and Celebrations in Honour of Jean Michel Massing

20-Jun-2016 Cambridge University Library: ‘A Previously Undescribed Printing Technique? Re-examining the 1486 Book of St Albans’

12-May-2016 Library of Congress (Washington, DC): Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Savage, ‘Printing Colour 1400–1700’, lecture and book signing

25-Apr-2016 Huntington Library (San Marino, California): ‘A Previously Undescribed Printing Technique? Re-examining the 1486 Book of St Albans’

20-Mar-2016 University of Reading: ‘Deciphering the First Colour-Printed Images in England: The Book of St Albans, 1486’

23-Feb-2016 Faculty of English, Cambridge University: Renaissance Research Workshop

12-Feb-2016 Courtauld Institute of Art (London): ‘‘Whitewashing’ the Early Modern Print’, Placing Prints: New Developments in the Study of Print, 1400-1800

19-Oct-2015 Oxford Bibliographical Society, Oxford University: ‘“Unmasking" the Most Common Colour-Printmaking Technique in Early Modern Europe'

23-Sep-2015 John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester: ‘A Baffling Breakthrough? Making Colour in the 1486 Book of St Albans’, Research Seminars

24-May-2015 Panel: Ephemerality and Durability in Early-Modern Visual and Material Culture, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities and Trinity Hall, Cambridge

26-Mar-2015 Renaissance Society of America/Historians of Netherlandish Art (Berlin): 'Frankfurt Printers and the Market for Colour Prints in the Sixteenth Century', Frankfurt and the Art Market in the Sixteenth Century: Prints and Books

20-Jan-2015 Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge: 'The Many Inventions of Colour Printing: Art, Books and Ephemera, 1470-1600', Comparative Social and Cultural History Seminar, Faculty of History

11-Dec-2014 Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (Munich): 'Burgkmairs Farbholzschnitte', Hans Burgkmair: Neue Forschungen zu einem Künstler der deutschen Renaissance, 11-13 Dec (unable to attend)

13-Nov-2014 St Bride Institute (London): 'Manuscript to Press to Binding: Red Frisket Sheets and the Creation of Colour Printing, c.1490-1630', Landmarks of Printing: from Origins to the Digital Age, Printing Historical Society 50th Anniversary Conference

08-Nov-2014 Kunsthistorisches Institut, Philipps-Universität (Marburg, Germany): 'Moondials & Maps, Medicine & Mathematics: Printing Colour in Early Scientific Publications', Naturwissenschaft & Illustration im 15.-16. Jh.

09-Oct-2014 John Rylands Library, University of Manchester: 'The Materiality of the Press: Use and Reuse in Early Modern Printshops', Print and Materiality in the Early Modern World

01-Oct-2014 John Rylands Research Institute Research Showcase

monthly seminar, 2014/15

07-Jul-2014 Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel, Germany): 'Mapping the Dissemination of Early Colour Printmaking Technologies, 1476-c.1600'

27-Jun-2014 Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel, Germany): 'Printing the 1505 Missale Constantiense: New Artefacts from Erhard Ratdolt's Press'

14-Jun-2014 St John's College, Cambridge: 'Colouring the Reformation Book', Reform and Reformation: The Seventh Research Colloquium

02-Jun-2014 British Library (London): 'Reconstructing Early Modern Workshop Practice for Colour Printing, c.1490-1630', Seminar on Textual Bibliography for Modern Foreign Languages

12-Feb-2014 College Art Association (Chicago): 'Early Modern "Decals": Printing Intarsia in the German-Speaking Lands, c.1550-c.1650', Objectifying Prints: Hybrid Media 1450-1800

10-Feb-2014 University of Chicago: 'Hiding in Plain Sight: Rediscovering Printed Colour in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1600'

26-Jan-2014 Bibliographical Society of America (Grolier Club, New York): 'The Earliest Artifacts of Color Printmaking in the West: Red Frisket Sheets, c.1490-1630', annual conference

16-Jan-2014 Warburg Institute, University of London: 'Colour Printing in the Renaissance: The Strasbourg Edition of Ptolemy's Geography (1513)', Map and Society Lectures

27-Nov-2013 Universidade do Porto: Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Upper, 'The Colourful Printed Past: Early Colour Printmaking, 1450-1700', Pure Print: Classical Printmaking in Contemporary Art

18-Oct-2013 American Printing History Association (Grolier Club, New York): 'Rediscovering Colour in German Graphic Art, 1487-ca. 1600', Seeing Color/Printing Color (annual conference)

16-Oct-2013 Darwin College, Cambridge: 'Early Modern Colour Woodcuts (They Existed!) and Their International Context (There were Lots of Them!)', Humanities Talks

01-Oct-2013 Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Cambridge University: 'ArtStor: A Case Study', Managing Digital Images: An Introduction for Researchers

27-Sep-2013 Early Modern Studies Institute, University of Southern California/Huntington Library: 'Saving Waste: Early Modern Colour Frisket Sheets as Palimpsests of Functions', Ephemerality and Durability in Early Modern Visual and Material Culture

15-Aug-2013 Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC): 'Palimpsests of Functions: Manuscripts as Frisket Sheets for Colour Printmaking as Binding Scraps', New Bownde: New Scholarship in Early Modern Binding

18-May-2013 Kanazawa College of Art (Kanazawa, Japan): Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Upper, 'Early European Colour Prints, 1450-1800, with a Note on Colour-printed Early Japanese Etchings'

01-May-2013 Cambridge Bibliographical Society, Cambridge University: 'Beheaded Cows, English Religious Politics and the Title Vignette of Rede me and be nott wrothe (1528)'

22-Mar-2013 Early Modern Research Centre, University of Reading: 'A Survey of Early Modern Colour Printmaking in Europe', Printed Image and Decorative Print, 1500-1750

21-Mar-2013 British Museum (London): 'Printing with Gold before the Reformation', Colour in Prints and Drawings, Graphic Arts Group

12-Mar-2013 University of Wales (Trinity Saint David, Bangor University and Aberystwyth University, via Welsh Video Network): 'The Invisibility of Colour in European Printmaking, 1500-1600', Research Seminar, Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

21-Feb-2013 Centre for Material Texts, Cambridge University: Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Upper, 'Cycles of Invention: Historical Developments of "New" Innovations in Colour Printing, c.1600-1700'

18-Dec-2012 Bibliographical Society, Society of Antiquaries (London): 'Colour Printmaking in Tudor Books'

15-Oct-2012 British Museum (London): 'Erasmus Loy's Printed "Intarsia"', Graphic Arts Group

28-Jun-2012 Technische Universität Berlin: Ad Stijnman/Elizabeth Upper, 'Early Modern Colour Printing, 1600-1700', Colour in the 17th and 18th Centuries: Connexions between Science, Arts, and Technology

10-Feb-2012 King's College, Cambridge: 'God's Red Fingernails & Half a Wild Child: Accident and Innovation in Colour-Printed Book Illustrations from Early Modern Germany, ca. 1500-1550', King's College Seminar

08-Dec-2011 CRASSH, Cambridge University: 'Blood in Books and Woodgrain on Walls: Previously Unknown Functions of Colour Woodcuts in Sixteenth-Century Germany', Impressions of Colour: Rediscovering Colour in Early Modern Printmaking, ca 1400-1700

08-Dec-2011 Impressions of Colour: Rediscovering Colour in Early Modern Printmaking, ca 1400-1700

The absence of colour has been long been considered a defining characteristic of early modern printmaking. Colour printing from the hundreds of years between the invention of the printing press and 1700, when Jacques Christophe Le Blon developed the three-colour method we use today, has been thought of as rare and extraordinary. However, new research has revealed that bright inks added commercial value, didactic meaning and visual emphasis to subjects as diverse as anatomy, art, astronomy, biology, cartography, medicine, militaria and polemics in both single-sheet prints and books.

Despite the significance and scale of these discoveries, the bias against colour continues to dominate print scholarship; the colour in colour prints is often ignored. As the technology to disseminate images in their original colour has spread, much important material has suddenly become available to scholars. Now that techniques that were thought to have been isolated technical experiments seem to have been relatively common practice, a new, unified history of, and conceptual framework for, early modern colour printing has become necessary, and significant aspects of early modern print culture now must be reconsidered. This conference aims to explore new methodologies and foster new ways of understanding the development of colour printing in Europe through an interdisciplinary consideration of the production.

The conference will feature a demonstration of early colour printing techniques in the Historical Printing Room, a display of books with early colour printing at the University Library and a display of early colour prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

02-Nov-2011 Justus-Liebig-Universität (Gießen, Germany): Alice Klein/Elizabeth Upper, 'Die Drucker Schott und Grüninger: Straßburg, ein Zentrum der Farbdruckerei um 1510-1530', Druckvorgänge: Drucktechniken vor 1600

17-Oct-2011 Warburg Institute, University of London: 'The (Re)Inventions of Colour Printing: The Significance of Johann Grüninger's Failed Experiments of 1517-1518', Art History Seminar

01-Jul-2011 Research Centre for Book, Text and Place, Bath Spa University: 'Printing Colour in Early Modern German Book Illustrations: The Significance of Johann Grüninger's Failed Experiments of 1517-1518', Book Encounters 1500-1750

01-May-2011 History of Art, Cambridge University: 'Printing Colour in the Age of Dürer: German 'Chiaroscuro' Woodcuts, 1487-ca. 1572',

24-Mar-2011 Renaissance Society of America (Montreal): Elisabeth Giselbrecht/Elizabeth Upper, 'Golden Woodcuts and Movable Notes: Printing Technology and Patronage in Early Modern Germany', Decorated Music: Visual Art in a Musical Context

24-Nov-2010 Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge): 'The Prestige of Printing in Gold and…Gray? New Research on Hans Burgkmair's Maximilian I (1510)', New Research Lecture Series

30-Apr-2010 King's College, Cambridge: 'Printing Gold in the "Golden Age" of German Prints', Lunchtime Seminar

03-Feb-2010 Interdisciplinary Early Modern Seminar, Cambridge University: 'Mit Fleiss getruckt': The Glittering Coat of Arms of Cardinal Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg in Ludwig Senfl's Liber selectarum cantionum (1520)

01-Oct-2009 New Research Lecture Series (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)

 monthly seminar, 2014/15

Fabric-Covered Woodblocks Printed with “Oil Paints” in Late Medieval England?

 Blocks Plates Stones: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections, Courtauld Institute of Art

Knowledge transfer activities:

Curator, German Renaissance Colour Prints (British Museum, Nov 2015-Jan 2016)

Curator, Tudor Colour Printing (Cambridge University Library, Dec 2013-Jan 2014)

Exhibition contributor, European Colour Woodcuts, 1500-1600. section of 'Good bookes to be sought': Munby the Collector (Cambridge University Library, June-Sept 2013)

Curator, degree show, MA Photographic Studies, University of Westminster, 2017-2013

Consultancy & Media
Available for consultancy:
Media experience:
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