Dr Elizabeth Savage

Contact details

Dr Elizabeth Savage
Lecturer and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow 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

Publications available on SAS-space:

Date Details
Dec-2009 A Visual Timeline for A Heavenly Craft


review of A Heavenly Craft, ed. Daniel De Simone

Mar-2012 Plays of Light and Blazes of Colour


review of Melanie Grimm, et al., Lichtspiel und Farbenpracht

Apr-2012 The Wonders of the Kunstkammer: Habsburg Collections Come to Cambridge


review of Splendour & Power: Imperial Treasures from Vienna (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)

Research Projects & Supervisions

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
International Council of Museums Member, UK Committee
Printing Historical Society Member, Publications Committee


Name Type Activity Start date End date
Graphic Arts Group Member
Relevant Events

Related events:

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Knowledge transfer activities:

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

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

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

Consultancy & Media
Available for consultancy:
Media experience:
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