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Title: Making an impression : an assessment of the role of print surfaces within the technological, commercial, intellectual and cultural trajectory of book illustration, c. 1780-c.1860
Author: Finley, William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7651 3312
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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The processes by which book illustrations were printed and reproduced underwent dramatic changes between 1780 and 1860. The arrival of lithography, the invention of steel engraving and the revival of wood engraving had lasting effects on the market for illustrated books, which gave rise to the 'golden age' of illustration by the 1860s. This thesis assesses the function of book illustration amidst the technological, commercial, cultural and social changes that took place before the onset of this golden age of illustration. It does so through the lens of illustrations' materiality: the form, shape and size of illustrations, which inform both the visual contents of illustrations as well as the position they occupy on the page and arrangement across the book. It argues that a greater appreciation of the print surfaces reveals more about how illustrations both shaped and were shaped by the social, cultural, commercial and intellectual contexts in which they were produced. This thesis intersects between bibliographical approaches that have enriched our understanding of the techniques and surfaces used to reproduce book illustrations, and visual culture studies that foreground the graphic contents of such illustrations. Macro analyses of the changes to printing techniques across different subjects, in addition to micro-analytical studies of individual illustrations and books allows for a greater understanding of the diverse and often complex roles illustrations played in these books, which often transcended considerations of narrative or genre. Furthermore, by applying computational and digital methods, we can begin to understand broader patterns of illustration both within the book and across different subjects that would not otherwise be possible. As such, this thesis has implications for the history of the book, visual culture studies, digital humanities, and the history of the subjects and genres that have been used as case studies.
Supervisor: Reid, Colin ; Harvey, Karen ; Baker, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available