Prints for Books
Book Illustration in France 1760-1800
Distributed for British Library
The second half of the eighteenth century in France was one of the great ages of book illustration, which saw the meeting of top-quality engraving, fine printing, and high bibliophily. The chapters of this book explore the interrelationship of these elements. The vogue began with a public demand that new poems, plays, and novels should be illustrated with high-quality prints, and authors had to respond. The profits to be made tempted engravers, draughtsmen, and a new breed of art entrepreneur to undertake projects of their own. In the 1780s fashion shifted to a passionate interest in book collecting and fine printing, and how the business responded to the new situation, and to the effects of the Revolution in the 1790s, is explored in this new book.
Based on the Panizzi lectures given in the British Library in November 2003, the text has been considerably augmented for publication. There are more than 200 footnotes and 90 illustrations, as well as an appendix giving the actual period of production of some of the most important books of the period.