23 May 2019 from 13:00 to 17:15

Lecture and workshop: Printing Colour in Late Medieval England. The Baffling ‘Craft' of the Book of St Albans (1486)

Book of Saint Albans: Page with the Royal Arms of England. Bron: Wikimedia/Cambridge University Library
Book of Saint Albans: Page with the Royal Arms of England. Source: Wikimedia/Cambridge University Library

The dozens of heraldic schemes in the Book of St Albans (printed in 1486) are the first multi-colour prints produced in England. They are often described as the only English colour prints for the next three hundred years. How were they printed? This is the central question in a lecture and workshop held by Dr Elizabeth Savage (University of London) on 23 May. The two-part seminar is jointly organised by the Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies (UCMS) and the Technical Art History Colloquium (TAHC).

UCMS Lecture: ink properties

The lecture, held as part of the UCMS lecture series, puts forward that the colour printing inks used for the Book of St Albans were ground to a unique and surprising recipe or formulation, whose unusual properties required the Schoolmaster Printer to modify his woodblocks and his printing technique. It also explains why this previously undescribed approach to printing is attested only in sheets that were issued by the Schoolmaster Printer, with colour inks, in late 1480s England.

TAHC Workshop: reconstructing colour-printing methods

The workshop, hosted by the Technical Art History Colloquium, offers participants the opportunity to reconstruct the Schoolmaster Printer’s colour-printing methods, based on extensive reconstructions undertaken jointly with Alan May (Reading University) on a historically appropriate printing press. May has produced replica woodblocks with standard and unusual features for comparison as well as inking balls for this workshop. Participants will be able to take their ‘experiments’ away with them at the end of the session.

Programme

13.00-14.30 UCMS lecture by Elizabeth Savage, with a brief response by Andrea van Leerdam MA (Utrecht University), and an opportunity to look at a display of early printed books from the collection of Utrecht University Library

Location: Bucheliuszaal, University Library Uithof

14.30-15.00 Coffee/tea

15.00-15.15 Changing location

15.15-17.15 TAHC Workshop

Location: Kunstlab (zaal 634), Androclus Building

Book of Saint Albans: Colour printing and obscene drawing in pencil added below text. Source: Wikimedia/Cambridge University Library
Book of Saint Albans: Colour printing and obscene drawing in pencil added below text. Source: Wikimedia/Cambridge University Library
Start date and time
23 May 2019 13:00
End date and time
23 May 2019 17:15
Entrance fee
Free entry