Blocks Plates Stones: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections

Thursday, 21 September 2017, Courtauld Institute of Art

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Blocks Plates Stones Conference Flyer

FLYER

Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)

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.

Keynote roundtable:

Richard S Field (Yale), Maria Goldoni (Galleria Estense), James Mosley (IES; Reading), 
Ad Stijnman (Leiden), Michael Twyman (Reading).

Speakers include:

Laura Aldovini (Università Cattolica; Cini), Rob Banham (Reading), Jean-Gérald Castex (Louvre), Rosalba Dinoia (independent), Konstantina Elmaloglou (Technological Educational Institute of Athens), Neil Harris (Udine), Huigen Leeflang (Rijksmuseum), Giorgio Marini (Uffizi), Julie Mellby (Princeton), Andreas Sampatakos (Technological Educational Institute of Athens), Linda Stiber Morenus (Library of Congress), Arie Pappot (Rijksmuseum), Elizabeth Savage (IES), Jane Rodgers Siegel (Columbia), Femke Speelberg (Met), and Amy Worthen (Des Moines Art Centre).

Object Sessions by:

Rob Banham (Reading), Tansy Barton (Senate House Library), Chris Daunt (Society of Wood Engravers), Rob Dixon (sirjoshuareynolds.com; erros.co.uk; stipple.co.uk), Jasleen Kandhari (Leeds), Peter Lawrence (Society of Wood Engravers), Richard Lawrence (Oxford), Rachel Sloan (Courtauld), and Amy N. Wothern (Des Moines Art Centre).

Posters by:

Constança Arouca (Orient Museum), Teun Baar (Apple), Cathleen A. Baker (Michigan), Maarten Bassens (Royal Library of Belgium; KU Leuven), Giles Bergel (Oxford), Annemarie Bilclough (V&A), Gigliola Gentile (Sapienza), Maria Goldoni (Galleria Estense), Nicholas Knowles (Independent), Marc Lindeijer SJ (Société des Bollandistes), Anna Manicka (National Museum, Warsaw), Peter McCallion (West of England), Marco Mozzo (Polo museale della Toscana), Melissa Olen (West of England), Maria V. Ortiz-Segovia (Océ Print Logic Technologies), Carinna Parraman (West of England), Marc Proesmans (KU Leuven), Rose Roberto (Reading; National Museums Scotland), Elizabeth Savage (IES), Fulvio Simoni (Bologna), Rachel Sloan (Courtauld), Francesca Tancini (Bologna), Joris Van Grieken (Royal Library of Belgium), Bruno Vandermeulen (KU Leuven), Genevieve Verdigel (Warburg), Lieve Watteeuw (Illuminare), Christina Weyl (independent), and Hazel Wilkinson (Birmingham).

This event is part of a 12-month British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, ‘The Matrix Reloaded: Establishing Cataloguing and Research Guidelines for Artefacts of Printing Images’. The discussions will support the creation of a research network to distil a single, interdisciplinary best practice from existing standards across disciplines and heritage collections and produce a program to train researchers to engage with matrices/printing surfaces. For more information, please visit the BARSEA webpage.