Intaglio vs. Relief Printing

As a review of what we talked about regarding intaglio and relief printing processes, it might be helpful to take a look at these videos made by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. They provide a visual explanation for processes such as etching, aquatint, and drypoint (itaglio) and woodcutting (relief).



I’d also recommend taking a look at the Bamber Gascoigne book How To Identify Prints, which is on the reserve shelf at the Duke House.




Hand Bookbindings

Waste paper reused in a 16th century binding. Bellum Catilinae & Bellum Iugurthinum, Sallust (86-34 B.C.), Antwerp: Johann Gymnich, 1547., Princeton University Library, Gryphius Collection.

Waste paper reused in a 16th century binding. Bellum Catilinae & Bellum Iugurthinum, Sallust (86-34 B.C.), Antwerp: Johann Gymnich, 1547., Princeton University Library, Gryphius Collection.

At Columbia last week, Alexis recommended a website created by the Princeton University Library documenting a huge range of historic hand binding styles. The site presents books in the Princeton collection by style, region, time period, etc and lets you look closely at such features as binders’ marks and edge decoration.

Books and Bytes

Helmingham herbal and bestiary, circa 1500. folios 2v-3r

Helmingham herbal and bestiary, circa 1500.
folios 2v-3r

Over the course of the last week, the material, practical, ethical, and educational considerations surrounding the digitization of books has come up several times. I thought I’d share a few samples of books that have been fully digitized using different models of presentation. If you have any favorites (or ones that you find problematic!), please share a link in the comments.

Yesterday at Yale, Elisabeth mentioned that the Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary, currently on exhibit, has been fully digitized. You can scroll through the pages directly in the catalog record here.

Another digitized book worth exploring is the Beloit College copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle. In addition to digitized content of the book, the project team has shared some of the technical considerations behind their process. This was done about 10 years ago, so it’s dated in some ways, but still worth a look.

Interested in others that you might want to share with the group!


Paper Mill Videos

Now that you’ve experienced making your own paper, you might be interested in checking out this video of paper making genius (literally–he won a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship for his work) and historian Timothy Barrett attempting to recreate the exact workflow and pace of work of paper mills at their prime.

The video of the English paper mill that he mentions is here:

You might also be interested in exploring some of the watermark databases currently online. There are several, each with strengths in various time periods or regions. One of them, the Gravell Watermark Archive, has gathered links to several of them in one place.


More Photography Resources


Here are a few resources that might be helpful to explore.

Graphics Atlas is a project of the Image Permanence Institute. It’s an amazing resource for help in identifying photographic and photomechanical processes. The “guided tours” of images are a great way to be reminded of the various places to look for clues within a photograph.

The Photograph Information Record passed out in class today is available digitally here.

The George Eastman House has created a series of videos about individual photographic processes, showing clips of how they were done. These are nice overviews. A quick search on YouTube will bring up a wealth of videos demonstrating processes in detail. This one, for example, provides a great explanation of the wet collodion process.

The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a variety of free leaflets on various subjects relevant to this course, but definitely take a look at the photographs section with today’s session in mind.

The Summer Institute in Technical Art History 2014

The Artist’s Book: Materials and Processes
June 9-20, 2014

A good understanding of material aspects of works of art is becoming increasingly important to art historical studies. The Artist’s Book is a two-week, intensive seminar that examines how technical art history might simultaneously clarify and complicate established art historical narratives of this important art form. The program will focus on works from the modern era, and will consider a variety of different formats. These might include: traditional letterpress printed books, deconstructed texts and book blocks, artists’ photo books, and other unique works. Bound volumes, as well as forms like scrolls, fold-outs, concertinas, loose leaves kept in boxes, and e-books may all be examined. This topic will allow us to explore the intersections of book construction, photography, printmaking, and graphic design within the context of literature, both experimental and traditional.

Under the direction of Professors Constance Woo (Long Island University) and Michele Marincola (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University), participants will study with distinguished conservators, book artists, scholars and master craftspeople. We will consider specific artworks as case studies, examine materiality and process through close looking and recreation of techniques and processes, and create a book in the studio. Participants will ascertain how these methodologies materially and theoretically inform their own diverse research interests. This seminar will provide a forum to develop critical skills in the interpretation of object-based analyses related to the scholarship of artist’s books.

Generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the seminar will be held at the Institute of Fine Art’s Conservation Center, with selected sessions at area libraries, artist studios and in the conservation labs of New York City’s leading museums.