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Artsfest Online: Printing and Print Culture in the Midlands: a Webinar


  • When? 17 September 2020 , 5pm
  • Where? Wolverhampton, UK

The Midlands was Britain’s most historically important printing region outside London. Through its connections with William Caslon I, England’s first native type-founder (Cradley), and John Baskerville, the famous printer, (Birmingham) it became a centre of world printing during the mid-eighteenth century. Its contribution to printing history, however, extends beyond Caslon and Baskerville, and for three centuries the region’s printers, type-founders, engravers, bookmakers, newspaper makers and typographic educators combined to make the region not only a national and international typographic force. But it is not simply technological advances that made the region’s printing trade significant. Its products were a reflection of its changing intellectual, social, spiritual, and commercial life, which has been preserved through the production of books, broadsides, ballads, newspapers and a range of general printing.

This book launch draws attention to a special edition of the journal Midland History, 2020, vol. 45, no 2 (Taylor & Francis Online ) which is dedicated to printing history and culture of the Midlands. Each of the authors will give a short presentation on their articles and there will be ample opportunity for discussion. Contributors include:

John Hinks: The history of printing and print culture: contexts and controversies

Caroline Archer: Places, spaces and the printing press: trade interaction in Birmingham

Sahar Afshar: The Gurmukhi type of Oxford University Press

Caroline Archer and Ann-Marie Carey: The Baskerville Punches: revelations in craftsmanship

John Grayson: Imperfect printed enamel surfaces: interpreting marks of eighteenth-century Midland craftsmanship

David Osbaldestin: The art of ephemera: typographic innovations of nineteenth-century Midland jobbing printers

Guy Sjögren: Proclamation or persuasion: promoting the Birmingham cut-nail trade 1827-95

Andrew Jackson and Elaine Johnston: Provincial newspapers, sports reporting and the origins, rise and fall of women’s football: Lincolnshire, 1880s-1940s

Jenny Gilbert: ‘Better dressed than Birmingham’? wholesale clothing catalogues and the communication of mass fashion, 1920s-1960s

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