William Blake’s ‘illuminated printing’: a demonstration of Blake’s method of printing word and image together from relief-etched copper-plates

Share/Save Share this page
Michael Phillips
Monday, 22 January, 2018 - 17:15
Christ Church Upper Library, Oxford

Monday 22 January 2018

Christ Church Upper Library at 5.15 p.m.

William Blake’s "illuminated printing":  a demonstration on the replica of Blake’s rolling press

Michael Phillips

(Emeritus Fellow CECS University of York)

In 1788 Blake invented a method of relief etching that he called "illuminated printing". This made it possible to print both the text of his poems and his images from the same copper-plate in an engraver’s rolling press. In the introduction to the demonstration, Blake's innovation, with which he produced his illuminated books such as Songs of innocence and The marriage of heaven and hell, will be described in relation to conventional eighteenth-century printing techniques for illustrated books.

For the Blake exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum that opened in December 2014, as guest curator Michael Phillips researched and had built by Josh Howard-Saunders of Bates & Lambourne an exact replica of Blake’s wooden rolling press, which is currently on loan in Christ Church Upper Library.

On sale at the demonstration will be examples of the replica prints from the illuminated books printed by Michael Phillips (click here).