Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

Opening times

10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays


As discussed in the previous blog entry by the seventeenth century printmakers were displaying their technical mastery through combining engraving and blackwork in their plates. This was soon followed in the second decade of the seventeenth century with new developments to create tonal modelling and a more feathery style.Figure 1Esaias van HulsenPlate from a suite of 6 designs for goldsmith...
The characteristic style of early blackwork prints incorporates sixteenth-century scrollwork, strapwork and arabesque motifs into an ornamental hybrid known as Schweifwerk or ‘tailwork’, recognisable by its curving lines terminating in tails. By the seventeenth century these forms develop into a more spontaneous flourish, often combining motifs taken from nature.Figure 1Daniel...
van Ghemert Design for a ring shoulder and bezel, Netherlands 1585
The next three blog posts will look at blackwork prints. Developed at the end of the sixteenth-century this technique was used by a number of engravers producing ornament prints. This first blog post will consider the origins, early style and uses of blackwork engravings.In the last decades of the sixteenth century a new technique of ornament engraving evolved. These prints are known as ‘...