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Blackwork prints: Part 3: the demise of the blackwork ornament print

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 1 Esaias van Hulsen Plate […]

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Happy Anniversary, London 2012: The Olympic Cauldron Model

Today is the one year anniversary of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and to mark the occasion Thomas Heatherwick’s cauldron model has been installed on display in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. The model arrives in the Study Room and is taken out of its packing crate. © Abraham Thomas The […]

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Blackwork Prints: Part 2: Technical mastery and enlivening blackwork ornament prints

The technique of blackwork engraving, using goldsmith’s tools to gouge out large channels for ink was developed for jewellery designs at the end of the sixteenth century. Part two of this series of three blog entries will look at the highly skilled developments in this technique at the turn of the seventeenth century.

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Blackwork prints: Part 1:Early blackwork prints, the development of a new technique and its uses

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 […]

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Butterflies

The Natural History Museum, our neighbours across the road, have opened their Sensational Butterflies exhibition – an outdoor attraction packed with live butterflies. As I sit here at my desk, I see the NHM flag flying above the roof, fluttering in a brisk wind, and it struck me that we have our own sensational butterflies here, too, captured in drawings and paintings and prints. They may not be live, breathing specimens, but I think they're none the less fascinating for that.

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The Life and Work of Etienne Delaune (1)

The work of Etienne Delaune creates a vivid portrait of a cosmopolitan artist who worked on a number of different subjects in various styles, and whose career was marked by both success and insecurity.Probably born in 1518, Delaune worked as a goldsmith in Paris in the 1550s. In 1552 he was appointed to the royal mint, where he would have produced metalwork designs. However, this post was cut short over disputes about wages: Delaune only held the post for six months.

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Cupid, draw back your bow

Guest bloge entry by Bryony Bartlett-RawlingsFigure 1: V&A inventory number 29876.4Juan Dolívar after Jean Bérain the ElderPossibly after a tapestry design by Jean Bérain the Elder1685-1693Every year around Valentine’s Day images of Cupid begin to appear on cards and in shops advertising gifts to buy for our loved ones.

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Ornament for presentation and collection

Guest blog entry by Bryony Bartlett-RawlingsThe evolution of print publishing around the end of the fifteenth century is closely intertwined with the development of ornament engravings and their role as designs for the decorative arts. The possibility of producing multiple impressions and the transportability of prints facilitated the wider distribution of these designs. However there are some works in the V&A collection that suggest printmakers were also aiming at a niche market of collectors through employing more expensive materials and techniques.

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Teaching art and spreading models: Jan de Bisschop’s prints after the antique

Guest blog entry by Valentina RubechiniAntiquities have always had a strong allure for men and for artists in particular. From the very beginning of the 15th century artists began drawing ancient sculptures and ruins as well as historical events.V&A inventory number 29627.67Jan de Bisschop after Jacob de Gheyn III, Athena, Dutch, 1669

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