Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The History of Printing at a Glance

It's ironic that an exhibition on the history of printing is available only online, but in this case, I am delighted it is available. One of the country's premiere libraries on graphic communication history and practices, The Cary Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology, presents the online exhibit, The Printer's Manual, An Illustrated History. There  are 31 images on classic and unusual texts on printing from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Curator David Pankow provides excellent documentation on each item in the exhibit.

The image at the top is from The Printer's Grammer, or Introduction to the Art of Printing, 1808 by Caleb Stower. The bottom image shows some word and letterspacing run amuck in the Scottish text, The History of the Art of Printing, 1713 by James Watson. Pankow describes the work as an extended poetic metaphor on the relationship between God the master printer and the creatures of his creation, symbolized as pages of type. 

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