Pressing Matters: The Art of Printing at Historic Deerfield

  • Share:
Name: Pressing Matters: The Art of Printing at Historic Deerfield
Date: March 30, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EDT
Event Description:
If, as Shakespeare declared, the world is deceived by ornament, then 18th-century men and women avidly practiced the art of deception. Whether to project refinement, wealth, status or novelty, individuals embraced ornament in its many guises. Thus a myriad of goods embellished with visually striking designs provided instructional or decorative effects and served to create a new visual vocabulary. Printing allowed for the exact replication of images and motifs that quickly reached a broad market and helped transform the very objects it decorated.

Through a combination of lecture and object study, this three-part course will examine the practice of printing on different media.Woodblocks and copperplates transmitted the designs that would adorn maps, prints, and other decorative objects on paper. European printed textiles first sought to imitate elaborate painted cottons from India, known as chintz; with improved technology in the 18th century, yards of cheaper printed cottons eventually became available. Transfer-printed ceramics allowed for quick and inexpensive decoration. For the first time handsomely decorated pottery with intricate designs and lively colors was affordable for the middle classes. These developments led to mass-production and greater access to decoration and color on commodities.

In the first session (March 16), Librarian and Curator of Maps, David Bosse will lay the groundwork for the printing process, beginning with an introduction to early papermaking.  Period techniques of preparing wood blocks and copperplates for printing will be discussed, as will the methods of reproducing transferred designs on a hand-operated press.  An overview of hand-applied coloring techniques on printed surfaces will conclude the session.

In the second session (March 23), Curator of Textiles Ned Lazaro will explore 18th-century printed textile design. Beginning with colorfast painted and printed cottons from India, these fabrics served to inspire later European and American printed examples. Into the 19th century, technological developments on both sides of the Atlantic allowed for yards of identically printed, colorful designs to be produced faster and more cheaply than ever before.  

For the final session (March 30) Curatorial Department Director and Curator of Historic Interiors Amanda Lange will discuss the development and process of transfer printing on English ceramics in the mid-18th century. By the early decades of the 19th century, great quantities of transferware were produced to meet the demand for decorated table, tea, and toilet wares. Blue was initially the most popular color, but changing fashions and improvements in technology resulted in a variety of hues.

Historic Deerfield, 80 Old Main St, Deerfield
Date/Time Information:
Thursdays, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Non-member Registration: $100 per person.
Members of Historic Deerfield: $90 per person.
Individual lectures are offered at $30 for members; $35 for non-members.
Register here:
Set a Reminder:
Enter your email address below to receive a reminder message.
“Our Chamber membership is one of the important ways that we place value on our relationships with other business owners and with our community. “ Bruce Lessels, Zoar Outdoor
“Chamber membership helps keep my staff in contact with the local business community through their seminars and events.” – Michael Tucker, Greenfield Cooperative Bank
Go To Top