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Walpole’s Book Parts

Tuesday 26 January 2021, 4.30PM

Speaker(s): Luisa Calè (Birkbeck, University of London)

In 1760 Walpole acquired Joseph Ames’s Collection of Initial Letters, an album of specimens of early printing cut out from Renaissance books. This artifact exemplifies an artisanal material culture of typographical antiquities, which identified the constitutive elements of the book by cutting up, rearranging, and storing collections of title-pages and frontispieces. This talk examines the dismantling and reassembling of book parts as a form of practical knowledge within the Walpole circle. I will use Ames’s typographical collection as a starting point for reconstructing bibliographic practices that illustrate the textual condition of the unbound book as an open-ended composite of book parts, following the bookish trajectories of detached pieces printed at Strawberry Hill and tracing their intersecting domains of practice.

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Image: Cover of Fuseli's Milton Gallery: 'Turning Readers into Spectators (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006).

Location: Zoom