Cut, Bite, Stamp: The Power of Print in Eighteenth-century Britain - HOA00054I

« Back to module search

  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Richard Johns
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18
    • See module specification for other years: 2016-17

Module occurrences

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18

Module aims

Some of the eighteenth centurys most enduring and influential works of art were prints: multiple images that were traded in specialist shops, collected, copied and seen by thousands. This module examines how artists such as William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and James Gillray harnessed the political and economic possibilities of the printed image to engage with the manners and morals of contemporary British society. Alongside the rise of graphic satire (a term which encompasses some of the most highly charged images in British art) we will also examine the growing demand for ambitious prints after the work of living painters and canonical old masters - specialists in portraiture, history painting and landscape, whose work found new meanings and reached a wider, international audience in printed form. Through themed case studies and close, contextual readings, we will explore the dynamic interplay between different forms of visual representation, examining the fluid nature of seemingly stable artistic categories. The module will consider how artists variously exploited the formal characteristics, immediacy and associations of different printmaking techniques (including etching, engraving, mezzotint, aquatint, and the application of colour), to produce a visual culture that continues to challenge conventional distinctions between polite and impolite, high and low art.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • A good knowledge of the principal printmakers in Britain, including their techniques and channels of distribution.
  • The ability to articulate and respond critically and creatively to different art-historical approaches to the subject.
  • An awareness of the methodological challenges and opportunities associated with the historical study of reproducible graphic art, especially in relation to the recent historiography of visual culture in Britain.
  • An understanding of key cultural concepts associated with graphic art during the long eighteenth century, including politeness, satire, caricature, connoisseurship and taste.
  • A critical awareness of how the art of the past continues to inspire political and cultural debate.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark Group
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Seminar oral performance: presentations and discussions
N/A 10 A
University - closed examination
Cut, Bite, Stamp: The Power of Print in Eighteenth-Century Britain
2 hours 90 A
Essay/coursework
Cut, Bite, Stamp: The Power of Print in Eighteenth-Century Britain
N/A 90 B
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Seminar oral performance: presentations and discussions
N/A 10 B

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

In the tables given here, Group A tasks are assessed when the module is taught in the Autumn term, and Group B tasks are assessed when the module is taught in the Spring term.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark Group
University - closed examination
Cut, Bite, Stamp: The Power of Print in Eighteenth-Century Britain
2 hours 90 A
Essay/coursework
Cut, Bite, Stamp: The Power of Print in Eighteenth-Century Britain
N/A 90 B

Module feedback

Feedback on formative essay within one week.

Feedback on summative exams within six weeks.

Indicative reading

Timothy Clayton, The English Print 1688-1802 (1997)

Diana Donald, The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (1997)

Mark Hallett, The Spectacle of Difference (1999)

Richard Godfrey (ed.), James Gillray: The Art of Caricature (2001)

Ronald Paulson, Hogarth, 3 vols (1991-93)



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.