Materials and Functions of 15th Century European Blockbooks
John McQuillen, The Morgan Library
Blockbooks were heavily illustrated works printed entirely from woodcut and popular in the Netherlands and southern Germany in the 1460s–70s. Produced on order from sets of existing woodcuts, they were the first print-on-demand books. Although they ultimately lost out to the dissemination of typographic printing, they are pivotal examples of developing bibliographic desires in the period. This show-and-tell presentation has grown out of an on-going project examining the Morgan's blockbook collection (and other copies in the US), in an effort to more fully understand and describe the production and use of the genre as well as the modern collecting history (provenance) of individual copies.
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