With more than two million prints, the British Museum has become one of the largest collections of print in the world. Most of these prints are either illustrations or fully completed works of art and most of them date back to the era before the advent of photography. In order to display this immense wealth of print collections to the public, the British Museum is currently holding an exhibition titled “The Business of Prints”.
The museum will continue this exhibition until 28 January 2018, which will be an exciting opportunity for visitors who tour British Museum. The major theme of the exhibition is based on some of the key aspects of printing and printmaking. This includes the production of prints, lettering, usage of the prints and its collection. Besides, the exhibition will also display various books and tables, which will be displayed as framed on the wall.
The Business of Prints exhibition is organized at Room 90 of the British Museum. Along with the exhibition, visitors can also purchase the book, The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550 – 1820 by Antony Griffiths from the shops in the museum. The exhibition is partly based on this book, which was one of the earliest attempts to describe the workings of the printing industry.
The works of prominent artists such as Rembrandt, Goya, and Durer will be displayed along with the works of printmaking artists. This includes a target practice rabbit, an early karaoke, and a print from plates. Visitors will be offered a completely new experience as the display provides them with rich information about the history of print, printmaking and the lettering.
The period from 1400 to 1850 had a flourishing printing industry before the discovery of photography. It was a chain of process that started from the design and crafting of the plate or wooden block to the distribution of the prints across the country. The exhibition has given sole emphasis on this once thriving trade of mass production of print.
Antony Griffiths the exhibition curator stated, “This is the first exhibition ever to demonstrate what prints can tell us about the vast business of trading prints. The exhibition aims to open the visitor’s eyes to the business of printing. Prints were multiples made in the hope that people would buy lots of them. The range of subjects, sizes, and purposes was huge – far larger than people realize today.”