2 - The illustration revolution Volume 6: 1830–1914 Cambridge Histories Online - Cambridge University Press

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2 - The illustration revolution Volume 6: 1830–1914

pp. 117-143


  • The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain Volume 6: 1830–1914
  • Edited by:
  • Publisher:

  • Online Publication Date:
  • March 2010
  • Print Publication Year:
  • 2009

  • Hardback ISBN:
  • 9780521866248
  • Online ISBN:
  • 9781139056014
  • Paperback ISBN:
  • 9781107668294

The nineteenth century brought illustrated books and periodicals to large sectors of the British population for the first time. The task fell jointly on the printing, publishing and allied trades, which responded organisationally, technologically and creatively to the demands made on them. In doing so they contributed substantially to the impact pictures in general had on society. Initially, Britain was at the forefront of the many advances in printing and publishing that brought this about, but as the century progressed its influence waned. On technical matters, for example, the initiative passed to Germany and the United States in the second half of the century, particularly in photo-mechanical reproduction and chromolithography.

The first serious efforts to bring large numbers of illustrated publications within the pockets of ordinary readers were made in Britain in the 1830s with the rise of pictorial journals, particularly the Penny Magazine (founded 1832). From then on the story is one of wider dissemination across an increasingly broad range of books and journals, greater and faster production, and a steady improvement in the technical quality of pictorial reproduction. The range embraced publications for enjoyment, including children’s books, books relating to travel and natural history, popular literature and leisure magazines, in addition to others intended for information and elucidation, such as technical manuals, guidebooks, schoolbooks on certain subjects, catalogues, scientific monographs and journals, and encyclopaedias.

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