Upcoming Events

Collections Visit: Printmaking and Politics

Public Event Series – Esther Chadwick, Richard Taws

  • 4 October 2023
  • 2:00 – 4:00 pm
  • British Museum

This event is part of Printmaking for Change: Past and Present – the Paul Mellon Centre's new public events programme.

Go behind the scenes at the British Museum to experience a selection of prints from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which explore the varied and complex relationships between printmaking and politics. We will look at prints designed to persuade and effect political change and consider printmaking as a link between politics and “high art”. Ranging from woodcut to lithography, line engraving to aquatint, our selection will also highlight how print was used around the world at a time of social, political and economic unrest.

This programme is an introduction to the subject and is open to all.

Talks and workshops will take place at the Paul Mellon Centre, the British Museum, PageMasters and the Royal College of Physicians.

Talks at the Paul Mellon Centre will be streamed live via Zoom. Off-site workshops will be in person only.

This session has limited space and will require confirmation of attendance 24 hours prior to the event.

Registration via Eventbrite is required and opens 8 September.

Listing image credit: Thomas Rowlandson, The Contrast (detail), 1793, hand-coloured etching and letterpress, 255 mm × 350 mm. Image courtesy of the British Museum.

About the speakers

  • Esther Chadwick is a lecturer in art history at the Courtauld, where she specialises in eighteenth-century British art. She studied art history at the University of Cambridge and completed her doctorate at Yale University in 2016. Before joining the Courtauld, she was a curator in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. Esther’s research addresses the materiality and agency of printed images, the role of art in the age of revolutions and the visual culture of the circum-Atlantic world. She is working on a book that examines the formative role of printmaking in the work of British artists of the late eighteenth century. Exhibition projects have included Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (Yale Center for British Art, 2014) and A Revolutionary Legacy: Haiti and Toussaint Louverture (British Museum, 2018).

  • Richard Taws is a professor in the History of Art Department at University College London, where he specialises in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visual culture. Much of his work concerns the social and political stakes of printed images. He is the author of The Politics of the Provisional: Art and Ephemera in Revolutionary France (2013) and, as a member of the Multigraph Collective, co-author of Interacting with Print: Elements of Reading in the Era of Print Saturation (2018). With Iris Moon, he co-edited Time, Media, and Visuality in Post-Revolutionary France (2021) and, with Genevieve Warwick, Art and Technology in Early Modern Europe (2016). He is currently completing a new book on art and telegraphy in nineteenth-century France, to be published by MIT Press.