The Typographic Hub

NOTE: This event is now closed

The Beauty of letters: text, type and communication in the eighteenth century

14th March 2015

A two-day conference sponsored by the Baskerville Society, the Bibliographical Society, and the Centre for West Midlands History

The University of Birmingham 14-15 March 2015

In his preface to Paradise Lost (1758), John Baskerville described himself as ‘an admirer of the beauty of letters’. This conference takes his phrase as a starting point to explore the production, distribution, consumption and reception, not only of letters, but also words, texts and images during the long eighteenth century (c. 1688-1820). This conference will consider how writing, printing, performance and portrayal contributed to the creation of cultural identity and taste, assisted the spread of knowledge and contributed to political, economic, social and cultural change in Britain and the wider world.  

BOOKING IS NOW OPEN and tickets can be bought via the University of Birmingham on-line shop 

£85.00 for two daysincludes all lectures, refreshments, lunches, Jenny Uglow lecture, and Saturday evening buffet. £55.00 Saturday onlyincludes all lectures, refreshments & lunch on Saturday only, Jenny Uglow lecture, and Saturday evening buffet. £40.00 Sunday onlyincludes all lectures, refreshments & lunch on Sunday only

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS : Lynda Mugglestone, Jennny Uglow, Susan Whyman

SPEAKERS :  Peter Allen, independent scholar, The publishing calamities of Samuel Galton Junior; Francesco Ascoli, Catholic University in Milan and Brescia, When handwriting meets beauty: how calligraphy influenced handwritten communication in ordinary people in the (long) eighteenth century; Nicolas Barker, independent scholar, Joseph Champion and the Universal Penman; Natalia Belyakova, St Petersberg University, From Father to Son: Grand tour in the family correspondence in the Age of Enlightenment; Giles Bergel, University of Oxford, Writing-master and engraver: a troubled collaboration?; Pierre Delsaerdt, University of Antwerp, Branding the revival of knowledge and good taste: the creation of Leuven University Press, 1759; Jenni Dixon, independent scholar, The printed world of James Bisset; Gabor Gelleri, University of Aberystwyth, Rock, paper, scissors: the materiality of travel writing in the eighteenth century; Leonnie Hannan, University College London, Women, letter-writing and the life of the mind; Joanna Jarvis, Birmingham City University, The power of the press: an eighteenth century tale of actresses and image control; Ruth Larsen, University of Derby, ‘A white sheet is a not a proper dress for a drawing room’: an archaeology of the letters of elite women; Persida Lazarevic, University of Pescara, The beauty of Cyrillic letters: Orfelin’s calligraphy books and their models; Jennie McDonald, Independent scholar, The comical hotch-potch; Annie Mattsson, University of Uppsala, Writing in an eighteenth-century police chamber; Jon Melton, Anglia Ruskin University, ‘A man of Letters’ - Soane’s typographic vocabulary; Elaine Mitchell, University of Birmingham, A growing obsession: plants, print and progress in the eighteenth century; Lynda Mugglestone, University of Oxford, Print and the construction of cultural identity: John Baskerville’s Vocabulary, of Pocket Dictionary; Diana Patterson, Independent scholar, Beautiful writing: George Bickham’s American writing masters; Peter Pellizzari, Harvard University, The Life of Publius: a material biography of the Federalist; Tony Seaton, University of Bedfordshire, Printing and the mind of woman in Birmingham 1813-15: Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, the Arch Brothers and John Baskerville; Katrin Seyler, Birmingham Museum & Art Galleries, Writing between workshop bench and tavern table: textual traces of early modern journeyman culture; Leonard Smith, University of Birmingham, Representations of the Madhouse in Georgian England; Chiara Sironi, Palermo University, The formation of 'taste' through fictional epistles; Jenny Uglow, Independent scholar, Thomas Bewick: book design, engraving and the printers; Timothy Underhill, University of Cambridge, ‘The most beautiful hand’: John Byrom and the aesthetics of eighteenth-century shorthand; Susan Whyman, Independent scholar, 'The pleasure of writing is inconceivable’: William Hutton of Birmingham (1723-1815) as an author; Kevin Wisniewski, Maryland University, Compositors of types: typography and design in eighteenth-century America; Helen Williams, University of Northumberland, Tristram Shandy & the beauty of Caslon: the mid-century novel in a 'new letter'; Alex Wright, Independent Scholar, Baskerville, rabies and Joseph Dalby; Giacomo Zanibelli, University of Siena, The royal publishing industry of the ancient Italian states: an example of cultural and school industry in the eighteenth century..

EXHIBITORS : Tracy Allanson-Smith, Nicky McNaney, University of Derby, Medical ephemera of the eighteenth century; Ana Falcini, Independent scholar, Baskerville: indelible marks and the invisible.

BOOK SELLER : Barry McKay Rare Books, Appleby-in-Westmorland.

A PROGRAMME and INFORMATION FOR DELEGATES is avilable below for downloading.

Conference Organisers: Professor Caroline Archer [] and Dr Malcolm Dick []