Trade in Artists' Materials: Markets and Commerce in Europe to 1700

Jo Kirby, Susie Nash, Joanna Cannon (eds)

UK Price: £90.00 US Price: $180.00

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ISBN: 9781904982258
Binding: Hardback
Dimensions: 297 x 210 mm
Pages: 509
Illustrations: 137 colour, 36 halftone

Where did artists buy their materials? Who prepared them? What did they cost? Where did they come from, and how? This volume draws together the international research in this new and rapidly developing field of interdisciplinary enquiry by historians, conservators, scientists, economic historians and historians of trade. The evidence concerning supply and distribution, availability, cost, quality and value of artists' materials is fundamental for interpreting surviving objects in a wider sense.

The authors draw on documentary material as diverse as pharmacy price lists, shipping and customs records, merchants' handbooks, traders' inventories and court account books. These sources are combined with technical evidence from works of art to explore the movements of pigments, dyes, panels, canvases, alabaster, parchment and paper from their point of origin to their purchase by the consumer in the major European centres of trade.

The contributions range from specific case histories to more general views of the mechanisms and actuality of trading. Questions of terminology that have dogged the study of this topic are addressed and clarified, and new evidence concerning the nature of the materials traded and their identification is presented. Much of the detailed material discussed is provided in table form, and the book, which is generously illustrated, includes many maps illustrating trade routes.

This volume is based on the papers for the international conference European Trade in Painters' Materials to 1700 held at the Courtauld Institute and the National Gallery, London, with additional contributions, and is supported by International Academic Projects and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

...the book is a treasure trove of information, a pleasure to read and a source of new ways of thinking about painting.
The Art Newspaper 21(233) (March 2012) 58

This exemplary editorial collaboration...introduces new evidence to consider in the investigation of art historical questions that relate to the materials used for making art...[This] publication is a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary field of technical art history.
The Picture Restorer 39 (Autumn 2011) 49-53