Print and book historian wins $2,000 Schulman and Bullard prize 

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Dr Elizabeth Savage, senior lecturer in book history and communications at the Institute of English Studies (IES), School of Advanced Study, University of London, has been awarded the 2020 Schulman and Bullard Article Prize for her essay ‘Identifying Hans Baldung Grien’s Colour Printer, c. 1511–12’. 

Now in its sixth year, the prize is given by the Association of Print Scholars (APS) to an article published by an early-career scholar that features compelling and innovative research on prints or printmaking. The award, sponsored by private print dealers Susan Schulman and Carolyn Bullard, includes a cash prize of $2,000.

In her article, which was published in Burlington Magazine, Volume 161 (October 2019), 830–839, Dr Savage shifts the traditional focus in the attribution process from woodblock designer to woodblock printer. And, in doing so, convincingly identifies how, and by whom, Baldung’s intricate early coloured prints were successfully realised. 

The judges praised her for utilising contextual history and connoisseurship to build a ‘compelling case in dating, adjudicating attribution and constructing likely relationships’ and for illuminating the ‘networked nature of printmaking.’ 

'I used bibliographical tools and methods to answer a long-standing art historical question, shifting away from the artist to focus on the printer. Printers can be invisible in art history, as artists are often given sole credit for the prints they designed – but no one would give a writer credit for the production of books of their texts,' explains Dr Savage. 

'By throwing back the curtain to examine the printer and their workshop methods that produced the prints, it demonstrates the need for a unified history of printing – not just of books, or of art, or of other printed materials. This advances the Institute of English Studies’ founding aims of an object-and practice-based understanding of the production of print culture, regardless of how modern disciples divide the printed content today.'

Dr Savage’s article provides a fascinating alternative to traditional methods of print analysis and will engage the interest of curators, conservators, collectors and scholars.