The Print in Early Modern England An Historical Oversight Malcolm Jones

Publication date:
15 May 2010
Paul Mellon Centre
352 pages: 241 x 286mm
30 color + 220 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


The print repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries in England has been neglected historically, and this remarkable book rectifies a major oversight in the history of English visual art. It provides an iconographic survey of the single-sheet prints produced during the early modern era and brings to light significant recent discoveries from this visual storehouse. It publishes many works for the first time, as well as placing them and those relatively few others known to specialists in their cultural context.

This large body of material is treated broadly thematically, and within each theme, chronologically. Portents and prodigies, the formal moralities and doctrines of Christianity, the sects of Christianity, visual satire of foreigners and “others,” domestic political issues, social criticism and gender roles, marriage and sex, as well as numerical series and miscellaneous visual tricks, puzzles, and jokes, are all examined. The book concludes by considering the significance of this wealth of visual material for the cultural history of England in the early modern era.

Malcolm Jones is senior lecturer, Department of English Language and Linguistics, University of Sheffield.

‘Yale University Press is to be congratulated on publishing a generous 372 illustrations, and the book’s designer and editor have done a splendid job in presenting the densely informative text in a manner that makes it easy – and tempting – for the reader to dip in to succinct accounts of prints and iconographic motifs.’ -Sheila O’Connell, The Art Newspaper

"The Print in Early Modern England is a beautifully produced and richly illustrated book of the kind we have come to expect and appreciate from Yale University Press….The author can surely be congratulated for having achieved his aim of revealing the great range of the iconographic repertoire available in early modern England. He has presented an important part of the culture of this period that can now be seen and explored more fully than ever before. It is a fine contribution to our understanding of the visual realities and representations of the past."—Margaret Aston, Print Quarterly 

"This book makes a valuable contribution to the study of early modern culture by showing printed images to scholars in all disciplines and teaching how to read them."—Tim Clayton, Times Literary Supplement