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Q U I C K   L I N K S

To learn more about the engraver of the 17th-century head-piece pictured to the left, see the IN BRIEF biography for Wenceslaus Hollar.

To learn more about the economics of early-modern graphic design, see the IN BRIEF topic giving William Cavendish’s commentary on the costs of publishing his lavishly printed and illustrated book on the art of manège, La Méthode nouvelle et Invention extraordinaire de Dresser des Chevaux (Antwerp, 1657/8).

For biographical data on women printers, publishers, booksellers, patrons and authors active in the 17th-century scientific/technical book trade, see the List of women involved with the growth of early British science & technology, including the trades in She-philosopher.​com’s REFERENCES section.

For more about women’s role in the 17th-century scientific/technical book trade, see the revised edition of She-philosopher.​com’s GALLERY EXHIBIT on “Women in the Print Trade” (forthcoming).

For examples of early-modern printers’ use of black letter — including a 16th-century treatment for breast cancer from Thomas Lupton’s best-selling medical compendium, A Thousand Notable Things of Sundry Sortes (1st edn., 1579) — see the 2nd-window aside for She-philosopher.​com’s webessay entitled “The New She-philosopher.​com: a Note on Site Design” (scroll down to the link for “In comparison, reading lots of close-set black letter these days feels effortless!”).

For original research concerning 18th-century French decorative bookbinding, see Lawrence Miller’s innovative website, Virtual Bookbindings.


There is related material on the history of print, history of design, and on women’s involvement with early-modern science, medicine & technology located elsewhere at She-philosopher.​com. The best way to find it is to use our customized search tool (search box at the top of the right-hand sidebar on this page), which is updated every time new content is added to the public areas of the website, thus ensuring the most comprehensive and reliable searches of She-philosopher.​com.


First Published:  July 2012
Revised (substantive):  28 June 2022

Under Construction

S O R R Y,  but this page is still under construction.

17th-century head-piece showing six boys with farm tools, by Wenceslaus Hollar

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that you will return to check on its progress another time.

If you have specific questions relating to’s ongoing research projects, contact the website editor.

B Y    W A Y    O F    I N T R O D U C T I O N

This Web page will introduce a new section for databases, theories, and debates relating to English printers’ ornaments — part of’s growing collection of material on the history of print, design, type, and calligraphy.

Specifically, this section of the website will aggregate digital facsimiles, and catalog the uses, of decorative blocks in 17th-century publications. The hope is that scholars specializing in early-modern prints and maps, and other experts in graphic design, will be able to use this data to trace the actual transfer of woodblocks between English printers, from the late 1500s through the late 1600s.

It is my contention that the copying — and possibly even re-use — of trademark head-piece and tail-piece designs indicates that early women printers, publishers and authors were not the marginalized figures of the 17th-century scientific/technical book trade that many have suggested.


  Ornament study: Head-Piece No. 1
  Ornament study: Tail-Piece No. 1

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