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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

I-20. Book Illustration Processes to 1900

Terry Belanger

The identification of illustration processes and techniques, including (but not only) woodcut, etching, engraving, stipple, aquatint, mezzotint, lithography, wood engraving, steel engraving, process line and halftone relief, collotype, photogravure, and color printing. The course will be taught almost entirely from the extensive Rare Book School files of examples of illustration processes. The January 2005 version of the course, which will be based at the Grolier Club on East 60th Street in New York City, will also make use of the Club's strong illustration collections.

Almost the sole medium of instruction in this course will be actual examples of original prints drawn from the RBS and Grolier collections, most of the former divided into individual packets (one for each two students) all from the same (or a very similar) source. The students in the course will study the packets under close supervision, using 8X loupes and 30X microscopes (both provided), as necessary.

The NY version of "Book Illustration Processes to 1900" will differ from the Charlottesville version in that it will omit the laboratory sessions (in which students make relief cuts, etchings, and drypoints), providing more time for examining prints. The NY version of the course pre-supposes a basic knowledge of print identification techniques; students who have already taken the course in Charlottesville (especially if they have not done recently) are welcome to apply for admission to the NY version, which will rely heavily on RBS prints and printing surfaces acquired within the past several years.

In their personal statement, prospective applicants should describe the extent of their formal and/or informal background in the field.

Course Resources

  • Preliminary Reading List
  • Evaluations for this course:

Course History


Terry Belanger has taught this course at least once annually since 1988.


Terry Belanger and Joan Friedman teach this course four times.