Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
History of Graphic Art1:British Illustration since 18th Cent
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 12 Hours.
Seminars / Tutorials 6 Hours. Seminar.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module the student will be able to

  • explain the function of illustration and the role of the illustrator
  • develop the ability to evaluate and categorise the different ways in which illustrators interpret texts and communicate visually to the audience
  • recognise the qualities and marks that are specific to each print medium used in book production, distinguishing between the various manners in which artists draw for the processes
  • define the restraints under which illustrators work and the role played by the publisher, author, designer, typographer and editor
  • demonstrate an understanding and sure handling of the technical terminology
  • explain the socio-historical and art historical contexts of the illustrators and their work

Brief description

The module examines the nature and role of illustration in British books and periodicals over the past 200 years considering the relationship between image, text and process.


The module aims to discuss books in relation to their social and historical context through the work of some key illustrators for commercial and private press books. There will be opportunities to study original books in the University's collection.


Introduction: Approaching Illustration. Course objectives and overview
Illustration in Britain before 1800
Thomas Bewick and the Commercial Illustrated Book
`The Golden Age of British Book Illustration': The 1860s
Seminar: Illustrations for periodicals of the 1860s
The Refinement of Colour: from colour wood engraving to the half-tone process
The 1890s 1: William Morris and Private Press Historicism
The 1890s 2: Beardsley and `Art Nouveau'
Charles Ricketts and the Private Press legacy
Seminar: Private Press Books of the Inter War Years
Commercial illustrated books 1920-1940
Post War pen & ink illustration in Britain, the Radio Times and others
Seminar: Neo Romantic Illustrators
Continuity and New Departures: Illustration since 1950


This module is at CQFW Level 6