Dr Elizabeth Savage FSA FRHistS

I am a researcher, educator, writer, and curator. I focus on the history of printing techniques, especially from the introduction of the print trade into Europe in the early 1400s through the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. My work is informed by my experiments at historical printing presses. While I took my PhD in History of Art (Cambridge), I have held posts in Bibliography, published in fields as diverse as Musicology and book conservation, and curated exhibitions of printed texts, images, and remnants of printing presses in both libraries and museums. My cross-disciplinary research has won awards including the Schulman and Bullard Article Prize, Association of Print Scholars, and the Wolfgang-Ratjen-Preis, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich.

I am Senior Lecturer in Book History and Communications at the School of Advanced Study and Head of Academic Research Engagement, University of London, where I am a director of the Book and Print Initiative. In 2023/24, I am a fellow of the Linda Hall Library. I serve on the Steering Committee of the British Museum of Printing, the Publication and Grants & Prizes Committees of the Printing Historical Society, and the Grants Program of the Association of Print Scholars. I was previously Munby Fellow in Bibliography and then British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, both Cambridge University, and visiting fellow at the Warburg Institute. In 2009–18, I founded and directed the Printing Colour Project to ‘write colour into the history of printing in the West, 1400–1920’.

I regularly curate and contribute to exhibitions of pre-industrial printed materials, including at the British Museum, London, and Musée du Louvre, Paris. Whenever possible, I teach in collections, from original artworks and artefacts of print heritage. In addition to creating public activities and specialist training, I routinely offer MA and specialist modules, including at the London Rare Books School. I supervise PhD students who explore the materiality of print heritage; materials and objects used in printing processes, including print matrices/printing surfaces and printing ink; the history of book illustration and illustrative techniques; and the history of collecting printed materials, including by women.