Engraving dance, music, science and geography:
Crafts, trades and the dissemination of knowledge in the 18th century
The expression "danse gravée" has long designated the dance notation practices of the 18th century, since the diffusion of the Feuillet notation from 1700. The repertoire of engraved contredanses, published and distributed in the form of collections, small notebooks or booklets, notably from the 1760s and the Répertoire des bals by de La Cuisse, is relatively well known. However, the technique itself, the networks of collaboration between engravers and dance masters remain little studied: engravers in music, in mathematics, in geography, masters in writing, are also engravers in dance, when it is not the dance masters themselves who practice intaglio. The place of women engravers, editors and booksellers (Mme Castagnery) will be widely discussed during these days. The aim here is to understand the way in which choreographic practices in the 18th century fit into a network of printmaking know-how, professional and amateur practices, by questioning the modalities of dance engraving in a wider field of technical engraving, in geography, in science, or in music. The commissions made by dance masters to certain engravers also indicate a desire to move from a technical image to an artistic one, shaping works with sometimes very different costs and uses. Particular attention will be paid to the French and British contexts and to the circulation of plates and models from one side of the Channel to the other.
These days intend to bring together scholars from different disciplines who share the same field of research around printmaking, beyond the choreographic field. As there are very few works on printmaking in dance, these two days will also be considered as moments of collective reflection to which researchers not working specifically on choreographic practices are warmly invited.
We would indeed like to cross the experiences related to the following fields (for the 18th century):
• Dance and Music: musical scores, engraved dances, music and movement notation
• Geography: engraving and editing of maps
• Science, mathematics: illustration of scientific books
• Writing, calligraphy: engraved books of writing patterns
• and more broadly everything related to the transmission of technical knowledge through images
• Techniques of printmaking and typography
The contributions may thus relate to one or more of the following areas (non-exhaustive):
- The techniques of engraving in geography: several engravers in dance in the second half of the 18th century are were first engravers in maps and plans. The engraving in geography responds to precise stages of production (engraving of figures, before the letter) which seem to have been taken up again for a part of the engraved dances of the 18th century. In addition to a terminology that sometimes designates the figures drawn by the "plans of the dance", it will be a question of analyzing the specific relationship maintained between printmaking in geography and printmaking in dance.
- The networks of engravers in science and especially in mathematics. The development of manuals and works of physical or mathematical "recreation" required the use of engravers whose expertise sometimes extended beyond technical engraving. We will try to understand the processes of specialization of certain engravers who also contributed to dance engraving, bringing with them a way of drawing and arranging the scores.
- Engravers: dance collections from the second half of the 18th century frequently mention engravers (sometimes the engraver of the figures is not mentioned, only the engraver in writing is indicated). Contributions on the status and techniques of engraving in script are highly desirable.
- Music engraving in France and in England, and its technical evolution: the use of tin and punches for engraving in music seems to have inspired technical evolutions in dance engraving. It may be useful to revisit this English innovation of the 1730s in order to understand how the techniques (and costs) of choreographic printmaking benefited from the expertise of musical printmaking.
- Preparatory drawings: very few preparatory drawings for engraved scores have been preserved, for many reasons. However, the collaboration between dance masters and engravers may have necessitated the transmission of drawings for the "traits" of the dance when a distinction is regularly made between the author of the dance, the author of the notation and the engraver. Working from other examples, outside of the choreographic field, we would like to examine the intermediate sources and materials for the creation of technical prints.
- The networks of collaborations between actors. The sheets of engraved dances are the fruit of collaborations of a quite important number of actors (master of dance and musicians, amateur and professional dancers, engravers specialized in writing or in music printmaking), publishers, printers, and merchants-bookshops. Some publishing companies are the subject of a company creation. Contributions highlighting the networks of collaborations mobilized for the production of scientific works, musical collections or geographical maps are particularly welcome.
- The amateur practices of engraving and the training of engravers. The analysis of dance scores from the 1770s and, for example, the collections of contredanses published by Bouin attest to the technical progress of Mlle Bouin, the publisher's daughter, whose first creations proved to be very clumsy. Some dance masters, like Landrin or Rameau, ensure themselves the execution of the engravings of their works, without being professional engravers. The analysis of the biographical paths and of the modalities of learning engraving also allows us to shed light on the exponential development of a publishing enterprise that required the rapid publication (sometimes weekly) of scores.
- The place of women printmakers. If we know relatively well the important feminization of engraving practices in music, the more general share of women in the printmaking world, in France and in England, is the subject of very recent works questioning both the training networks and the mechanisms of emancipation according to family contexts. The case of female printmakers shows quite different biographical paths: daughters, wives or widows of printmakers and/or publishers, they can also have an independent activity, emancipated from the family framework. Particular attention will be paid to this particular place of women in fine and technical printmaking.
- The status of the print and the relationship to the printer-bookkeepers. The full use of copperplate printing for the publication of an edition of Raoul-Auger Feuillet's Chorégraphie, taken up by Malpied, for example, seems to bypass the corporation of printer-booksellers by proposing works that do not use the letterpress. The cost and technical difficulties of such undertakings (numerous pages of text directly engraved on copperplate), question the motivations of the authors, the bypassing of publishing practices and auctoriality.
- The phenomena of series in the publishing and engraved cartography . In the second half of the 18th century, dance engraving developed through the publication of single scores, gathered in collections and volumes, with tables sold independently, bound series and is a phenomenon that is not specific to the choreographic field. The cheap publication of series and collections of prints outside of choreographic scores will be analyzed through specific examples (booksellers, publishers...)
- The use of renowned engravers and the production of fine images: the publication of Kellom Tomlinson's The Art of Dancing in 1735, or Guillaume's Almanach dansant in 1769, reveals practices that go beyond technical printmaking by using renowned engravers and sometimes by assuming the production of images whose aesthetic quality exceeds their didactic virtues. This practice thus makes it possible to shed light on the editorial (and even financial) stakes of such publications.
Proposals for papers, not exceeding one page, followed by a brief bio-bibliographic presentation, should be sent before July 1ster 2022 to the following email addresses: pauline.chevalierinha.fr and johanna.danielinha.fr
For accepted proposals, travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by INHA.
Pauline Chevalier (INHA) Johanna Daniel (INHA)
- Ilaria Andreoli (INHA)
- Mathias Auclair (BnF)
- Laurent Barré (CND)
- Pascale Cugy (University of Rennes 2)
- Marie Glon (University of Lille)
- Joël Huthwohl (BnF)
- Sandrine Nugue (ENSBA Lyon)
- Juliette Robain (INHA)
- Laurent Sebillotte (CND)
This conference is part of a wider research program on dance drawings and notations : https://www.inha.fr/fr/recherche/le-departement-des-etudes-et-de-la-recherche/domaines-de-recherche/histoire-des-disciplines-et-des-techniques-artistiques/choregraphies.html
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CFP: Engraving dance, music, science and geography (Paris, 21-22 Nov 22). In: ArtHist.net, Jun 16, 2022 (accessed Mar 20, 2023), <https://arthist.net/archive/36967>.