3.1.1: 1725 - 1830 - Introduction

There were no revolutionary changes to the external form of the book between 1725 and 1830. Improvements were made to some production techniques, particularly under the influence of developments abroad, but there was no radical break with the past and the Netherlands only played a subsidiary and not a leading role. The professionalism of Dutch printers, illustrators, papermakers, binders and type cutters stood, however, at a high level.

Although there were no great changes in technology in the eighteenth century, there were changes in style. The black letter and the woodcut gradually disappeared and the luxury binding was very popular. Following the international, and especially the French, example, text layout, decorations and the design of bindings were clearly influenced by classicism and, later, by rococo and neo-classicism. Many books were characterised by their well balanced design. At the same time, throughout the whole of the eighteenth century, the continuation can be observed of traditions which were commonplace in the sixteenth century such as, for example, in the ornaments and printer's devices which were used and also in the phenomenon of the prize binding.

In the latter decades of the eighteenth century, a real innovation gradually came into being, the publisher's binding which provided every copy of a particular edition with the same exterior. A change in fashion occurred around 1800 with the introduction of a number of major developments within a short period of time: more books in octavo format, different binding techniques, new type faces, steel engraving and stone engraving and wove paper.

author: Jan Bos