AHRC Award

Small performances: investigating the typographic punches of John Baskerville though practice-based research

Small Performances is an interdisciplinary project that will make a substantial contribution to the history of printing technology, whilst ensuring it is a living process that will continue into the future. At its heart is the exceptional collection of typographic punches designed, cut and used at the workshop of England’s foremost eighteenth-century printer, John Baskerville (Birmingham, 1707-75), and now housed in the Historical Printing Room, Cambridge University Library.

Bringing together printing historians, heritage scientists, craftspeople, and type designers around the AHRC-funded Cambridge Heritage Science Hub (CHERISH), this project will reconstruct eighteenth-century punch-cutting using a combination of pioneering scientific approaches (microscopy, chemical analyses, 3D modelling and advanced imaging) and artisanal methods (blacksmithing, engraving, jewellery, type design) that will benefit current industrial and craft applications as well as educational projects.

This three-year, £1m AHRC-funded project commences in January 2024 and is led jointly by Professor Marcos Marinón-Torres (University of Cambridge), Caroline Archer-Parré (Birmingham City University), Ann-Marie Carey (Birmingham City University) and Maciej Pawlikowski (University of Cambridge).

Centre for printing history and culture