Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type made it possible to print letters. But images could only be printed using two other technologies that were developed alongside letterpress. One depended on wooden blocks which were cut and printed in relief, the other on copper plates into which lines were cut by engraving or etching and were printed on a rolling press. Copper-plate printmaking developed into a huge business employing thousands of people, and dominated image production for nearly four centuries across the whole of Europe. Its processes remained very stable, and a man of 1500 could have walked into a printing shop of 1800 and understood what was going on. During the nineteenth century this world was displaced by new technologies, of which photography was by far the most important. The research for this book has formed the basis of a series of public lectures and seminars at the University of Oxford, delivered by Antony Griffiths as part of his role as this year’s Oxford Slade Professor (the oldest professorship of art at the University of Oxford) This is a landmark publication and is destined to become the leading reference book for all students and scholars of prints; the author’s aim is also to open up the subject for a wider readership. Over 300 illustrations drawn from the British Museum’ s outstanding collection of prints. The British Museum houses the national collection of Western prints and drawings.