Conference Programme

Blocks, Plates and Stones: Print Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Collections and Research. The Courtauld Institute of Art, 2017

Abstract: The Case Study of Iohannes Moll’s Copper Plate - 
Iohannes Moll’s copper plate belongs to a group of 26 engraved plates from National Museum of Ancient Art’s matrix collection (Lisbon), which illustrate Manuel de Faria e Sousa’s book Epitome de las Historias Portuguesas (Bruxels: 1677) and Historia del Reyno de Portugal (Bruxels, Antwerp: 1730). The first 22 plates reveal no descriptive identification details on the front and the last four show the following: F. Harrewÿn Calcographus Regius Sculps: Bruxel. The analysed matrix corresponds to the frontispiece of the publications and depicts an allegory of Lusitânia and the four known continents. The back of this plate shows an engraving of Iohannes Moll’s name, along with a sacred heart with two bows and a seven-pointed star. Ernesto Soares, the Portuguese historian who studied this series of prints and observed the matrices, assumes Iohannes Moll’s inscription corresponds to the engraver’s name (Soares, 1954). However, there is a significant difference between the quality of the burin’s incision of the signature and the allegory’s drawing. This led us to raise questions about Ernesto Soares’s theory and opened a study on the possibilities of Iohannes Moll’s occupation, as well as other engravers who collaborated with the publisher François Foppens (Bruxels). The study of traces visible in the copper plate related to different moments of the phased work created a broader vision of the context in which this particular process developed. This resulted in a reflection of aspects of materiality and practice in printmaking and the interference of the body in the making of the print. This poster presents the analysis on Iohannes Moll’s copper plate and the findings that open the possibility of further study of this group of matrices.