Title-page to Francis Bacon's Instauratio magna Among the most typical printed images of the period were illustrative title-pages. These originate in the Tudor period, when they were predominantly woodcut, but from c. 1600 onwards they often took the form of engraved plates, many of which are included in this database. Sadly, they have often been detached from the books in which they were issued,   Title-page to Thomas Heywood, Gynaikeion, 1624 but we have included a representative sample of specimens from the National Art Library which have been photographed in situ in the books to which they belong.

These title-pages are often elaborate compositions which sought to encapsulate the theme of a work by emblematic or illustrative means. A case in point is William Marshall’s engraved title-page to the 1641 edition of Richard Brathwait’s English Gentleman and English Gentlewoman: this includes a whole series of emblems showing the attributes of male and female members of the landed class and adding up to a visual exposition of gentility in the period. This is the source of the motifs that we have used on the banner to our website, and we have therefore provided a separate reproduction of this title-page with a description of the content of each of its components. (See Marshall title-page.)