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Engraving dance, music, science and geography

Graver la danse, la musique, les sciences et la géographie

Crafts, trades and the dissemination of knowledge in the 18th century

Corps de métier et diffusion des savoirs au XVIIIe siècle

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Published on Wednesday, June 15, 2022


The expression “danse gravée” has long designated 18th-century dance notation practices, since the diffusion of the Feuillet notation from 1700 onwards. The repertoire of engraved contredanses, published and distributed in the form of collections of small notebooks or booklets, notably from the 1760s and the Répertoire des bals de La Cuisse, is relatively well known. The place of women engravers, editors and booksellers will be widely discussed during these days. The aim is to understand how 18th century choreographic practices fit into a network of printmaking know-how, from technical engraving to semi-fine printmaking. 



The expression "danse gravée" has long designated the dance notation practices of the 18th century, since the diffusion of the Feuillet notation from 1700. The repertoire of engraved contredanses, published and distributed in the form of collections, small notebooks or booklets, notably from the 1760s and the Répertoire des bals by de La Cuisse, is relatively well known. However, the technique itself, the networks of collaboration between engravers and dance masters remain little studied: engravers in music, in mathematics, in geography, masters in writing, are also engravers in dance, when it is not the dance masters themselves who practice intaglio. The place of women engravers, editors and booksellers (Mme Castagnery) will be widely discussed during these days. The aim here is to understand the way in which choreographic practices in the 18th century fit into a network of printmaking know- how, professional and amateur practices, by questioning the modalities of dance engraving in a wider field of technical engraving, in geography, in science, or in music. The commissions made by dance masters to certain engravers also indicate a desire to move from a technical image to an artistic one, shaping works with sometimes very different costs and uses. Particular attention will be paid to the French and British contexts and to the circulation of plates and models from one side of the Channel to the other.

These days intend to bring together scholars from different disciplines who share the same field of research around printmaking, beyond the choreographic field. As there are very few works on printmaking in dance, these two days will also be considered as moments of collective reflection to which researchers not working specifically on choreographic practices are warmly invited.

We would indeed like to cross the experiences related to the following fields (for the 18th century):

  • Dance and Music: musical scores, engraved dances, music and movement notation
  • Geography: engraving and editing of maps
  • Science, mathematics: illustration of scientific books
  • Writing, calligraphy: engraved books of writing patterns and more broadly everything related to the transmission of technical knowledge through images
  • Techniques of printmaking and typography

Topics proposals

The contributions may thus relate to one or more of the following areas (non-exhaustive):

The techniques of engraving in geography

Several engravers in dance in the second half of the 18th century are first engravers in maps and plans. The engraving in geography responds to precise stages of production (engraving of figures, before the letter) which seem to have been taken up again for a part of the engraved dances of the 18th century. In addition to a terminology that sometimes designates the figures drawn by the "plans of the dance", it will be a question of analyzing the specific relationship maintained between printmaking in geography and printmaking in dance.

The networks of engravers in science and especially in mathematics

The development of manuals and works of physical or mathematical "recreation" required the use of engravers whose expertise sometimes extended beyond technical engraving. We will try to understand the processes of specialization of certain engravers who also contributed to dance engraving, bringing with them a way of drawing and arranging the scores.


Dance collections from the second half of the 18th century frequently mention engravers (sometimes the engraver of the figures is not mentioned, only the engraver in writing is indicated). Contributions on the status and techniques of engraving in script are highly desirable.

Music engraving in France and in England, and its technical evolution

The use of tin and punches for engraving in music seems to have inspired technical evolutions in dance engraving. It may be useful to revisit this English innovation of the 1730s in order to understand how the techniques (and costs) of choreographic printmaking benefited from the expertise of musical printmaking.

Preparatory drawings

Very few preparatory drawings for engraved scores have been preserved, for many reasons. However, the collaboration between dance masters and engravers may have necessitated the transmission of drawings for the "traits" of the dance when a distinction is regularly made between the author of the dance, the author of the notation and the engraver. Working from other examples, outside of the choreographic field, we would like to examine the intermediate sources and materials for the creation of technical prints.

The networks of collaborations between actors

The sheets of engraved dances are the fruit of collaborations of a quite important number of actors (master of dance and musicians, amateur and professional dancers, engravers specialized in writing or in music printmaking), publishers, printers, merchants-bookshops. Some publishing companies are the subject of a company creation. Contributions highlighting the networks of collaborations mobilized for the production of scientific works, musical collections or geographical maps are particularly welcome.

The amateur practices of engraving and the training of engravers

The analysis of dance scores from the 1770s and, for example, the collections of contredanses published by Bouin attest to the technical progress of Mlle Bouin, the publisher’s daughter, whose first creations proved to be very clumsy. Some dance masters, like Landrin or Rameau, ensure themselves the execution of the engravings of their works, without being professional engravers. The analysis of the biographical paths and of the modalities of learning engraving also allows us to shed light on the exponential development of a publishing enterprise that required the rapid publication (sometimes weekly) of scores.

The place of women printmakers

If we know relatively well the important feminization of engraving practices in music, the more general share of women in the printmaking world, in France and in England, is the subject of very recent works questioning both the training networks and the mechanisms of emancipation according to family contexts. The case of female printmakers shows quite different biographical paths: daughters, wives or widows of printmakers and/or publishers, they can also have an independent activity, emancipated from the family framework. Particular attention will be paid to this particular place of women in fine and technical printmaking.

The status of the print and the relationship to the printer-bookkeepers

The full use of copperplate printing for the publication of an edition of Raoul-Auger Feuillet’s Chorégraphie, taken up by Malpied, for example, seems to bypass the corporation of printer-booksellers by proposing works that do not use the letterpress. The cost and technical difficulties of such undertakings (numerous pages of text directly engraved on copperplate), question the motivations of the authors, the bypassing of publishing practices and auctoriality.

The phenomena of series in the publishing and engraved cartography

In the second half of the 18th century, dance engraving developed through the publication of single scores, gathered in collections and volumes, with tables sold independently, bound series and a phenomenon that is not specific to the choreographic field. The cheap publication of series and collections of prints outside of choreographic scores will be analyzed through specific examples (booksellers, publishers...)

The use of renowned engravers and the production of fine images

The publication of Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing in 1735, or Guillaume’s Almanach dansant in 1769, reveals practices that go beyond technical printmaking by using renowned engravers and sometimes by assuming the production of images whose aesthetic quality exceeds their didactic virtues. This practice thus makes it possible to shed light on the editorial (and even financial) stakes of such publications.

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers, not exceeding one page, followed by a brief bio-bibliographic presentation, should be sent to the following email addresses: pauline.chevalier@inha.fr and johanna.daniel@inha.fr

before July 1er 2022

For accepted proposals, travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by INHA.


  • Pauline Chevalier (INHA) Johanna Daniel (INHA)
  • Scientific Committee
  • Ilaria Andreoli (INHA)
  • Mathias Auclair (BnF)
  • Laurent Barré (CND)
  • Pascale Cugy (University of Rennes 2)
  • Marie Glon (University of Lille)
  • Joël Huthwohl (BnF)
  • Sandrine Nugue (ENSBA Lyon)
  • Juliette Robain (INHA)
  • Laurent Sebillotte (CND)

Indicative bibliography

Bouchon, Marie-Françoise, " La Contredanse comme jeu social au XVIIIe siècle ", Analyse musicale, n°69, 4e trimestre 2012, p. 80-86.

Clayton Tim, Cook Karen Severud, and Kretschmer Ingrid, "Reproduction of Maps," in Matthew H. Edney and Mary Sponberg Pedley (eds.), Cartography in the European Enlightenment , 4, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, coll. "The history of cartography," 2020, vol. 2/2, p. 12381265-.

Devries-Lesure, Annik, Dictionnaire des éditeurs de musique français, vol.1 : Des origines à environ 1820, Geneva, Minkoff, 1979.

Devries-Lesure, Annik, L’édition musicale dans la presse Parisienne au XVIIIe siècle, catalog des annonces, Paris, CNRS Editions, 2005.

Fau, Elisabeth, La gravure de musique à Paris, des origines à la Révolution (1660-1789), Paris, Ecole des Chartes, 1978.

Glon, Marie, "Inventing a Scriptural Technique in the Eighteenth Century: ’Choreography or the Art of Describing Dance’," Artefact [Online], 4 | 2016, online July 07, 2017

Glon, Marie, Les Lumières chorégraphiques. Les maîtres de danse européens au cœur d’un phénomène éditorial (1700-1760), history thesis, ed. Georges Vigarello, EHESS, 2014.

Glon, Marie. "The materiality of theory. Print practices and the construction of meaning through Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing Explain’d (1735). Re-thinking practice and theory, Jun 2007, Pantin, France. pp.190-195.

Granger, Sylvie, Dancing in Enlightenment France, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2019.

Guilcher, Jean-Michel, La Contredanse et les renouvellements de la danse française, Paris / La Haye, Mouton, 1969, republished under the title La Contredanse, Un Tournant dans l’histoire française de la danse, text corrected and completed by Naïk Raviart, preface by Yves Guilcher, Brussels, Complexe / CND, 2003.

Lancelot, Francine (dir.), La Belle Dance, Catalogue raisonné des chorégraphies françaises en notation Feuillet fait en l’an 1995, Paris, Van Dieren, 1996.

Milliot, Sylvette, " Marie-Anne Castagneri. marchand de musique au XVIIIe siècle (1722- 1787) ", Revue de Musicologie, vol. 52, no 2, 1966, p. 185195-. -Online : https://www.jstor.org/stable/927569

Nordera, Marina, " La réduction de la danse en art (XVe-XVIIIe siècle) ", in Hélène Vérin and Pascal Dubourg Glatigny (dir.), Réduire en art : La technologie de la Renaissance aux Lumières, Paris, Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, coll. " Hors collection ", 2018, p. 269291-. -Online: http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/10161

Pedley Mary Sponberg, "The map trade in Paris, 1650-1825," Imago Mundi, vol. 33, no 1, January 1981, p. 3345-. Online: https://doi.org/10.1080/03085698108592513

Pedley Mary Sponberg, The commerce of cartography: making and marketing maps in eighteenth-century France and England, Chigago (Ill.), University of Chicago press, series "The Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr. lectures in the history of cartography," 2005, vol. 1/.

Smith, Marc, " Les modèles d’apprentissage de l’écriture en France depuis la Renaissance ", Apprendre, 2020, p. 167-179.

Stein Perrin (ed.), Artists and amateurs: etching in eighteenth-century France, New York, MET, 2013. Online : https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/The_Art_of_Etching_in_Eighteenth_Cen tury_France


  • INHA, 2 rue Vivienne
    Paris, France (75002)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Friday, July 01, 2022


  • danse, musique, estampe, gravure, histoire de l'art, géographie, mathématique, science, représentation, calligraphie


  • Pauline Chevalier
    courriel : pauline [dot] chevalier [at] inha [dot] fr
  • Johanna Daniel
    courriel : contact-rotondes [at] inha [dot] fr

Information source

  • Johanna Daniel
    courriel : contact-rotondes [at] inha [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Engraving dance, music, science and geography », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, https://calenda.org/1001638

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