“Spreading the News: The Illustrated Press,” focuses on the new concept of the illustrated universal survey periodical that appeared early in the 1830s, first in England, then in France. It was enabled by technological advances such as the steam press, cheaper paper, wood engraving and stereotypes, as well as greater literacy among the citizenry. The earliest illustrated periodicals were published by social reformers in both countries who were attempting to raise the status of the working classes, but the medium soon attracted wealthier, more educated strata as well; within decades the illustrated press had spread throughout the world.
Patricia Mainardi is Professor Emeritus of Art History in the Doctoral Program of the City University of New York. Her books include Art and Politics of the Second Empire: The Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867 (1987), which received the Charles Rufus Morey Award from the College Art Association of America as the best art history book of its year; The End of the Salon: Art and the State in the Early Third Republic (1993); Husbands, Wives and Lovers: Marriage and Its Discontents in Nineteenth-Century France (2003); and Another World: Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Print Culture (2017).