‘Framed and clothed with variety’
Print culture, multimodality, and visual design in Derricke’s Image of Irelande
in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
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One of the most detailed visual accounts of Irish customs and culture, the twelve illustrations in The Image of Ireland (1581) represent an impressive achievement in visual design and textual navigation. Part diagram, part graphic novel, each image features small letters connecting its actions to the narrative poem below. A look at other printed illustrations from the period (particularly those produced by Dutch woodcutters) demonstrates that John Derricke’s work carefully responded to contemporary themes and popular visual protocols. Further, the twelve illustrations offered a unique combination of form, design, and functionality not unlike modern hypertexts. Taking into consideration the early print marketplace in general and the demands from Day’s workroom in particular, this chapter suggests that The Image of Ireland’s illustrations were designed to be printed and circulated separately from Derricke’s poem. Derricke’s illustrations can be understood within the context of increasingly multimodal and dynamic reading practices among middle-class readers and are evidence of Day’s incredibly diverse market of book-buyers.

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