Commentary on the Engravers' Act (1735)

Ronan Deazley, Martin Kretschmer (Editor), Lionel Bently (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


Legislation conferring exclusive rights, for a period of 14 years, on persons inventing and designing engravings and similar works. This was first occasion on which British copyright legislation extended to something other than literary works. The commentary describes the background to the Act, in particular the lobbying efforts of a small group of artists and engravers led by William Hogarth, and details similarities and differences which the legislation bore to the Statute of Anne 1710. The commentary suggests that, whereas the Statute of Anne essentially sought to regulate the production of the physical book, with the Engravers' Act the legislature began to articulate a more subtle distinction between the physical object and the subject of copyright protection, which was in this case, the engraved image.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on the Engravers' Act (1735)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


  • copyright history


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