Although ‘art books’ of various kinds existed before 1800, art publishing grew significantly and with increasing speed through the 19th century. Two key factors, each encouraging the other, were the growth of interest in art among a heterogeneous public, and developments in printing technology, especially in methods of reproducing illustrations. Increasing numbers of illustrated art books contributed to the dissemination of awareness of an ever-broader spectrum of works of art, and of the decorative arts, throughout society, and nourished the historicism and eclecticism practised by contemporary artists and designers. The Romantic Movement’s cult of the individual artist prepared the way for the emergence of the artist’s monograph as a significant category of art book, made possible by the capacity to reproduce an artist’s works. The growth of art historical scholarship, informed by a new rigour, brought about the publishing of scholarly works incorporating documentary research, and of previously unpublished or newly-edited source material; art reference works, of several kinds, also multiplied. By 1900 art publishing had set all the precedents it would need until well into the second half of the 20th century.