From about 1400, there began a "visual revolution that inundated Europe with images during the fifteenth century" (Field) as the woodcut technique was applied to paper, which was now manufactured in Christian Europe, instead of being imported from Islamic Spain. In the 15th century, the great majority of these images were religious, if playing cards are excluded. They were sold at churches, fairs and places of pilgrimage. Most were coloured, usually crudely, by hand or later by stencil. One political cartoon relating to events in 1468-70 has survived in several different versions (many from years later). Old master print is a term that at this period includes popular prints, but later is restricted to more expensive and purely artistic prints.
Although early information as to prices is almost non-existent, it is clear from a number of sources that small woodcuts were affordable by at least the urban working-class, and much of the peasant class as well.
During the middle of the century, the quality of the images became typically very low, but there was an improvement towards the end, partly because it was necessary to keep pace with the quality of images in engravings. Engravings were always much more expensive to create, as they needed greater skill to create the plate, which would last for far fewer impressions than a woodcut. They did not come into the popular prints category until the 19th century, when different techniques made them much cheaper.