2011-2012 Blog Entries

    Digitization Projects

    Digitization of the International Labour and Radical History Pamphlet Collection is ongoing. 354 pamphlets have now been scanned and uploaded to the Digital Archive.The International Labour and Radical History Pamphlet Collection in the Queen Elizabeth II Library consists of more than 2200 pamphlets, representing a broad spectrum of leftist opinion that includes communists of various stripes, socialists, liberal reformers, trade unionists, civil libertarians and antiwar activists.
    Additions to the Roger & Marlene Peattie Collection

    1. Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Ballads and Narrative Poems

    Hammersmith, Kelmscott Press for Ellis & Elvey, 1893.. Printed in red and black. With woodcut double title and several woodcut initials both designed by William Morris. 227 pp. Large 8vo. Orig. limp vellum with 2 silk ties (1 broken) and with gilt-lettered title on spine.. One of 310 paper copies besides 6 on vellum. Armorial ex-libris on first paste-down.

    2. Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Sonnets and Lyrical Poems

    Hammersmith, The Kelmscott Press for Ellis & Elvey, 1894.. With woodcut title borders and many woodcut initials designed by William Morris. X, 197 pp. Large 8vo. Orig. limp vellum with 2 silk ties and with gilt-lettered spine.. One of 310 paper copies besides 6 on vellum. Exlibris "Robert Hall 1902" on first paste-down.

    3. Malory, Sir Thomas. Le Morte D'Arthur (Aubrey Beardsley illustrator).

    Le Morte D Arthur. ( 2 Volumes ) J.M.Dent & Company, London 1893.

    This edition of Le Morte DArthur is limited to 300 Copies on Dutch Hand Made paper and 1500 ordinary copies, after printing which the type has been distributed." Present copy is one of the 1500. The two Volumes in publisher s cream-coloured cloth decorated on front and spine with design of stylized irises, Beardsley-Art Nouveau-style, stamped in blind and richly gilded.Titles on spine treated equally.


    Recently Added English Books from the 16th Century

    1. Boccaccio, Giovanni & John Lydgate. The Tragedies, gathered by John Bochas, of all such Princes as fell from theyr estates throughe the mutability of Fortune since the creation of Adam, until his time: wherein may be seen what vices bring menne to destruccion, wyth notable warnings howe the like may be avoyded.

    Translated into English by John Lidgate, Monke of Burye. London: John Wayland, (1554).


    2. Pulton, Ferdinando. An Abstract of all the penall Statues which can be generall, in force and use: Wherein is conteined the effect of all those Statutes, which do threaten to offenders thereof the losse of life, member lands, goods, or other punishment or forfaiture whatsoever. Whereunto is also added, in their apt Titles, the effect of all other generall Statutes.wherein there is any thing materiall and necessarie for each subiect to know. Moreouer the authoritie and duetie of all iustices, shirifes, coroners, escheators, maiors, baylifes, customers, comptrollers of custome, stewards of leetes and liberties, aulnegers, and purueyors, and what things by the letter of seuerall statutes in force, they may, ought, or are compellable to doe.

    Collected by Fardinando Pulton, ... and by him (sithence the last Parliament holden anno 39. regin Elizabeth,) corrected and amended in euery title, and also augmented with diuers both last, and fourmer statutes, and with some new titles now added hereunto. London: Thomas Wight, 1600.


    3. Bullein, William. Bulleins Bulwarke of Defense Against All Sickness, Soareness and Woundes that doe dayly assaulte mankinde: Which Bulwarke is kept with Hilarius the Gardener, & Health the Phisicion, with the Chirurgian, to helpe the Wounded Souldiours. Gathered and practised from the most worthy learned, both olde and new: to the great comfort of Mankinde...

    London: Thomas Marshe, 1579.


    The New Incunables

    1. MEDIAVILLA, RICHARDUS DE. Commentum super quarto sententiarum. (ed. by Franciscus Gregorius). Venice: Dionysius Bertochus, 10 November 1489.

    Folio, 217 (first leaf blank, without last blank leaf). Roman type; 2 columns; 64 lines; capital spaces with guide letters; rubricated with initials provided in red by a fine contemporary hand; few tiny round worm holes in first few leaves; small marginal worm hole in top margin of a few leaves. Fine fresh wide margined copy. Early blind tooled pigskin backed wooden boards; at a later time the boards were covered with leaves from an incunable and spine labels added.

    FIRST EDITION to be edited by Franciscus Gregorius of this commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard written in 1294 by the English theologian and philosopher Richard Middleton (or Mediavilla; ca. 1249-1308?) who was a leading Franciscan teacher of the thirteenth century.

    Midddleton served as chancellor for several years from 1269 to 1272 and taught theology at Oxford and Paris.


    2. LOCHER, Jakob. Libri philomusi. Panegyrici ad Rege(m). Tragedia de Thurcis et Suldano. Dyalog de heresiarchis. Strassburg: Johann (Reinhard) Grüninger, 1497.

    4to, 61 (of 62 leaves) with 19 (2 full-page) woodcuts from 16 wood blocks. Lacking last leaf with colophon (on rector with blank verso); title in Gothic, text in Roman type with, 3 Greek words printed as woodcuts. 19th century half vellum. FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION of this Strasbourg incunable. The text consists of three long works and a number of shorter works in poetry and prose by the court poet Jakob Locher (1471-1528). Of particular interest is the middle poetical work, "Tragedia de Thurcis et Suldano", which consists of an early admonition against the Turks in five acts (dated id. Maiis, 1497).


    3. MARTIALIS, Marcus Valerius. Epigrammata. (with commentary by Domitius Calderinus). Venice: (Printer of the 1480 Martial), 1480.

    Folio, [223] leaves (instead of 224; without last blank). Roman type; 57 lines; capital spaces; ownership inscription on first blank page; marginal annotations in an early hand; first few leaves with some minor marginal handsoiling; few very minor dampstain in outer blank margin of last few leaves; some tiny round worm holes at end of volume (not affecting text). Contemporary blind tooled calf over wooden boards (rebacked and without clasps or 4 bosses).

    Early printed edition of Martial with the commentary by Calderinus which was first printed in 1474 by De Colonia and Manthen.


    4. ALBERTUS MAGNUS, Saint. [Paradisus animae] De veris et perfectis virtutibus alias Paradisus animae nuncupatus. (Strassburg): (Martin Flach), (10 July 1498).

    4to, [36] leaves, including final blank leaf. Gothic type; 2 columns; spaces left for capitals with guide letters; few very minor smudges and tiny marginal damp stains; old printed book label of Sauveur-Jérôme Morand in blank portion of last text page.


    Recently added to the Roger and Marlene Peattie Collection

    Doyle, Richard. In Fairyland. A Series of Pictures From the Elf-World. London, Longmans, Green, Reader, & Dyer, 1870.

    With a Poem by William Allingham. Folio. Original green boards, titles and illustration to upper board gilt, decorations to spine gilt, all edges gilt. 16 colour plates, painted by Doyle, engraved by Edmund Evans. First edition of one of the masterpieces of Victorian colour printing.


    Houghton, Arthur Boyd, et. al. The Spirit of Praise. London: F. Warne & Co., n.d. [1866].

    First edition, 24.5 x 18cm, in publisher's reddish-brown sand-grain cloth w/elaborate gilt decorations, title, and dogwood floral motifs to covers & spine & sunken turquoise panels to covers (all designed by Albert Warren).Binder's ticket (W. Bone & Son; Ball 17D) to rear pastedown, 251 [xiv] red-ruled pp. with decorative gilt, red, blue and sepia frontis and titlepage, 8 gilt-decorated plates, numerous in-text wood engravings by the Dalziels, & red-decorated initials & ornaments by P. Hundley thrroughout. Printed at the Camden Press, London. “The most ornate of the 'Dalziel's Fine Art Books."


    Gray, John. Silverpoints. London, Elkin Mathews & John Lane. 1893

    First edition, number 215 of 250 copies on paper water-marked Van Gelder. Original green cloth designed by Charles Ricketts. The quintessential nineties slim book of verse at once attracted attention, as much for its design, based on Aldine models in the shape of a Persian "saddle book," as for its contents.


    Wilde, Oscar. The Sphinx. London Elkin Mathews & John Lane, 1894.

    First edition. 4to. (8.8 x 6.9 inches). One of only 200 copies published for England. Printed, in 3 colours on hand made paper. Illustrated with 9 full page, and one half page, engravings by Ricketts. Both boards feature full gilt decorations by Ricketts. Decorative initials.


    Recenty added to the Anne and Kevin Major Collection

    Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. engravings by Barry Moser, [West Hatfield, Massachusetts] Pennyroyal Press, 1982

    The finest Pennyroyal Press edition of this modern press books. On Pulegium paper made especially for the Pennyroyal Press and signed by the artist, this is #203/350.

    Printed in black with the sub-titles, chapter numbers and titles all printed in blue and the calligraphic title (designed by G.G. Laurens) and marginal glosses all printed in red, Barry Moser's wonderful wood-engravings throughout the text, a number full-page, and one (an engraving of Alice) a folding tipped-in plate printed on a tinted ground, 2 of the wood engravings printed in the outer margins in blue and red and an engraving of the key printed in gold, on the opposing page is an engraving of the bottle with the `Drink Me' label printed in black, blue, green and red, the large initial `A' at the beginning of the text designed by Laurens and engraved and hand coloured in gold by Barry Moser.

    With a portfolio of the engravings, being an extra suite, each printed on a separate sheet measuring 425 x 280 mm and initialled in pencil by Barry Moser, together with the note to the reader concerning the cracking of the wood blocks; all enclosed in a pale grey canvas portfolio.


    Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Illustrated by Barry Moser. Foreword by Henry Nash Smith. West Hatfield, [Massachusetts]: Printed by Harold McGrath. , 1985.

    Centenary Edition. Limited to 350 numbered copies signed by the artist, this being number 62. Printed on Mohawk Letterpress, accompanied with an additional unsigned suite of the prints by Barry Moser, all encased in a linen chemise. Large quarto. xxii, 419 pp. Forty-nine wood engravings by Barry Moser. Publisher's full green morocco gilt by E. Gray Parrot. Triple gilt-rule borders on covers, with the dates 1885-1985 stamped in gilt within roundel in center of upper cover. Spine lettered in gilt, with paste paper endsheets by David Bourbeau. The text used for this project was taken from the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library.


    Robert D. Denham's Richard Outram/Barbara Howard Collection

    The one-hundred-and-thirty titles in the Robert D. Denham Collection include books, broadsides and keepsakes produced by the Gauntlet Press, the private press established by Canadian poet Richard Outram and Canadian artist Barbara Howard. The Collection also holds trade editions of Outram's work as well as works by Richard Outram and Barbara Howard that do not bear the mark of the Gauntlet Press. Many of the items in the Collection are presentation copies, inscribed by Outram for Professor Robert D. Denham and his wife. The Collection also contains Gauntlet Press and other titles that were originally Barbara Howards's personal copies, several of which bear an inscription in Richard Outram's hand.


    The Lubrano Collection of Broadside Ballads

    has been digitized and added to Memorial University Libraries' Digital Archives Initiative.

    The Lubrano Collection of Broadside Ballads is a collection of 580 English ballads from the nineteenth century, the last great period of broadside ballad production. The ballads in this collection are typical examples of nineteenth century broadside printer's art with most sheets containing two ballads, many with a woodcut at the top and displayed title underneath it, and often with another decorative cut at the bottom of the sheet. The same woodcut is often used with different ballads. Digital facimiles of all 580 broadsides may be viewed here. The original paper copies may be viewed by visiting the Queen Elizabeth II Archives & Special Collections Reading Room.


    Historia Langobardorum

    Paul, the Deacon. Pauli Diaconi ecclesiae aquilegiensis historiorgraphi percelebris de origine et gestis regum Langobar doru libri VI : cum indice et argumentis. [Parisiis] venudãtur ab Joanne Paruo et Iodoco Badio Ascensio, 1514.

    25cm x 19cm. The binding is parchment over pasteboard with an armorial stamp in gold leaf on the front and back covers. The armorial stamp is identical to that of Jean L'Evesque de la Cassiere, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, 1572-1581.

    Wear on the front cover indicates the copy may have had clasps at one time. The fore edge and top and bottom edges are speckled in blue. The front pastedown bears the ex libris label of Mr. W.C. Baert de Waarde, most likely the jurist Wilhelm Cornelis Baert de Waarde (1864-1951). The title page verso bears the stamp of the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie in The Hague.

    Title page: the title sits within ornamental border and shows the mark of Parisian bookseller Iehan Petit. The title page bears the following inscription, “Sum Ex Libris Gothofredi, Dalij/ Anno 1611.” Professor Alain J. Stoclet believes this to be Gothofredus Dalij, i.e. Godfrey or Geoffrey Daly or O' Daly, who may have been a member of a prominent Irish bardic family, traditionally attached to the kings of Munster, and who fled to the continent following the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland. The book is annotated and underlined in several places in what appears to be the same hand.

    Special thanks to Professor Alain J. Stoclet of the Université Lyon who provided much of the information above.


    Kaladlit Okalluktualliait...[Legends from Greenland]

    Noungme [Godthaab, Greenland: Printed at the Inspectorate Press by L. Møller], 1859-1863. Volume 1. [8],136,[2]pp. plus eight lithographed plates of music, twelve woodcuts and coloured title page vignette.

    Edited by the leading Greenland expert of the day, Danish Geologist and administrator, Henry Rink (Hinrich Johannes Rink), this set of collected folk tales of Greenland was printed on the first real press to operate in the region. There are four volumes in the set, of which volume one was recently donated to Memorial University Libraries. Many of the stories in the first volume describe the clashes between the Norse and the Inuit.

    The illustrations in volume one were supplied by an Inuit named Aron of Kangeq, a sealer and walrus hunter who lived at the Moravian mission at the small trading station of Kangeq. Aron was stricken with tuberculosis (which was epidemic in Greenland in that era) and confined to bed. Having heard of his raw artistic talent, Rink supplied him with "paper, coloured pencils, and the necessary tools for woodcutting."

    More information about this work can be had at the William Reese Company website or in Knud Oldendow's , The Spread of Printing...Greenland (Amsterdam, 1969), see especially pp.39-44.


    A New Addition to the Bibliography of Samuel Johnson?

    Johnson, Samuel. Lives of the British Poets of the Eighteenth Century. Edinburgh: Seton and Mackenzie [n.d.]. Published between 1854 and 1862.

    This recent donation is essentially Vol. III of Johnson’s Lives of the British Poets Completed by William Hazlitt but with a different title page. This imprint is not listed in Courtney and Nichol Smith's bibliography, nor is it mentioned in J.D. Fleeman’s bibliography of Johnson’s works, nor is it is it in that bibliography’s online agenda and corrigenda. John Overholt, assistant curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection at Harvard, has indicated that this imprint is not part of the Hyde collection. There is no catalogue record for it in WorldCat, nor is it in the British Library catalogue. It is not listed in the NUC. The inside cover bears a book plate: "Edinburgh Institution/ 23, Charlotte Square," which is signed by J. Thorne Harris, Master." 1862.


    Irving Layton Exhibit


    Archives and Special Collections Reading Room

    A temporary Archives and Special Collections reading room has been set up on the third floor of the QEII Library. The room is located immediately behind the Centre for Newfoundland Studies service counter (see map below). Access to the collections is subject to Archives and Special Collections reading room hours, though additional access can be provided outside regular service hours upon request.


    The Queen Elizabeth II Library’s Special Collections Unit acquires two medieval manuscripts

    1. BOOK OF HOURS, use of Utrecht, in Dutch, decorated manuscript on vellum [Haarlem, c.1455-65]

    165 x 117mm. 179 leaves, 19 lines written in a gothic bookhand in black ink between two verticals and 20 horizontals ruled in grey, justification: 83 x 59mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one-and two-line initials alternately in red or blue, three-line initials alternately in red and blue with flourishing in purple or red to side margin, six large puzzle initials in red and blue with extensive flourishing in red and purple to upper and side margins. Binding: contemporary brown calf stamped in blind with a panel of the Lamb of God in a roundel within a mandorla framed by “Siet dat lam Goedes dat boert die sonnen d[er] verl,” the symbols of the four Evangelists in the corners, within a triple fillet, two metal clasps and catches.

    Provenance: 1. The Calendar includes saints especially revered in the County of Holland, part of the diocese of Utrecht, with St Bavo, patron of Haarlem parish church in red (2 October).
    2. Charles Aldenburg Bentinck (1810-1891) of India House, Bovey Tracy, Devon: his name with note 'bought at Exeter 1832'. 3. Major J.R. Abbey (1894-1969): his gilt stamped armorial leather book plate inside upper cover; his name and addresses and date of purchase, January 1943.

    Contents: Calendar, for the diocese of Utrecht, with saints especially revered in the county of Holland: Cyriacus (8 August), Hippolytus (17 August) and Jeroen in red (17 August); Office of the Virgin, use of Utrecht; Hours of Eternal Wisdom; Hours of the Cross; Hours of the Holy Spirit ; Penitential Psalms; Litany, with Jeroen, Adalbert, patron of the Abbey at Egmond; prayers before and after receiving the sacrament; Office of the Dead, use of Utrecht.

    Decoration: The fine penwork is a splendid example of the inventive patterning developed particularly in the northern Netherlands, where proponents of the Devotio moderna argued against excessive luxury and display. The flourishing is a mixture of styles that include 'fountain' and 'thorn and stitch' motifs and that of the 'Haarlem-Canons-Regular-Missal', written in 1447. The 'thorn and stitch', typical of the northern part of the county of Holland, is named from the spiky decoration concentrated around the initial and from the short parallel strokes laid over the longer curving lines. The 'beardmen' (e.g. ff. 39v, 47, 59v, 66v, 166v, and on f.63v with a more conventional man's face) and the dog's head on f.70 are also typical for this area. The large leaf motifs and are very like those in a Psalter localised to Haarlem c.1450, while the 'fountains' of curving lines and 'treble clef' forms, as f.36v or f.114v with triplet 'beardmen', are characteristic of Haarlem penwork of the third quarter of the 15th century.


    2. Dutch Missal (Major Feasts (Christmas, Easter, etc.), Proper of Saints, Canon, and some Masses for the Common), manuscript on vellum, the Netherlands, ca. 1475.

    Manuscript on vellum, 96 folios, the Netherlands, ca. 1475: 293 x 210 mm (written area 202 x 140 mm). Double columns, 24 lines. Modern foliation, some quire signatures. The Canon is tabbed (one tab has survived). Restored medieval binding, probably original, of blind-stamped tooled calf over bevelled oak boards with brass clasps (straps missing) and corner mounts.

    Provenance: Two stamps, one apparently locating the book at Cologne Cathedral, the other placing it in a Jesuit provincial library.

    Contents: Text and music for mass Prefaces for ferial days and for major feasts, including the Nativity, Epiphany, Easter, etc. Sasses for the first Sunday of Advent, SS Andrew, Barbara, second Sunday of Advent. Christmas Eve, dawn mass for the Nativity, Nativity Mass, St Stephen Protomartyr, John the Evangelist, Innocents, Circumcision, Chair of St Peter, Matthew Apostle, four Sundays of Lent, Pope Gregory, Passion, St Ambrose, Epiphany, Purification of BVM, Annunciation, Easter Sunday, Ascension, St. John Baptist, SS Peter and Paul, Visitation, Vigil of the Assumption, Assumption, St Augustine, Nativity of BVM and Office of the Conception, St. Michael Archangel; Prefaces for the Octave of the Lord's Nativity and other Feast days; Canon of the Mass, including a Creed. masses for the Apostles Phillip and James, Invention of the Cross, Exaltation of the Cross, Pentecost, Holy Trinity, St Barnabas, Mary Magdalene, De divisione apostolorum, Apostle James, Laurence and his Octave, Helena, dedication mass; Office of Holy Trinity, masses for Holy Ghost (and Office), Holy Cross, Commemoration of BVM, Purification of the BVM, Office pro necessitate; Orationes; Offices and Masses for the Dead; various special masses and prayers, and an Office for St Mark; Eleven Thousand Virgins, Office for All Saints, Bishop Martin, Katherine, followed by the Common of Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Abbots, Virgin Martyrs, masses for Cosmas and Damian, Dionysius and Companions, St. Luke, Severinus, Simon, St Anne;

    Decoration: Scores of Lombard initials in blue and red, with typical rubrication. Over fifty decorated initials, two- to four-lines or even larger, in blue or red with red penwork infilled with green and with penwork extensions. Some stray marginal annotations, additions, and corrections. Two quires were rubricated in a bright blue ink and have no decorated initials.


    The Irving Layton Collection

    Memorial University's Irving Layton Collection was acquired in 2010 from Canadian writer and critic John Metcalf. The Collection contains approximately 260 items, including every English Language edition of Layton's work, among them the important early editions from First Statement Press and Contact Press. As well as first editions and early editions, there are also foreign language editions, reprints, scarce limited editions, broadsides, anthologies (trade and workshop), and books owned by Layton, some of which have been annotated or corrected by him. In addition to personalized copies, several works in the Collection contain poems hand written by Layton, either on the endpapers or on loose leaf that was subsequently laid into the book; a number of these poems have not been collected. Finally, the Collection also contains Layton's prose works, books that he edited or contributed introductions or forewords to, collected letters, books about Layton, as well as a number of periodicals, photographs and audio recordings.

    For more information, please visit the Special Collections Irving Layton Collection Web Page.


    The Anne and Kevin Major Collection

    Works produced by Canada's Locks' Press, England's Circle Press and The U.S.A.'s Janus Press make up the bulk of this collection of 42 fine press/artists' books donated by Anne and Kevin Major in 2010. The collection also holds a variety of works from other fine presses, including an edition of Aesop's Fables, Elizabethan love songs, as well as contemporary poetry by Michael Crummy, Anne Michaels, Kevin Major and Charles Simic. There are also books designed and made by Newfoundland-based artists Tara Bryan and Anita Singh.

    For more information, please visit the Special Collections Anne and Kevin Major web page.

    The image above is taken from the William of Poitiers Poem About Nothing (Locks' Press, 1995).


    Literary Hypertext or E-Incunabula?

    In 2010, Memorial University Libraries Special Collections began collecting examples of early electronic books or what my archivist colleague Bert Riggs has dubbed E-Incanabula. We have begun with the classics, written during Moulthrop's "second wave" (starting with the introduction of personal computers and running through the popularization of the Internet, the second wave produced widely-distributed systems and the first examination of their uses and implications), and including Michael Joyce's "Afternoon, a story," Judy Malloy's "Its Name Was Penelope," Stuart Moulthrop's "Victory Garden," and Shelley Jackson's "Patchwork Girl." We are particularly interested in collecting the work of Canadian hypertext writers. Recently, Memorial University Libraries became the permanent home for Newfoundlander writer Don Austin's hypertext prose poem ned after snowslides.

    More information about the fledgling collection can be found at the Special Collections Literary Hypertext webpage.

    The image above is taken from Don Austin's ned after snowslides.


    Through Darkling Air

    On Wednesday Oct. 20, 2010, Canadian poet and writer Peter Sanger delivered a public lecture to launch his most recent book, Through Darkling Air, a comprehensive literary biography of Canadian poet Richard Outram. The talk took place place in the Map Room of the Queen Elizabeth II library and was sponsored by Gaspereau Press and by Memorial’s Faculty of Arts and Queen Elizabeth II Library. Examples of Outram's collaborations with artist Barbara Howard were on display from the library's Gauntlet Press Collection.


    Jenner/Clinch Book on Loan from Harvard

    In October 2010, staff of Special Collections worked with Dr. Jim Connor, John Clinch Professor of Medical Humanities and History of Medicine at Memorial University, to borrow a first edition copy of Edward Jenner’s An inquiry into the causes and effects of the variolae vaccinae: a disease discovered in some of the western counties of England, particularly Gloucestershire, and known by the name of the cow pox from the Rare Books collection of the Countway Library, Harvard Medical School. This copy of the book was inscribed by the Edward Jenner to John Clinch (1748-1819) of Trinity, Newfoundland as follows: “For the Rev. John Clinch from his affectionate friend the author”. John Clinch is credited as the first practitioner in North America to employ the Jennerian process of vaccinating against smallpox using cowpox. The work was the centerpiece of a book display at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies in support of the 36th Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for 18th-Century Studies. Memorial is grateful to Jack Eckert of the Countway library for making this loan possible.


    Exhibition of walking bird press books

    In the Winter of 2010, the Queen Elizabeth II Library hosted an exhibition of artist's books by Newfoundland-based artist Tara Bryan.

    Tara Bryan’s walking bird press combines the best of fine letter press printing with the tradition of artists’ books. Since moving to Newfoundland in 1992 with her Vandercook press and six cabinets of type, Tara Bryan has produced more than one hundred letter-press publications, limited edition artists’ books, and unique “one-of-a-kind” works. She has a keen interest both in the Newfoundland landscape and in language, particularly as they are expressed through poetry. She has produced slightly surreal children’s books, and has drawn on the work of Lewis Carroll to produce one of her most ingenious works: “Down the Rabbit Hole” (2005). She has produced books in traditional codex form that range in size from miniatures to folio editions; she has constructed tunnel books, concertina or accordion-folded books, a jack-in-the-box book, hexa-flaexagons, broadsides, and books in specially designed boxes and envelopes. She incorporates into her designs a wide-variety of machine and hand-made papers (Thai Bamboo, Kiritsubo, St. Armand and Opus Watermedia, to name a few), creating works that are as appealing to the touch as to the eye. Walking bird press titles are illustrated and decorated with linocuts, rubber stamps, wood blocks, screen-printing, monotypes, laser printing, letter press printing and blind-stamping. Works may be bound in paper, cardboard or cloth, or concealed in envelopes or custom-made boxes. One spectacular example, To Stretch the Night (2001), is bound in walnut boards and has on its cover an original bas-relief bronze sculpture. In creating the unique output of walking bird press, Tara Bryan has collaborated with many artists, designers, printers, and writers from Newfoundland and from other parts of the world. Viewed chronologically, one notes the evolution of the forms she has chosen to use since she began making books in the 1980s. Viewed as a whole, the work dazzles with its range and complexity. Visit walking bird press to see images of Tara Bryan's work.


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