Archive: "History of Printing and Fine Press" Category

Student exhibit on Books of Hours

Dr. Elliott Wise’s Fall 2021 Art History 490/540 class are guest curators of the newest exhibit in Special Collections. “The Book and the Body” showcases the students’ original research using images from Special Collections’ printed and manuscript Books of Hours. The exhibit examines how early readers would have interacted emotionally, spiritually, and physically with these …

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A Halloween exhibit

From October 13-31, Special Collections reprises the “Thrills and Chills in Cloth” exhibit for Halloween. It features some particularly spooky 19th and 20th century books from our Rare American Literature and Victorian and Edwardian collections. The exhibit demonstrates how British and American book designers took advantage of new technologies to stamp full-color images into cloth …

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Celebrating Dante Alighieri

Today marks the 700th anniversary of the death of the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri. His Divine Comedy (completed in 1320) is considered both one of the greatest works in Italian literature and one of the greatest literary works of the European Middle Ages. Dante’s poetry and prose works were copied widely in Medieval Italy—around 800 …

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New exhibit: Making the Kelmscott Chaucer

125 years ago this month, William Morris and his compatriots at the Kelmscott Press finally published the book which had occupied them since 1892. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted, also known as the “Kelmscott Chaucer,” was the most elaborate – and significant – work issued by the press. Morris was a lifelong …

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Modern Fine Press Collection exhibit

This winter, the L. Tom Perry Special Collections salutes the work of modern fine printers and artists working with the book as a medium with a small case exhibit titled “A Printer Wonderland.” It has been common practice for many modern fine printers to produce small keepsakes at Christmas or New Year’s, including cards, broadsides, …

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Beautiful bindings: the vellucent binding

In the 1890s, English bookbinder Cedric Chivers (1853-1929) introduced a new book decoration process which he called the “vellucent” binding. First, an artist would create a painting on a very thin medium. The design might include mother-of-pearl inlays, gold leaf, or other decoration. It would then be overlaid with a specially-treated sheet of vellum — …

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New acquisitions: Printing proofs for the Kelmscott Chaucer

Special Collections recently acquired five printing proofs of wood engravings from William Morris’ masterpiece, the 1896 Works of Chaucer. The illustrations were designed by Victorian artist Edward Burne-Jones, and then would have been transferred to blocks of wood by Robert Catterson-Smith and then engraved by William Harcourt Hopper. These proofs would have been created as …

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The Giunti and the Medici

As part of the History of Printing and Renaissance/Reformation Collections, Special Collections has acquired numerous examples of the work of the Giunti family, a prominent Italian printing dynasty of the 15th and 16th centuries. The family’s printing business extended across Europe, with presses in Venice, Florence, and Lyon and a book distribution network which spread …

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Art Nouveau Bindings for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, we’ve created a gallery of some rather gorgeous poetry books. The bookbindings shown here were all designed in the art nouveau style, and published between 1880 and 1910. Art nouveau features long, flowing lines, inspired by organic forms. It was popular in decorative arts of the late Victorian …

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Christmas with the Grabhorn Press

Special Collections has a large collection of the work of the Grabhorn Press, a San Francisco fine printing establishment founded in 1920 by brothers Edwin and Robert Grabhorn. The Grabhorn Collection is comprised of books, broadsides, and ephemeral pieces produced by the press over several decades, including this undated Christmas card sent by Edwin and …

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