Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Illustrated Suites, Sequences, and Sets


Originally exhibited April 26– August 10, 2010
Entry Hall


Bridwell Library holds a wide range of illustrations in books and manuscripts created in various locales and time periods. The images in these volumes offer readers both aesthetic pleasure and graphic information which complements textual content.  This exhibition focuses on printed illustrations which were intentionally created as coherent series of images.  Included are suites of engravings, entirely engraved books with image and text included on the same plate, illustrated sequences of woodcuts and engravings in printed books, and sets of prints in publications intended for children. All were published between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries in continental Europe, England, or Mexico. 

Several of the publications are biographies, a genre particularly well-suited for image sequences which highlight episodes in the lives of religious figures.  Subjects here include the life of Jesus and the lives of saints, martyrs, and hermits. Other narrative accounts with illustrated series delineate the Stations of the Cross, the order of the Mass, and the origins of the Virgin of Guadalupe in New Spain.  The variety of publications on display also includes works for children that incorporate sets of illustrations based on episodes in the Bible.  Created as educational tools, these images are an integral part of the work, purposefully included to attract and maintain the interest of youngsters beginning their study of scripture. 

For readers of all ages, these illustrated series provide an opportunity to engage with publications beyond textual reading and to discover the potential of printed works in which the use of images is a primary focus and an essential element.  Beyond the written word and the embellished page, these images educate and edify, simultaneously providing viewers with information and the opportunity for spiritual reflection.

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Symbiosis of Script, Font, and Form


Through March 31, 2022
The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries

Symbiosis of Script, Font, and Form: A Selection of Artists’ Books is a look at books from Bridwell Library Special Collections in which artists or circles of collaborators have integrated corporeal elements of the book form into the literature in sensitive and sometimes astounding ways.

Discernable amid the plant fiber paper, vellum, oil and pigment pastes, linen thread, tanned leather, and other material of floral, faunal, mineral, or synthetic origin, is a responsive environment that seems to bloom at each opening. In some books the precise arrangement may have been decided from the beginning and only required crafting. For others the makers may have begun with a vision less arrant, and used artistic and artisanal processes to discover what lifts the book above its substance. Regardless the finished book will offer words that can be spoken and heard, paper that can be weighed in the hand and felt on the fingertips, ink that is forever as rich on the page as it had been on the press, geometry that cuts through the book page by page, a flow of alphabetic characters familiar and then seen for the first time, all enmeshed, all bound in organic synthesis, together surpassing any individual contributions.

The exhibited selections are in no way comprehensive as an array of twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists’ books. No particular thread in the history of printing or Western book arts was tracked. No succession of artists was deliberately followed. Rather, each book was included for its own sake, on its own terms, in its appeal to human hands, minds, and spirits.

Jon Speck and Rebecca Howdeshell, co-curators

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