Monthly update of project progression


Brief catalogues of the Kent Institute of Art and Design, Surrey Institute of Art and Design, Maidstone College of Art and Design, West Surrey College of Art and Design and University of the Creative Arts are available online


Re-housing of collections are on-going

A Care and Display of Books workshop at the Natural History Museum was attended

New deposits

Graduation photographs from the 1990s have been deposited at Rochester Library

Material from the Kent printing press is expected at Maidstone on the 19th October

Talks are being made with the Estate Services regarding building plans and photographs

Archival Guidelines and Policies

A deposit agreement and draft special collections policy are awaiting approval. The need for a retention policy for permanent preservation material has been identified and research is ongoing for it to be drawn up.

Staff and Student outreach

Fine Art MA students have been communicated with. A third year fine Art student has expressed expressed in being involved

Material from Rochester is being used in student inductions. Talks with MA students and further research students have been arranged in Farnham

External outreach

Contacts have been made with Maidstone History Centre, Kent University, Canterbury Cathedral, Farnham Museum, Farnham Library, Surrey University, Epsom Library and Ewell Local History. Opportunites for exhibitions and collaboration have been identified


Preservation in the Archives

After attending a Care and Display of Archives workshop at the Natural History Museum, it seems timely to look at why  preservation in Archives and Special Collections is so important, and what can happen if correct environmental controls and correct packaging are not adhered to.


Preservation: Ensuring that material will not be damaged in the future, by controlling external influences

Conservation: Treating material after it is damaged. Conservators must try to make sure that the treatment is reversible.

Causes of Deterioration


  •  Incorrect handling (the greatest cause!)
  •  Incorrect storage, including staples and paperclips which rust, and make the paper vulnerable
  •  Fluctuation of temperature and relative humidity, which  causes material to expand and contract
  •  Heat – causes paper to be brittle
  •  Light – fading and discolouration
  •  Pests – including mice and woodworm, which cause holes and damage. Pests will be attracted by food and drink, and often the damp
  •  Humidity – high humidity causes mould and low humidity causes brittleness
  • Security


  •  Acidity – high acidity comes from lignin present in wood, which  breaks down the paper. Paper today is much more impure than earlier paper, which is far more likely to last the test of time.
  •  Foxing. Foxing are the brown spots that you can see on paper. This can be caused by the acidity of the paper, and outside conditions. As long as the material is readable this does not have to be removed.
  •  Iron gall ink – this ink causes degradation leading to browning. It is chemically unstable and can eat through paper. It was widely used in 20th century artwork

Ways to combat deterioration

  • Following environmental condition recommendations (13C-20C and Humidity 35-60 RH)
  • Acid free packaging
  • Brass papers (which do not rust) and melinex(chemically stable and inert) sleeves
  • Correct handling, including not leaning on the document and supporting the book by the spine
  • Use of pencils only
  • No food or drink
  • Ensuring books are correctly supported by book rests, of ideally inert foam

The Wood Engravings of Eric Ravilious, September Rare Book Gem

September 2012

The Wood Engravings of Eric Ravilious

Lion and Unicorn Press: England, 1972

This rare and beautifully produced, folio format (420 x 295mm) book was designed by John Carrod for Lion and Unicorn Press, the Royal College of Art’s press. It is printed on heavy Grosvenor Chater’s Basingwerk Parchment paper.

The copy held in the Rare Books collection at UCA’s Farnham campus library is number 99 of a limited edition of 500. This was the first and only edition ever printed. It includes an informative introduction by the architect J.M. Richards, a friend and contemporary of the artist.

Eric Ravilious (1903 -1942) was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. He studied under Paul Nash at the Royal College of Art in the early 1920s. He is associated with the neo-romanticism movement, along with contemporaries Stanley Spencer, Edward Bawden, John Craxton and others.

He was particularly renowned for his wood-block prints and his watercolours. He also undertook ceramic designs for Wedgwood and designed graphics for London Transport.

Much of his work was inspired by the landscape of the South Downs in Sussex. Amongst other rural themes, he made a number of engravings depicting the chalk hillside figure of the Long Man of Wilmington, as illustrated above.

The book contains 421 block prints which represent all of Ravilious’ engraved work for which copies could be found. Many of Ravilious’ original wood blocks were destroyed or lost during World War II bombing of London.

Six of the prints in this book were made directly from Ravilious’ original wood blocks. For the other prints, blocks were specially made.

In World War II Ravilious was an official war artist. He was killed in September 1942, aged 39, while accompanying the Royal Air Force on a mission off the coast of Iceland.

A week before Eric Ravilious’ death his son James was born.  James Ravilious (1939 -1999), a highly regarded photographer, was also inspired by the rural English landscape. He is known for his photo-essays on rural life in Devon in the 1960s and 1970s. See eStream for a documentary on James Ravilious (30 minutes).

On Saturday 17 November 2012 the Victoria & Albert Museum is holding a Ravilious Study Day to examine the works of Eric Ravilious and his contemporaries. For further details and tickets see the V&A website.

For further information on Eric Ravilious and his work see

See also, Eric Ravilious: Ups and Downs (The Guardian, 30 April 2011)    

To view all previous rare book gems access

Medway College of Design Catalogue Online

The Medway College of Design Catalogue is accessible here at

The Medway College of Design was one of the predecessors to the Kent Institute of Art and Design, and now is Rochester Campus of the University for the Creative Arts. The institute dates from 1853, and dealt with courses regarding design, including art, and fashion, fashion and design being one of Rochester’s specialities today.

The archive dates from 1928 and contains

  • Student fashion shows
  • Press cuttings
  • Student art sketch books from1951-1962
  • Student fashion exam book, 1966, with examples of cotton, wool and silk

Uses can be seen in the subject guides, including Medway local historyart and design, fashion and local architecture

Archive of the Month and Rare Book Gems

University of the Creative Arts is now producing an Archive of the Month feature to sit alongside Rare Book Gems

Archive of the Month and Rare Book Gems is where an archive or rare book is focused on in depth to bring it to attention for UCA’s staff, students, and wider community

We would be interested to hear feedback from students, lecturers, and the wider community of what they want to see reviewed. Are there any budding journalists who would be interested in reviewing a rare book/archive? Do any students feel their courses/interests are being missed out on?

Please provide feedback!

Canterbury Architectural Student Association Magazine-1957

September’s Archive of the Month is the Canterbury Architectural Student’s Association Magazine produced entirely by the students of the School of Architecture, accessed here

The Magazines run from 1948-1965

This provides

information of  courses and architecture teaching from the students points of view

Architecture Humour!

Drawings and sketches of architecture in Kent and England

Architecture in Kent from the 1940s

Architecture abroad from the 1940s

(If I go to my workbench with a pencil

And if I put some paper on my board

With careful use of ruler, ink and stencil

By dint of labour and of sweat outpoured

I find when strikes three quarters after nine,

I’ve drawn one rather shaky smudgy line

[D.W. Stevens CASA 1948])

The latest Rare Book Gem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an edition limited to 200 copies, can be accessed here