New Artist Book Exhibition, Beaney Museum, Canterbury

Image and Word

Image and Word, Artist Books display at the Beaney

Image and Word, Artist Books display at the Beaney

UCA Canterbury Library has put up a new exhibition of Artist Books, in the Beaney Museum, Canterbury

It is on Image and Word and features Artist Books relating to typography

This is to complement the new Beaney gallery display – Signs for sounds: contemporary lettering & calligraphy.

See the Beaney Museum’s page here

Visit all of UCA Canterbury Library’s Artist Books here


Monthly update on project progression

Artist Book,  Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson

Artist Book, Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson


New catalogues available are

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Publications Collection, consisting on annual reports, research projects and general prospectuses. Available on Archives Hub

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Student Union Archive, consisting of 1990s Student Council minutes. Please note that they may be susceptible to data protection. Available on Archives Hub

Medway College of Design Archive is available on Archives Hub

Bulletins, newsletters and staff minutes are currently being catalogued to the Farnham School of Art and West Surrey College of Art and Design.

Further detailed cataloguing is commencing on Medway College of Design student sketchbooks, and Canterbury College of Art and School of Architecture, Architectural magazine, CASA and the Epsom and Ewell School of Art and Technical Institute


Material has been boxed in acid free boxes, with melinex sleeves, brass paper clips.

Preservation workshops for staff will be taking place at all campuses through February – March

Listing and accessioning training

Listing and accessioning training have taken place for library staff. Newspaper indexes have been set up.

Policies and procedures

Guidelines for identification of special collections and rare books approved. A draft Preservation Policy to be available by April

Staff and student outreach

Talks ongoing with Fine Art and MA Curation, Canterbury

Collections Gems Seminar being arranged to tie in with National Library Week – to showcase rare books, Ed Ruscha American Artist and Photographer rare book collection, and items from Canterbury’s institutional archive

Internal exhibitions

Exhibitions and displays being set up around all five campuses of the Tessa Boffin Archive for LGBT Month February (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)

External work

A proposal of a display of the history of Surrey Art Schools (Epsom, Guildford, and Farnham) accepted at Surrey History Centre. To take place August – September

Work ongoing with Epsom Public Library to display Artist Books April, with a lecturer from UCA giving a talk

Proposal to be submitted to the Kent History Library Centre for LGBT Month, February 2014

Work ongoing with heritage institutes in Canterbury

New Deposits

A collection of textile books from the 1980s, from the estate of Lynne Dennis, a previous member of the Embroiders Society

An archive and special collection relating to Working Class Artists in the 1980s-1990s, and women artists

Archives LGBT Conference, Guildhall and Guildhall Art Gallery


Sailor and the Showgirl Project (cross dressing and safe sex)

Sailor and the Showgirl Project (cross dressing and safe sex)

UCA Archives and UCA Photography graduate, Rebecca Andrews, will feature in the 10th Archives LGBT conference, held at Guildhall Library on the 16th February.

UCA Archives will showcase the Tessa Boffin Archive in a display. The archive is currently held at Maidstone campus.

Tessa Boffin was a lesbian photographer, writer, curator and performance artist. She studied photography in the 1980s at Polytechnic of Central London, and her work involved sex and sexual fantasy, where she explored issues such as transvestism, homosexuality and lesbianism. She was the first British lesbian doing political work around AIDS as early as the 1980s. She co-edited the 1990 Ecstatic Anti-bodies with Sunil Gupta, and edited Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs with Jean Fraser. Although her life was cut short at the age of 32, she built up an impressive body of work

Tessa Boffin’s archive is visually attractive and suitable to make an engaging display. It contains her student photographic work of The Slings of Arrows and Outrageous fortune AIDS: the body politic, her project work, including concept photographs of her cross dressing and safe sex project work ‘The Sailor and the Showgirl’ and her photographic project books.

Andrews’ work compliments the archive of Tessa Boffin. She explored transvestism, photographing couples, and explored issues of sexuality and gender identity, including interviews with, and photography work on female body builders. Her work for female body building looked at the concept of ‘wearing’ the body and how we choose to wear our bodies in a society that generally corresponds to fixing boundaries of gender, which the female bodybuilder departs from.

Alongside the display a talk from Rebecca Andrews will take place regarding the work done, inspirations, and what she found regarding her transvestite work, also using the Tessa Boffin work and archive to suggesting whether there are similar attitudes now, as there was to cross dressing and transvestism in the 1980s.

The conference costs between £25 and £35 pounds and booking is essential

The Tessa Boffin Archive catalogue can be accessed here

To contact UCAArchives please email, or contact Rebekah Taylor, Archivist, on

Archive of the Month – January 2013, Art School Classes, 19th century

Epsom prospectuses from 1925

Epsom prospectuses from 1925

Archive of the Month – January 2013, Art School Classes, 19th century

Minute note on class recommendations, Reference EPEW/2/4/1/6

January’s Archive of the Month looks at more ‘unusual’ classes taught at Art Schools during the late 19th century.

In the Epsom Technical Institute and School of Art Archive a scrawled handwritten minute note on 1st May 1895 relating to class recommendations makes a quick throwaway note to a ‘Bee Van’ and ‘Dairy Van’, which would not be a usual class today…

Although, not known exactly, a ‘Bee Van’ was thought to be a mobile van, which travelled around and taught bee keeping.

The following relating to the Dairy Van, and education in Art Schools is written for Archive of the Month by Stephen Knott. Stephen Knott, Founder Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Craft at the Crafts Study Centre, University of Creative Arts, Farnham, is conducting research on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century history of craft and technical education. Research he has undertaken has also been at the Surrey History Centre.

In the years after the Technical Education Acts of 1889 and 1891 (which allowed Local Authorities to use duties collected from alcohol tax for technical education) the town and borough councils of Surrey set up a variety of technical evening class courses for both school leavers and tradesmen looking to complement their existing skills: from Woodwork, to French, to book-keeping, all funded by the Surrey County Council. Among the subjects taught in Surrey there were a large number of agricultural instruction courses on offer, reflecting demand within the country for farming skills to be preserved in the light of rural depopulation. This is reflected in both the correspondence between the Council and the representative of the Department of Science and Art in South Kensington about including things like thatching, ditching, hedging, and dairy farming on the list of approved subjects that the Technical Education funds could be spent on, as well as cross-County plans in the 1890s to set up a horticultural college for Kent, Surrey and Sussex at Wye (Wye Horticultural College).

Part of the agricultural provision from 1892 was to fund a diary van that would provide instruction to the villages and towns of Surrey for those who would not be able to leave work to attend other intensive agricultural courses the council was offering elsewhere. The Cumberland County Council had already deployed a similar vehicle and provided Surrey County Council with practical advice and information about costs.

This description is direct from the 6th Report of the Surrey County Council Technical Education Committee on 10th May 1892 –

‘[…] the van is furnished with separator, churn, butter worker, boiler, cistern, furnace and other appliances suitable for a six-cow Dairy, and can be drawn from place to place by one horse. When at rest and taken off its wheels it opens out on to a covered shed with a boarded floor (12 ft by 10 ft). The travelling staff consists of a Lecturer, Dairymaid and assistant’.

The plan was to take the diary van to 25 villages, the course lasting for a week in each village. The van was to be run by Miss E Hope Johnstone (with the help of assistant Miss Fleming) who was was from the Irish Glasnevin and Leinster Dairy School.

After a slow start (in Farnham of course, where else!) the Dairy van was a remarkable success. The majority of students’ were farmers’ wives and daughters, or labourers’ wives and daughters. Each week-long course in each village culminated in a Butter-churning competition and both the Van and the students’ work was displayed at the agricultural shows across the County. The Surrey County Council agreed to supply extra funding, and in the next year Kent County Council also employed Johnstone.

Johnstone reports to the Surrey County Council at the end of her first run of course in February 1893 that:

‘At nearly every place the hope was expressed that the Van would return in 1893’.

The van did indeed continue to run, and a later report of the Surrey County Council Technical Education Committee that year stated that the van planned to go to the 1893 Epsom Agricultural Show in Autumn.

I presume that it was both the notoriety of the Van across technical education circles at this time, and the agricultural show that prompted the Chairman or Secretary of the Epsom Technical Education Committee to write “Dairy Van” as one of the subjects they wanted to teach at the Epsom Technical Institute on that paper seen from 1895.

All other Archive Treasures can be seen here

January Rare Book 2013 – Typography Department In-house printing press book

  Rare Book – The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare ( 822.33 SHA)

This rare book is from our selection of in-house printing press books, that are accessible at Maidstone, Canterbury, and Rochester. Rochester and Maidstone printing press books have been digitised and will be shortly available on Turning The Pages Technology. They are of high interest for Graphic Design

In 1947, this edition of The Merchant of Venice was designed and printed by the Typography Department of the Medway School of Art and Crafts, Rochester.  The students, under the direction of the Head of Printing Charles L. Pickering, referred to the first and second quartos as well as Shakespeare’s 1623 first folio to reprint the first scene of Act One. 

The Merchant of Venice, inside cover

The Merchant of Venice, inside cover

The Merchant of Venice, Front Cover

The Merchant of Venice, Front Cover

In the School prospectus for 1946-47, Typography is described as a course ‘for apprentices and journeymen in: Compositors’ Work; Letterpress Machine Work; Layout and Design; Monotype (Keyboard) and Intertype Composition; Costing, Estimation and Administration.’  A Society of Medway Printing Students called ‘Typographia’ was also active.  By producing The Merchant of Venice edition, students learnt the skills of their chosen craft. 

Medway School of Arts and Crafts Prospectus, 1946-1947

Medway School of Arts and Crafts Prospectus, 1946-1947

 The Merchant of Venice was performed by the Chamberlain’s Men during 1596-7, a company which included boy actors who played female parts.  The play first appeared in a printed quarto edition in 1600.  Despite its age, the play is relevant to our lives today through its themes of money, debt and prejudice.

Antonio, the merchant, lends 3000 ducats to his friend Bassanio who wishes to marry Portia.  To help his friend he borrows money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender.  Failure to repay the loan by a set date will entitle Shylock to a pound of Antonio’s flesh.  Meanwhile, Bassanio successfully passes a test and wins the hand of Portia, while his friend Gratiano marries Portia’s lady-in-waiting, Nerissa.

When Antonio’s ships are lost at sea, he is unable to repay his debt and Shylock takes his claim to court.  Portia, disguised as a young male lawyer, defends Antonio by stressing that Shylock can take his flesh if he can promise not to spill one drop of blood.  It is an impossible task and Shylock is soon being trialled for conspiring against a Venetian.  He is forced to split his wealth between Antonio and the state, convert to Christianity and leave his property to his daughter who has fallen in love with a Christian.

Our Rochester edition was finished during the Spring Term of 1947, a post-war period when the horrors of the Holocaust dramatically altered the play’s reception.  Shakespeare’s treatment of Shylock and the issue of anti-Semitism gained a new contemporary significance, one that could not be ignored in later productions.

One of the play’s most famous quotations, spoken by Antonio, appears in this edition: ‘I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano, | A stage, where every man must play a part, | And mine a sad one.’  Antonio understands the world as a commercial stage in which all men must play a part.

Reviewed by Lynsey Blandford, Library Advisor, Rochester. This book is available at UCA Rochester.

Our other Rare Book Gems can be viewed here