Animating Archives

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A selection of materials from the Bob Godfrey collection were brought from their usual home at in the Animation Archive at Farnham to the CG Arts and Animation department at UCA Rochester.  First year CG Arts and Animation students were given the opportunity to see for themselves a collection of works and ephemera from one of Britain’s animation greats. Godfrey (1921 – 2013) founded the animation course at Farnham as well as being the first British Oscar-winning animator for his 1975 short animated film “Great”.

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Through collaboration between the Archivist, Learning and Teaching Librarian and Course Leader, Phil Gomm, the day was organised to allow students to learn more about the archive collections at UCA, understand them in terms of the wider context of their own research and study, whilst accessing the animation collection first hand.  The day focused around one of Godfrey’s best known works “Henry’s Cat”, a children’s series screened in the 1980s and 1990s.  Students were able to look through the original materials from the programme and explore and discuss the cel drawn animation method. In addition, running orders from the shows were available to see exactly how an episode was put together, with frame by frame annotation, direction and narration. Included in the collection were a selection of Godfrey’s own books which he used to source ideas and annotated and illustrated with his own comments and observations. Students will be producing art work in response to their encounter with the Bob Godfrey archive

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The day formed part of a longer term initiative put together by Rebekah Taylor, Archivist and Adele Martin-Bowtell, Learning and Teaching Librarian to raise awareness among students and staff of the opportunities to utilise archives in their subject specific creative arts learning and education. The project recognises the importance of allowing students steer and interact creatively with archive use in a library context.

Find out more about the Bob Godfrey Archive at http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/40801/Bob-Godfrey-Archive

Adele Martin-Bowtell

Learning & Teaching Librarian, UCA Rochester

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Taking a look into Christmas Cards of the Past

December’s Archive of the Month looks at three individual Christmas cards and also R.B. Fishenden (1880 – 1956), the eminent print consultant and editor of the Penrose Annual, the London based review of the graphic arts, for whom they were designed.

The Christmas cards are included in the Guildford School of Art Archive and have an unknown provenance, but perhaps can be attributed to contacts between Fishenden and the noted Surrey School of Printing, formed through the collaboration of the Department of Printing at the Guildford School of Art and the corresponding department at the Reigate and Redhill School of Art.

RB Fishenden Christmas Cards

Richard Bertie Fishenden was born on 6 August 1880 in Kensington, London and was the son of Richard and Louisa Fishenden (née Freestone). His father was an oil and colourman working in London, so he was already familiar with the technical aspects of colour mixing from basic pigments to manufacture coloured paint.

He was apprenticed at the age of 14 to Gee and Watson Ltd, and at 20 became the Works Manager of this firm of process engravers in London. In 1902 he became a Lecturer in the Printing Department of the Manchester College of Technology, becoming Head of Printing and during his time there conducted formative experiments in the new technique of rotogravure, a type of intaglio printing process. He effectively reinvented the process and devised all his own equipment in order to achieve it. The processes were fully revealed in a paper he delivered on 16 March 1915 before the Royal Photographic Society. His findings were widely reprinted in the Society’s journal and the British Journal of Photography.

In the same year he married Margaret White, later to become the eminent industrial researcher, Margaret Fishenden (1889 – 1977). They had one son, Richard Martin Fishenden, in 1917, and he later went on to be a noted physicist at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell. The family moved to London in 1921 and he re-entered the commercial branch of the industry. During these years his interests broadened, becoming an authority on the often ignored subjects of ink and paper. At one end of the process of printed reproduction he was skilled in all applications of photography; at the other, he was expert in the arts of typography.

However the conflicts of a career and marriage and motherhood were too much for that era and Richard and Margaret divorced in 1932. R.B. Fishenden married Marjorie Hodder (1902 – 1988) shortly afterwards in 1933, and she became his personal assistant throughout the remainder of his career.

In 1935 he was appointed editor of the Penrose Annual, and he remained active in this capacity until his death. Under his vigorous direction the annual was divided into two parts, the first devoted to the arts, the second to techniques. In 1942 he joined the Penguin staff as technical editor of the “King Penguin” books. For this series he devised the finest possible colour printing, and secured it at a cost that to the trade seemed impossibly low. After 1943 he was adviser to Messrs. Spicers, the papermakers. His continued interest in new processes and new material, his willingness to encourage research were invaluable in the establishment of the Printing and Allied Trades Research Association at Leatherhead in 1930.

R.B. Fishenden’s life and career synchronized with one of the most momentous periods of change and development which had ever been known in the history of graphic arts. By the time of his death on 7 October 1956 the graphic arts had evolved into today’s specialist practices.

These simple Christmas cards give us a window into the early 20th-century and remind us of a pioneer in the graphic arts.

References

Fishenden, Richard Bertie, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920 – 2008; online edition, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007.

Mertle, Joseph S. (1957). Evolution of Rotogravure. Ohio: J.S. Mertle.

Mr. R.B. Fishenden. (1956). The Times [London, England], 9 October 1956, p.13. The Times Digital Archive [http://find.galegroup.com/ttda, accesses 1 March 2013]

Stevenson, Julie. (2004). Fishenden , Margaret (1889-1977). In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/53240, accessed 4 April 2013]

The National Archives, RG11/25/22 page 38. Extract from the 1881 Census for High Row, Kensington, London.

Warde, Beatrice. (1957). In Memoriam Richard Bertram Fishenden. In: The Penrose Annual: A Review of the Graphic Arts. Vol. 51, 1957. London: Lund Humphries.

Reviewed by Frances Teasdale, Head of Collections and Discovery

Detective work in the Archives: The case of the mysterious textile

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Jane Seymour textile

A new find in the Archives was a 19th century, 1820, letter from the founder of UCA’s Textile course donating a small embroidered piece of material purported to be embroidered by Jane Seymour for Henry VIII’s counterpane, and fragile paper with an heraldic design on it. This was said to be in the keeping of a Mr Nicholls, lawyer to a Duke of Northumberland (the date of the letter suggesting it would be Henry Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland [1785 – 1847])

On contact with the V&A expertise suggested that ‘this object is probably continental European rather than British. It is likely to date from the 18th-century, or possibly the later 17th-century, but is definitely not 16th-century’. It is possibly Portuguese, of a type known as Castelo Branco. The V&A have a lot of Castelo Branco in their collection, one example can be seen here :http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O139594/valance-unknown/

Although not of 16th century origin, it still begs the question of why the writer thought it was, who was ‘Mr Nicholls’ and why did he have it? What story is behind this? Did the Duke of Northumberland collect this? And was he duped?

Jane Seymour letter 2

Coat of Arms

Christmas Magic: Rare Book Gem, December 2013

If you haven’t managed to achieve the Christmas Spirit yet (maybe you are tired of battling through the Christmas crowds…) let us take you there with a bit of magic for Christmas – December’s Rare Book of the Month is Fairy Land – Pictures from the Elf-World by Richard Doyle.

First published in 1869, the folio has been described as one of the finest examples of Victorian book production.

Of particular interest to Illustration, and at Canterbury Library, explore Fairyland further here http://bit.ly/1bQ0b7G

Fairyland

Tessa Boffin Archive: did you collaborate?

We are looking to find out artists that collaborated with the Photographer Tessa Boffin, which includes the Sailor and Showgirl, the King’s Trial and The Knight’s Move projects.

Her catalogue is accessible here http://212.140.253.92/Calmview/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=BOFF&pos=1

Tessa Boffin was born 24 December 1960. She was a lesbian photographer, writer, editor, and performance artist. Her work was at the front-line of international queer culture and politics. She initially studied photography in the mid 1980s at the Polytechnic of Central London, under the tutorship of Simon Watney. She undertook an MA in Critical Theory at the University of Sussex in 1987-1988.

Her teaching was as a part time photography lecturer at Adult Education, London from 1986 to 1987, worked at Oxford Polytechnic,1987 and 1989, worked at West Surrey College of Art and Design from 1988, Polytechnic of Central London, 1990, Kent institute of Art and Design from 1990

Tessa Boffin’s work was sex and sexual fantasy, and explored lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender issues. She edited Ecstatic Antibodies in 1990 with Sunil Gupta, and co-curated the exhibition, which contributed to understanding of the role images played in the AIDS crisis, and in 1991 edited Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs, with Jean Fraser, which is contemporary lesbian photography. She was the first British lesbian doing political work around AIDS as early as 1985.

She died on 27th October 1993, while working as a lecturer at the Kent Institute for Art and Design

Rare Book of the Month, November 2013

November’s Rare Book is, as you can imagine from the title, is a beautifully illustrated tome:

The Art of Illuminating as Practised in Europe from the Earliest Times

The book was published in London on 2nd April 1860 by Day & Son, Lithographers to the Queen (that would be Victoria).

At the beginning of the book there is an essay and instructions by M. Digby Wyatt, Architect, entitled The Art of Illuminating: what is it, what is should be and how it may be practised.

Part I of the essay is a detailed reference guide to the history and use of illumination from the Roman’s creation and use of parchment and black and red ink, through the work of mediaeval monks and other scribes, to the 17th Century where illumination began to die out due to the growing popularity and use of the printing press.

Part II gives guidance on the practical side of illuminating. What is to be decorated, eg. vellum, canvas, plaster, wood, how to design an illumination including scale, style and the harmony of colouring of the letters and ornament and how to apply the art to different surfaces. A selection of ‘Legends’ (suitable wording depending on location of the illumination) are also included and make for fascinating reading: Page 61 suggests “For Supper-Rooms: As men do walk a mile, women should talk an hour after supper: ’tis their exercise.” (Armstrong, Art of Preserving Health)

Part III discusses processes and application eg ‘How a picture is ornamented in books with tin and saffron’ Page 73 and a fascinating and comprehensive chapter on ‘Ink’ Page 75.

There are 99 beautiful colour plates, with examples of illustrated borders, initial letters and alphabets from the 6thto the 14th Century, selected and chromolithographed by W.R. Tymms.

Not only is this tome a history of illumination but is also a practical guide on how to create your very own illuminated art work in the most traditional of ways.

This book would most definitely be of interest to fine artists and illustrators.

It is available in the Rare Books Collection in Farnham UCA Library.

 

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