Rare Books at Canterbury

The Canterbury Rare Book Collection, offers the opportunity to explore rare and unique publications.

The focus for this blog is a large boxed folio of text and colour plates of Nicolas de Staél, text by R.V. Gindertael / translated from the French by F. McFarland and published by Methuen in 1961, Cat. No.2/6601/1.


The text on Nicholas de Staél, considers the development of his work. From the period of his painting known as the ‘epoque elue’ where  he combines fusion of the visionary and physical worlds with the essential properties of medium. The text considers the importance of the tactile impressions created by medium which stay throughout his de Staél’s work. Through interrogation of the artists composition, the artist’s beliefs are also examined.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES“I need to feel the presence of life all around me, and to grasp it in its entirety, as I feel it…”            De Staél

Roger Van Gindertael, who created the text in this publication was a Belgian painter of Expressionist landscapes and figures.  He was also the co-founder of the art magazine ‘Hélianthe’ and jointly on ‘La Nervie’. He eventually abandoned painting to become an art critic of the post-war Abstract movement.

Artists Books at Canterbury. Happy Travellers -Artists Book MIY.

Happy Travellers (2009)

Chie Miyazaki & Soju Tanaka

Artists Books MIY

A rather sweet and delicate artists’ book with subtle watercolour illustrations of some jovial characters who are travelling. They travel by unconventional means; tortoise, unicycle, cable car, ship and hot air balloon. With each page there’s a variety of bright characters, some hiding in the pages, encouraging the viewer to look a little bit longer at the pages to spot each character.

Find more of their work here:




Happy Travellers, 2009, Chie Miyazaki & Soju Tanaka.


Happy Travellers, 2009, Chie Miyazaki & Soju Tanaka.


Happy Travellers, 2009, Chie Miyazaki & Soju Tanaka.

In Our Minds Exhibition and Workshop at The National Archives.


We are excited to announce The National Archives will be hosting a workshop and talk “Using archives in your creative practice” to be held on Tuesday 4th April 2017.  You can find full details and how to sign up here.

The talk will include contributions from UCA students and staff who will talk about their experiences producing creative work in response to records related to mental health held at The National Archives and UCA Archives and Special Collections for the In Our Minds Exhibition. There will also be an opportunity to see the In Our Minds touring exhibition in partnership with The National Archives.  Full details about the project can be found on The National Archives blog.

The In Our Minds project 2016 was part funded by Friends of The National Archives and University for the Creative Arts.

Carryl Church – Acting Archivist.

Artists’ Books at Canterbury- Toasty Cats Number 4 – The Creature Issue

Canterbury has a superb collection of Artists’ Books and Zines of varying sizes, shapes and formats. This is the first of many posts which will examine individual items within the collection to showcase the cornucopia of works available.

Toasty Cats Number 4 – The Creature Issue (2005)

Artist’s books BOR

Toasty Cats, a zine by illustrator Magda Boreysza. Magda’s work plays with very delicate and intricate lines juxtaposed with quite hideous yet beautifully creepy creatures she has created. Her zine contains the comic ‘The Seed, Part 3’, following the life of two young girls and their dog Cora. Although there is little backstory to the comic (the stories can be found in previous editions) an uneasy atmosphere is developed through the sketchy rough lines, whispering shadows hidden in the mirrors of pages and watchful eyes glancing back at the reader. A delightful and enticing read.

You can find more of her work at:



Artist Book – 87 Octane

The Epsom Archive is home to a variety of artists books and I have chosen one to investigate, literally at random, with eyes closed dipping into a box.

I pulled out 87 Octane.


‘87 Octane’ created by Norwegian illustrator Maria Midttun is a risograph printed book comprising of text and drawings.

The book starts with ‘An attempt to make no-sense of the disappearance of Aage Moystad 11th of April 1940. Dedicated to the one he left behind; Anne Marie’

The artists book is in response to conversations with her Grandmother surrounding the disappearance of her father on a fateful day in 1940 following a bombing raid. The artist seeks to create a fantastical story to explain the disappearance.

The story starts with a character, driving in the night through a range of mountains. The character (presumably the father) is curious as he wears a large witch type hat and what appears to be sunglasses, despite the darkness. It’s evident from the gauge that he has nearly run out of petrol but he continues along zig zagging roads through a range of mountains. Then disaster strikes, he’s out of petrol. He takes a can from the boot of the car and starts to walk along the dark road. His sunglasses give a reflection of the road ahead but this could be interpreted as on egg timer, as if his time was running out. As he’s walking, the illustrations take on a more sinister feeling with the mountains having eyes and the darkness seeming to envelope him. After walking some distance, he peers over his sunglasses and sees the welcoming lights of a service station. Upon arrival, he begins to fill his petrol can with ’87 Octane’. Suddenly, the character looks shocked. The following four illustrations (which change to burgundy and pink colours) show the character vaporise and disappear; leaving just the hat. Another car driving along the same road approaches the service station. The driver starts to fill his car with petrol from the same pump where the hat and petrol still mysteriously lie. The final illustrations are of the second driver continuing his journey; the car billowing out fumes which contain the face and sunglasses of the father. Is this what happened that fateful night?

The book is currently on display in the archive room and is just part of an extensive range of artists books.


Tiffany Gregory, Library Adviser.

New Fanzines at Epsom

zine zine3 zine4 fashion-as-sculpture

We have an exciting addition to the Epsom Archive at UCA – a large selection of student zines. For the Visual Communication brief, the Graphic Design students were set the task of creating a fanzine (a nonprofessional and nonofficial publication produced by fans of a particular cultural phenomenon for the pleasure of others who share their interest). This brief was given a fashion biased and students could choose from the following themes:

Sustainable fashion

Music and Subculture

Art and Fashion




Concept stores

Fashion and Architecture



Taste and kitsch




The fanzines are incredibly varied considering the guidelines of each having 20 pages, a 250-word limit and the use of three colours. They are a great resource for anyone researching zines.

In Our Minds Exhibition – Artists Talk


In Our MInds Exhibition Artists Talk will take place in the Elaine Thomas Library, UCA Farnham Campus on Monday 21st November 12.30 to 1.30pm. Please come along and hear students and staff talk about the creative work they produced in response to records related to mental health held at The National Archives and UCA Archives and Special Collections.



The second part of the In Our Minds exhibition has opened in the Elaine Thomas Library, UCA Farnham campus and will run until 10th December so please pop along and take a look. This touring exhibition in partnership with The National Archives shows creative work produced by UCA students and staff in response to records related to mental health held at The National Archives and UCA Archives and Special Collections. Full details about the project can be found on The National Archives blog.




Last week marked the end of the Building a Better World Exhibition in the Elaine Thomas Library at UCA Farnham campus. An event was held on Thursday 3rd November bringing together students who took part in Stefan Szczelkun’s creative residency with bookRoom around the Working Press Archive, books by and about working class artists 1986-1996 which is housed in the UCA Archive. Stefan hosted Agit Disco in which he played records which have inspired and influenced him politically. Students were invited to bring records to the event which had inspired them politically and to explain the reasons for their choice of track.


In addition bookRoom took part in London’s annual Small Publishers Fair on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November to launch the bookRoom publication RISE WITH YOUR CLASS NOT FROM IT. Details about the publication can be found here.


In Our Minds Exhibition

Announcing the opening of the In Our Minds Exhibition in the Cragg Corridor at UCA Canterbury until the end of October.


This touring exhibition in partnership with The National Archives will show creative work produced by UCA students and staff in response to records related to mental health held at The National Archives and UCA Archives and Special Collections. Full details about the project can be found on the National Archives blog here.

The exhibition will run in Canterbury until the end of the month when it will move to the Elaine Thomas Library, Farnham opening on 10th November.

We are really excited to be part of this exhibition and to see our archive records used as inspiration for students work in this area.