This page has information about the current exhibition as well as links to previous exhibitions. Many of the previous exhibitions are online.
Black + White + Grey
The Life + Work of Eric Gill
+ Robert Gibbings
In 1946, artist Robert Gibbings (1889-1958) visited his friend John Harris, who was then University Librarian at the University of Otago. Gibbings gave Harris five printed vellum sheets: three of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (1929-31) and two of John Keats's Lamia (1928). Both these titles were printed at The Golden Cockerel Press, which Gibbings owned from 1924 to 1933. One of the 'Canterbury' sheets contained an important addition: illustrations executed by Eric Gill (1882-1940), sculptor, stone cutter, engraver, and typographer. This vellum sheet is a small representative of the work that Gibbings and Gill did together, including the collaboration that resulted in The Canterbury Tales, and The Four Gospels (1931), which has been called 'the typographical masterpiece of the 20th century' (John Dreyfus).
Both Gibbings and Gill were sons of clergymen; Gibbings visited New Zealand; Gill's father was born in the South Seas in 1848; both wrote extensively on a wide range of topics; both were members of the Society of Wood Engravers (founded in 1920); both were talented artists; and both were prolific wood-engravers. And importantly for this exhibition, both made and designed books, although at first they were both typographically naïve. Their bookish collaboration lasted from 1925 to 1931.
Both men have had a lasting influence in the artistic world. Gibbings created some outstanding limited edition books through his The Golden Cockerel Press. He also left some marvellously lyrical travelogues on places such as Tahiti and Ireland. Gill's legacy is perhaps more evident. His sculptures are found in institutions throughout the world; his line illustrations are frequently reproduced; and importantly, there are his typefaces such as Perpetua and Gill Sans (the typeface used for this exhibition); the latter often used by modern-day book-makers and designers today.
This exhibition is based on holdings within Special Collections. It is an overview, offering a glimpse into the lives and work of these two gifted artists. Please enjoy.
Dates: 5 June - 21 August 2015.
Venue: de Beer gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago
Contact: Dr Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian.
Donald.firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: (03) 479-8330
^ Top of page
Past exhibitions 17 December - 23 March 2014 The World of Joseph W. Mellor (1869-1938) 11 September - 5 December 2014 Celebrating Botany (1924-2014) 11 June - 5 September 2014 Viva l'Italia. A Regional Romp through Italy 21 March - 23 May 2014 Make It New! Modernism & the Medieval Presence 20 December 2013 - 14 March 2014 Rare Delights III. Recent Additions to Special Collections 27 September - 13 December 2013 Reaching Out: Celebrating 100 years of Otago Physiotherapy Graduates 28 June - 20 September 2013 Maths, Politics and Concrete: The Legacy of the Classical World 5 April - 25 June 2013 Celebrating Pharmacy 20 December 2012 - 22 March 2013 From Pigskin to Paper: The Art and Craft of Bookbinding 21 September - 13 December 2012 Celebrating Charles Dickens (1812-1870) 22 June - 14 September 2012 Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876 23 March - 15 June 2012 Ray Guns & Rocket Ships. The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection 21 December 2011 to 16 March 2012 The Gentleman's Magazine: The 18th century answer to Google 30 September - 16 December 2011 In Search of Scotland 1 July - 23 September 2011 Experimental Philosophy: old and new 1 April - 17 June 2011 Forging a Magical Landscape: The Works of Robert Graves, Poet 17 December 2010 - 25 March 2011 Faces of Authorship: Constructing the Author in Medieval and Early Modern Books 27 August to 10 December 2010 Pulp Fiction 14 May - 20 August ALL ABOARD! The Ernie Webber Railway Collection 8 February - 7 May Footnotes on Official History: Celebrating Dr Hocken's Pamphlet Collection 30 October 2009 - 29 January 2010 Heresy, Sedition, Obscenity: The Book Challenged 13 July - 23 October 2009 'I sat down in the evening to read...' Books from the Library of Charles Brasch, Poet, 1909-1973 8 April - 3 July 2009 Beetles, Barnacles, Orchids, and the Origin of Species: Charles Darwin and His Legacy 19 December 2008 - 27 March 2009 A Record of Achievement: The 50th Birthday of the Otago University Press 29 August - 12 December 2008 Nourishing the Roots: an exhibition celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago 5 May - 22 August 2008 Éire á Móradh: Singing the Praises of Ireland 25 February - 25 April 2008 Rare Delights II: Recent Additions to Special Collections 20 December 2007 - 1 February 2008 RETROSPECTIVE: A look back at the last 21 Special Collections exhibitions 17 October to 14 December 2007 Initials: In the Beginning... 6 July to 28 September 2007 Linnaeus, Prince of Botanists: His Works and Legacy 11 April to 29 June 2007 A Quick Stab at the Eighteenth Century 12 December 2006 - 30 March 2007 Master of the Burin: the book illustrations of John Buckland Wright, 1897-1954 4 September - 1 December 2006 In the Flesh. The Monro Dynasty 1720-1846. 1 June - 25 August 2006 The Black Art: Hand-printing in the Bibliography Room, 1961-2005 10 February - 26 May 2006 West Meets East: Images of China and Japan, 1570 to 1920 17 October 2005 - 27 January 2006 Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass 11 July - 23 September 2005 The Word on Modernism: How Books Aided a Revolution in Design 11 April - 24 June 2005 "£100 & a butt of sack yearly" The office of the poet laureate 20 December 2004 - 31 March 2005 Straight Jackets: the Art of the Book Jacket 20 September - 10 December 2004 'A Civilising Mission' : New Zealanders and the Rhodes Scholarship 1904 - 2004 24 June - 10 September 2004 41 Stunning Books: A selection of modern private press books 23 March - 11 June 2004 Glimpses of London's Past 25 November 2003 - 12 March 2004 He tirohanga ki muri ~ A view of the past 4 July - 17 November 2003 Harmonizing my starting place: Charles Brasch, patron, poet and collector 21 March - 27 June 2003 Cultivating Gardens: Practical garden advice through the ages 13 December 2002 - 13 March 2003 Rare Delights: recent additions to Special Collections 12 September - 28 November 2002 Unpacking Ruins: architecture from antiquity 21 June - 1 September 2002 Enlarging the prospects of happiness: European travel writing through the ages 21 March - 13 June 2002 Portrait of a gentleman scholar: celebrating the life and legacy of Esmond de Beer
^ Top of page
Exhibition gallery location
Exhibitions are mounted in: The de Beer Gallery
65 Albany Street
Open 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Monday to Friday
Contact the Special Collections Librarian for enquiries and consultations.And Thank You All!And Thank You All!