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Special Collections Exhibitions

This page has information about the current exhibition as well as links to previous exhibitions. Many of the previous exhibitions are online.

Current exhibition

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.

Poster

Handlist

Dates: 5 June - 21 August 2015.
Venue: de Beer gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago
Contact: Dr Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian.
Donald.kerr@otago.ac.nz; Phone: (03) 479-8330

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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

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Exhibition gallery location

Exhibitions are mounted in: The de Beer Gallery
First Floor
Central Library
65 Albany Street
Dunedin

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!