Sunday, 16 July 2017

William Morris, By Chance

         William Morris in the car park

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful
William Morris

While I was in London I went to meet an English friend who was staying
at her son's house in Walthamstow.  She suggested that the one thing I might be
interested in seeing in Walthamstow was William Morris's House and Gallery.
 Although I know William Morris of Arts and Crafts fame really well, I had no idea the Gallery
 was there or that it even existed and it turned out to be a lovely surprise
and a most enjoyable and informative morning.

William Morris was born in 1834 and lived in the house with his family from 1848 to 1856.

This is the only public gallery devoted to the work of William Morris.
The different eras of his life and areas he worked in were very well presented 
over the two floors of the house.

There were a number of interactive displays, films, audio and activities to
participate in along the way.   I couldn't resist making a little brass rubbing of a medieval knight
and was very tempted to make a block print or some stained glass in the workshop gallery.

Morris rejected industrial manufacturing methods and this gallery explained how his fabrics, wallpapers, carpets, tapestries
and stained glass were produced by craftsmen using traditional methods. 

There was a gallery of particular interest on the first floor devoted to "The Ideal Book" .
Late in his life Morris set up a private press and became a book designer.
 Many beautiful original books from the Kelmscott Press were on display,
 including a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer.

The Galleries covered all aspects of his life and besides being an active radical socialist fighting for equality, he fought for the preservation of heritage and the environment.

You can find more information about the Gallery and its displays here.

After sitting in the sun having coffee in the lovely conservatory style cafe at the back of the house there was still the garden to explore which was pretty, if a bit overgrown, and included a lovely moat and garden bridge.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Importance of Display of Artists Books

Ed Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, displayed

I have always placed importance on the presentation and display of my Artists Books
 and I think a focus on their visual aspect creates a much more rewarding experience
 for the viewer and is an important part of the genre.

I was recently in London and I saw some copies of Ed Ruscha's books displayed
 for sale in two different locations.

In one Twentysix Gasoline stations was displayed closed in a glass cabinet and
in the other it was also in a glass cabinet and opened at a one page spread.
I have seen Ruscha's books before always displayed like this or
showing little more than a couple of pages.

An image of Twentysix gasoline stations by Edward Ruscha
Ed Ruscha, Book cover

I attended The American Dream Pop to Present at the British Museum
(more on that in another post) and I was delighted to find
Ed Ruscha's Every Building on the Sunset Strip from 1966
unfolded to its full length of 7.6 metres and displayed along one long wall.

I had never seen any of his books displayed like this and it made such a difference
to get the sense of the buildings opposite each other stretched out along the strip
and walk the length along it viewing it.
Overall it looks also very much like car tracks along the paper.
It brought the book to life and made viewing it a fantastic experience.  

It was great to see such a perceptive display from the Curators at the British Museum.