“Bodies, Botanicals & Bindings: Reimagining Rare Books” Exhibition

Would you like a peek at the piece I created especially for the “Bodies, Botanicals and Bindings: Reimagining Rare Books” exhibition with Dundee University Archive Collections? I chose to collaborate with George Knorr, who originally created beautiful hand coloured copperplate engravings in ‘Deliciae Naturae Select’, 1754. I hope he would approve!

The printed versions of his butterflies I made are no where near as gorgeous as those in the book by the way. It will be displayed next to my paper sculpture for you to see. Well worth the visit just for that alone. I swore out loud in a really quiet room when I first opened the book btw… It’s incredible!It was a lovely opening night for the “Bodies, Botanicals & Bindings: Reimagining Rare Books” exhibition in the Lamb Gallery at the university. I was really proud to see my piece sitting next to the beautiful book it was inspired by, all encased in glass. 🖤‘Curio Cabinet: Papilio’

Illustration & Print, ink on paper

This piece is inspired by the book “Deliciae Naturae Select” from Dundee University Archives, which is filled with beautiful hand coloured copperplate engravings by German artist George Knorr, 1754.

His “selected cabinet of objects from nature” was taken from collections of ‘Nature Cabinets’ which were extremely popular in the Georgian era and beyond. The popularity of collecting curios and objects from nature resulted in cabinets filled with specimens but also in beautiful and unusual displays that have inspired much of my own illustration work.

This piece is housed in glass, as they often were then, and showcases prints of Knorr’s butterflies taken directly from the book dwelling in my hand drawn illustrated ‘garden’. This ‘Curio Cabinet’ is a continuation of my ‘Bottled Stories’ series of illustrated paper dioramas housed in stunning glass bell jars, old jam jars and more. My diaoramas tell new stories and old and they are now bringing to life a story of an incredible man’s work that has been hidden away for years in the pages of a book.

It really is fantastic being able to see these books and take inspiration from them. I’d urge everyone to head to the archives and see what they have, it’s such a treasure trove and it’s there for the discovering!

Here is the official exhibition blurb, which explains a bit more about the exhibition….

“Featuring the work of artists and creative writers inspired by the University Archives’ rare book collections, the Lamb Gallery will host a unique exhibition by Archive Services.

The exhibition uses some of the University’s extensive special collections to explore the history and materiality of rare books as well as the creativity they can inspire.

From bindings to bookplates and endpieces to annotations, books tell stories, reminding us of the lives of their owners as much as changes in communication and technology.

Taking inspiration from these remarkable collections which date from the 15th century onwards, artists and writers have created their own pieces of work which are exhibited for the first time here.

On display will be jewellery, etchings, drawings, textiles, ceramics and much more, all inspired by the wonderful illustrations and content within the books or simply by the way they are put together.

The exhibition is free and open to all and will run from 8 Feb to 27 April 2019

The Lamb Gallery is in the Tower Building of the University of Dundee

Open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 7pm and Saturday 1pm to 5pm

The exhibition stems in part from the research of PhD candidate Mhairi Rutherford.”

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