Fragile Knowledge, Exeter Library Rare Book Commission for Art Week Exeter

I have been working away on this cabinet of curiosity for Exeter Library, as part of  Art Week Exeter. Exeter Library has a a fantastic collection of early and rare books and they have a new scheme to get people to adopt a book from the collection to pay for the restoration of these ancient books. 

There are three other artists with a cabinet at in the library and there are lots of events going on across  the city as part of ArtWeekExeter and the work will be on display until in the library 21st May. 

The rare book collection is available for everyone to go and see, an afternoon in the collection is very inspiring and I have responded to three fascinating books from the collection. 

 A New Herball by William Turner of Bath, 1551.

The first book describing the medicinal qualities of plants printed in English. The drawings and text within are simple and beautiful. Some of the pages are stained from heavy use and the pestle and mortar represent the practical nature of the book.

The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck

The illustrations are incredibly skilled and delicate with early 20th Century styling. The simple bee woodcut print at the start of the book inspired me and was the basis for my pieces.

The Ivy Its History, Uses and Characteristics by Shirley Hibberd

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and so is the writing. I am reflecting the chapter on the uses of ivy, chief of which seems to be holding up the masonry of our ancient buildings!

 

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