Monday, 11 April 2011

Back from Mount Stuart with lots to think about...

It has been a while since I have blogged - not that I haven't been keeping busy. However, most of my time has been taken up with writing, rather than new research. However, a return trip to the Mount Stuart Archives on the Isle of Bute last week has given me plenty to ponder.

As I have been going through the archives, concentrating on the post-war period, I have come across a number of exhibition invites and catalogues. The variety of styles and forms they come in, made me think how exhibition literature is a reflection of the context in which they are produced.

One of the earliest was from 1949, an invitation to the private view of 'RECENT TAPESTRIES by the Edinburgh Tapestry Company' at the Arts Council Gallery, London. The card is small and modest - perhaps a reflection of the on-going poor financial climate. The card is, however, elegant and printed on high-quality card. The intended recipients included potential clients, who could afford to spend a significant amount on an artist-designed tapestry.

The next card is for an exhibition of similar content displayed later in the same year, this time in Edinburgh at Gladstone's Land. The change of public from English to Scottish is clear in the description of 'Scottish Artist-Weavers'. The leaflet also gives more detail regarding the exhibition, including a list of artists involved. The decisions regaring how much information to include in publicity of this kind, and how to lay it out, is one which still occupies galleries and museums today. A Private View invitation show draw its recipient in, encourage them to attend the exhibition without loosing all sense of intrigue.

The invitation for an exhibition the following year, this time in Glasgow, is again different. The invite is considerably simplified with no colour print. What I could not deduce from these items was who made the decision regarding final design: weaver, director or gallery staff?

As well as being beautifully crafted objects, these archives provide essential information regarding the exhibitions which Dovecot took part in. To illustrate how well they represent their cultural climate, I'll finished with an outstanding invitation from just a decade later:

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful examples of invites. All the designs of which were chosen by the relevant galleries in their current housestyles. Dovecot would be especially pleased with the ACBG's Scottish Committee choice of the last one (for the 1962 Jubilee) which is by George Mackie, one of Scotland's leading book and graphic designers. Fabulous design with a real sense of pattern and surface....


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