Christmas cards from artists exhibition

Among the treasures of the John and Griselda Lewis Collection held at the Special Collections Service are a number of Christmas cards designed by well-known artists that were sent to their families and friends.

This exhibition features a selection of the cards which date from c. 1949-60, and include work by many important artists working during this period including John Piper, Gertrude Hermes, Quentin Blake, Jan Tschichold, Edward Ardizzone, Reynolds Stone, Lynton Lamb, Edward Bawden, John Nash, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Ruari McLean and Barnett Freedman.

John Lewis (1912-1996) was a typographer and graphic designer who, with Michael Twyman and Maurice Rickards, pioneered the study of printed ephemera. He was the author of several books, including Printed ephemera : the changing uses of type and letterforms in English and American printing, which was published in 1962. The collection consists of some 20,000 items illustrating the history of printing from the fifteenth century to the present, the earliest item being a leaf from a book printed by William Caxton. Much of the material can be described as printed ephemera, and includes a huge range of items, from bottle labels to examples of fine printing.

The collection is classified thematically and occupies about 100 boxes in which most of the specimens are mounted on large sheets – the categories include proclamations and broadsides dating from 1650; 1,200 artists' greeting cards designed by artists for their personal use, and the advertising archive of Reckitt & Coleman, Australia.

Please note that all the items on display in this exhibition are colour reproductions of the originals, but the original cards are available to view on request by contacting the Special Collections Service.

The exhibition will be on display from 9 December 2010 - mid-January 2011 at the University Library.

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