The Multifaceted Mr. Morris

Mark Samuels Lasner Collection catalog

ENTITLED THE MULTIFACETED MR. MORRIS, this is the catalogue of the William Morris exhibition mounted in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware for the “Useful & Beautiful” conference held in October 2010. More than 30 books, manuscripts, drawings, and other works were highlighted and the book's introduction tells the story of how the collector came to collect the works of Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites.

The author, Jane MargueriteTippett, was a PhD student in Art History at the University of Delaware who worked in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection.

It was important for Lead Graffiti to find a way to marry the text with an interesting visual element. Many of the pieces included in the exhibition were very personal items, letters, photographs, drawings, and of course books. We wanted something tasty and visually appealing to tie the text to Mark's fabulous Victorian artifacts.

 The page to the right is the exhibition label for a letter from Henry Morris. We selected the words "& coffee" from the handwritten text to be the visual nugget.

The page to the right is the exhibition label for a letter
from Henry Morris. We selected the words "& coffee"
from the handwritten text to be the visual nugget.

A nugget is born

WE CAME UP WITH THE IDEA to look at each item in the catalogue and find an interesting visual element. It might be the postage mark on a letter or a note in the margin or an interesting square inch of a photograph. Ray termed these elements nuggets. Looking for them was great fun and the process connected us very directly with each piece, which added a surprisingly personal experience. Some had a dozen potential nuggets we could use. Others forced us to dig deeper in order to pull something distinctive from an otherwise non-visual piece which resulted in some interesting outcomes.

We took photos of the selected nuggets, along with the eight full color images, retouched them in Photoshop, LiveTraced in Illustrator, and designed an area at the top of each letterpress page for them to live and breathe. The positioning of each nugget connects it to its original life. At one point in the project, we were concerned that we had somehow lost control of what went where, so we went back to the collection to double check our layout. It was wonderful fun to look back through the pieces to find the nugget image. We hope others who visit Mark's collection can stop for a moment and search for a couple. Some are a bit of a challenging scavenger hunt to find.

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Production details

The Multifaceted Mr. Morris

NOT YOUR TYPICAL EXHIBITION CATALOG, The Multifaceted Mr. Morris offers a small visual taste of each of the items on view in this exhibition of Victoriana from the fabulous resources in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware.

This book is currently available in our Lead Graffiti store online.

Edition : 50 hardcover books, signed by Jane Marguerite Tippett and Mark Samuels Lasner, numbered 1 - 50; and 100 softcover books, numbered and unsigned; printed in 2011

Size : 56 pages, 5" x 9" overall

Binding : Hardcover copies bound by hand with sewn boards and softcover copies in wrappers

  • Both hard- and softcover books wrapped in Canson Mi-Tientes wave green with letterpress-printed title and spine
  • Spine for hardcover book made of parchment
  • Text block printed on Hahnemühle Bugra butter with photo pages output on Entrada Rag natural
  • Pages include half title, title, author's statement, and colophon

Production  :

  • Text set digitally in Adobe Caslon Pro and output to photopolymer plates for printing via letterpress
  • Cover printed slowly & patiently via letterpress in black and blue-green inks on a Vandercook SP15
  • Parchment spine printed via letterpress in black ink on a Vandercook SP15
  • Color photography digitally output via an Epson 3880 high-resolution archival inkjet
  • Text block printed slowly & patiently via letterpress in black and dusty rose inks, on a Vandercook Universal III

Next book entry : Birthdayscape