Art, Collections and Resources, Exhibits, Literary, Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

Exhibit on Rare Illustrated Books on Display through Sept. 28


Meaningful Marks: Image and Text and the History of the Book
May 19 – September 28, 2011
Wilson Special Collections Library, Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
Free and open to the public
Information: (919) 962-3765 or

NEW: Guided tour of the exhibit
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
10 – 11 a.m.
Free and open to the public

An exhibition featuring many of the most outstanding illustrated books from the Rare Book Collection in the Wilson Special Collections Library is on view through Sept. 28.

Meaningful Marks: Image and Text and the History of the Book includes more than forty items from the Rare Book Collection, as well as other special collections at UNC.

The exhibition explores why authors, artists, editors, and publishers often join images with verbal texts, creating more complex composite texts in the process.

Pictures, Books, and Science: From Description to Diagram in the Circle of Galileo
In conjunction with the exhibition

The 14th Hanes Lecture, Presented by the Hanes Foundation for the Study of the Origin and Development of the Book

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Reception at 5 p.m.
Program at 6 p.m.
Wilson Library
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203

David Freedberg, Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University

The books on display demonstrate a range of illustration techniques, from hand-painted illuminations in a thirteenth-century collection of psalms, created for the use of the Abbey at St.-Denis in France, to full-page printed color plates with movable parts in an early-twentieth-century Spanish encyclopedia of modern inventions.

The items on view underscore the ability of pictures to convey ideas and knowledge in different ways, said Claudia Funke, curator of rare books.

“Operating without the temporal structure of language, images have the capacity to engage us in profound and often mystical ways, reaching for meaning beyond historical time,” she noted.

The exhibition is organized by eight themes that explore how images work with words. The topics include “Voice Imagined,” “Symbols & The Shape of Words,” “Dreams & Visions,” and “Telling a Story.”

Among the exhibition highlights are:

  • The Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Heraldry, the first English book known to employ color printing (1486);
  • Geofroy Tory’s Champ Fleury, the classic treatise on letterforms (1529);
  • Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1731-1743);
  • Goethe’s Faust, the first literary work illustrated by the lithographic process, by the great French painter Eugène Delacroix (1828);
  • Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographic masterpiece Illustrations to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and Other Poems (1875).

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