History Lesson

I work in a bookstore. It’s great, I see big fancy books all the time, I see collections of some of the worlds best prints but at the same time, my favourite kind of book is the one that comes from another time when the world was not the one I live in now.

My terrific friends Simon & Seja gave me this book last Saturday night. Simon found it in a dusty second hand book store for, I think, only a few dollars. Now while I know that this book is about Lino and not woodcut but the artistic premise is the same and the information within the book is great.

I find it interesting how there was a time in the first half of the 20th century when relief printing for the most part was considered a practical craft more than a legitimate artistic medium. Sure there were great artists like Esher, Munch and many more Expressionists who made fine prints but even here in Australia, people like Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor blurred the line between craft and art. I think (if memory serves me right) that it was Preston who would give linocut printing demonstrations on her veranda where she would ink up her lino plates on the back of her baking trays.

…and everything in this book is slanted towards the practical applications of the medium. Not about making lasting art but usable cards and signs etc. So take note all you budding shopkeepers, club secretariats and the like, this could be the trick to giving that special edge in attracting the public (ha!).

The one thing I can’t pin-point is the publication date. I do note that it says “wartime reprint” on the cover and from years of working in libraries, I know that many books in the first half of the last century didn’t put in the roman numeral publication dates. So I’m guessing it was published around the time of the second world war.

Thanks Simon!

    • Amanda
    • December 6th, 2010

    1935 http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/12655630?selectedversion=NBD27841734

    I love hunting through second hand book shops for this very reason. Once, I found the most incredible book in the Coolangatta second hand book shop: Photography Year Book 1959.It’s falling apart, but it captures another time when a part of me wishes I was alive.

    You are lucky to have such friends.

    What book shop do you work in now?

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