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Undercover: The Art of the Book Jacket

[ Exhibition )

This is a FREE exhibition located in our Print Room on the ground floor. You will need to book a ticket if you wish to visit the rest of the Gallery.

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Fold out book cover in black, green and turqouise with classical figures.

Join us in the Print Room for a unique opportunity to discover some of the rarest and most valuable books illustrated by artists.

Few visitors are aware of the significant library and archive at Pallant House Gallery. Tucked away on the ground floor, the library has around 19,000 books, that have been vital in providing research for our ever-growing art collection and our internationally-renowned exhibitions.

Undercover: The Art of the Book Jacket is an unprecedented opportunity to see a number of these beautiful books, some of which are too precious or fragile to be on the open shelves. The exhibition will focus on a number of 20th century titles and the artists who contributed illustrations, frontispieces, and book covers to these publications.

It will include fine bindings by Modern British artist Paul Nash, a large first edition portfolio The Drawings of Henry Moore, and the complete series of New Excursions into English Poetry, for which Mona Moore, John Piper, Edward Bawden, John Craxton, Michael Ayrton, William Scott and Robert Colquhoun produced lithographs. Other highlights include House of Fear (1988), written and illustrated by the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and two painted frontispieces, including a self-portrait, by Hans Feibusch.

You will get the chance to see the vibrant early format editions of Ark (The Journal of the Royal College of Art) which were produced between 1950 and 1978 by RCA students. These journals will be on display alongside Unit 1: The Modern Movement in English Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1934) edited by Herbert Read. This was the accompanying publication for the only exhibition held by the Modernist group Unit One, which was founded by the Paul Nash in 1933, and included Barbara Hepworth, Edward Burra, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, and, for a short period, Frances Hodgkins. Several of the artists in Unit One were involved in the publication Circle: International Survey of Constructivist Art, which was printed three years later in 1937 – a copy of which will also be exhibited in Undercover: The Art of the Book Jacket.

Highlights from the exhibition

Painted page of book with sunflower with face and glassses and young girl

Hans Feibusch’s painted version of The Penguin Book of English Verse (1956)

Sketches of figures by Henry Moore

The Drawings of Henry Moore (1946)

Fold out book cover in black, green and turqouise with classical figures.

Five Speeches, An Address at The Royal College of Art by Sir Kenneth Clark

War Away book with image of man sleeping in boat

Time Way Away: A Notebook of Corsica by Alan Ross and John Minton (1948)

Unit 1 book cover

Unit 1: The Modern Movement in English Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1934) edited by Herbert Read

Unit 1 yellow cover with a large brown 1 down right side and UNIT in top left

Unit 1: The Modern Movement in English Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1934) edited by Herbert Read

Brown book cover with title 'Monster Field' and an image of a fallen tree in a field of many oranges and yellows with mountains in the background and a pink sky

Paul Nash’s Monster Field (1946) and several of the artist’s fine bindings

Book cover with image in bottom two thirds of a landscape garden with trees and a mock greek temple

English, Scottish & Welsh Landscape, verse chosen by John Betjeman and Geoffrey Taylor, lithographs by John Piper (1944)