‘Laird of Art’

This eclectic bag from the Grainger Museum’s Costume and Textiles collection was made by Percy Grainger at the age of 12. After his mother, Rose, died, Grainger published a limited edition book called Photos of Rose Grainger, which included a chronology of her life. The 1894 entry notes:

‘Received from her son, as a birthday gift … several of his compositions presented in an elaborately decorated cover or bag sewn by him and consisting of cardboard, lace, scrapwork, kitchen curtains, part of a stocking, small stars of silver paper, etc.’

Grainger’s interest in textiles and experimental fashion design may well have begun with this piece. Two outfits worn by Grainger and illustrating his forward-thinking ideas about fashion are currently on loan from the Museum to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for the ManStyle exhibition on until November 2011. One is an unstructured silk suit made by the Rogers Peet Company in 1921 and the other is Grainger’s ‘Laird of Art’ outfit (above right) which he and his wife Ella made from towelling and fringing in the 1930s.

September: The Month of Print at the Baillieu Library

The 2011 international print conference, ‘IMPACT 7: Intersections & Counterpoint’, is being hosted by Monash University from 27 to 30 September. Prior to the conference, as part of a ‘month of print’ which celebrates the printing arts across Australia, the Baillieu Library is hosting a number of events to watch out for. Our program starts with an exhibition in the Leigh Scott Gallery, titled ‘Write of Fancy: The Golden Cockerel Press’. The exhibition will run between August and October and showcases the Library’s exceptional collection of Golden Cockerel books from this English fine press which operated between 1920 and 1960.

Print Matters at the Baillieu is a one day symposium inspired by the Baillieu Library’s Print Collection. A panel of experts with topics ranging from Ovid to Indigenous art has been assembled for this free event, to be held on the 3 September in the Elisabeth Murdoch lecture theatre. For more details about this event, and a full program, please see the Print Collection website at: www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/prints.

The Baillieu Library is also hosting a lunch-time talk by this year’s Ursula Hoff intern, printmaker Karen Ball. Her discussion, ‘Distressed Damsels and Life’s Little Misadventures: Fugitive Book Engravings from the Time of Charlotte Bronte’ will take place in the Leigh Scott Room on 26 September at 1.30pm.

Put these dates in your diary to revel in a taste of the Baillieu Library’s treasures.

Rembrandt van Rijn, ‘Man drawing from a cast’, c.1652, etching, image: 8.9 x 6.9 cm, gift of Dr J. Orde Poynton, 1959, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne, reg. no. 1959.3713.


Melbourne University Magazine, or MUM, was a student magazine, produced annually and sometimes several times a year. It was published from 1907 until 1979 and included prose, poetry, art and general musings. Often witty and irreverent, MUM also sometimes contained more serious topics, such as the war memorial edition of 20 July 1920. Some famous names pop up: Barry Humphries, Bruce Dawe and Chris Wallace-Crabbe, for example. The magazine gives a sense of the student experience, often including rants about happenings at the University, but it sometimes also laments the lack of contribution to MUM by the students. Pictured here are issues from 1950, 1952, 1957,1958, 1959 and 1962. All are from the Special Collections, University of Melbourne.

Early Image of Sydney

Augustus Earle (c.1790-c.1839) was the son of James Earle (1761-1796), an American artist. Following his father’s profession, the younger Earle exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1806. He travelled around the world in the first half of the 19th century, visiting almost every continent. On one trip, his ship was marooned on the island of Tristan D’Acunha. He was taken off by another ship on its way to Tasmania, and arrived at Hobart on 18 January 1825. He stayed there for about nine months, then went to Sydney where he lived for about two years.

Earle did much painting in watercolours and obtained commissions for portraits from several of the leading colonists. In 1827 he sent a set of eight paintings of Sydney to London to be used for Robert Burford’s panorama of Sydney. In 1830 he published Views in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, Australian Scrap Book. The eight views were all of New South Wales subjects and are important early views of the growing colony of New South Wales. Earle died between 1838 and 1840.

Pictured is ‘Government House, and part of the town of Sydney’, from Augustus Earle, Views in New South Wales and Van Diemens Land: Australian Scrap Book, London: J. Cross, 1830, lithograph, printed in black ink, from one stone, 19.8 x 28.8 cm (printed image (trimmed)). Special Collections, University of Melbourne.

Special Stationery in Library Stairwell

In the late 19th to mid-20th century elaborate, decorative letterheads were used by large and small businesses alike to promote their business or products. A frieze made from a selection of letterheads in the University Archives is installed in the circular stairwell of the Baillieu Library. The frieze recalls schema for wall decoration in Victorian and Edwardian times and features plumbing, printing, undergarments, machinery, factories and a union, grocers, a fishmonger and biscuit makers, purveyors of household goods, musical instruments and bicycles from Melbourne and regional Victoria. Most of the businesses and their products are long gone, along with this style of letterhead. Selected for their visual appeal and reproduced in an unexpected format, the letterhead frieze demonstrates that archival collections are rich resources for a wide range of purposes.

The frieze was installed to enhance the exhibition ‘Primary Sources: 50 stories from 50 years of the Archives’ (December 2010 – February 2011), however the frieze has proved so popular that it has been retained in the Library for this year.

Number of posts found: 163

Popular posts

  • Loading...

Previous posts

By collection

Post type