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:

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.

Foy & Gibson Catalogues

The department store and manufacturers, Foy & Gibson, began when Mark Foy (1830–1884), a draper from Ireland who had owned various produce stores around the Bendigo district, set up a new drapery business in 1870 in Smith Street, Collingwood. Also known as Foy’s, it was one of Australia’s earliest department store chains, modelled on Le Bon Marché in Paris and other European and American stores of the period. The business prospered and occupied six shops by 1880. A large range of goods was manufactured and sold by the company, including clothing, manchester, leather goods, soft furnishings, furniture, hardware and food.

In 1883 ownership of the business was transferred to Foy’s son, Francis Foy, in partnership with Willam Gibson. Francis Foy later sold his half share of the business to Gibson and moved to Sydney, establishing Mark Foy’s there. Gibson added manufacturing and direct importing to retailing and acquired many subsidiary outlets in Victoria and other states, including Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. By the early 20th century Gibson’s store and manufacturing works, one of the largest employers in Victoria, dominated the Wellington and Smith Streets area of Collingwood, Melbourne. A second store — the Big Store ― opened in Chapel Street, Prahran, in 1902. After Gibson died in 1918, the firm was carried on by his nephew John Maclellan until it was taken over in 1955 by Cox Brothers, which went into liquidation in 1968. The successor of these businesses now trades as Big W, part of the Woolworths group.

Foy & Gibson catalogues began publication in the 1880s. Our collection begins with the Winter Catalogue 1902. Pictured above are the cover of Winter 1929 and and page 51 of Spring/Summer 1929, from the collections of the University of Melbourne Archives.

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