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The Typographic Dante

Barrie Tullett, University of Lincoln

The Divine Comedy is a poem by Dante Alighieri. Written between 1308 and 1320, it describes Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, and, at a deeper level, represents the souls journey towards God. The Typographic Dante is a series of typographic illustrations created as a response to this unfolding narrative. Each Canto being illustrated typographically, and each book of the Divine Comedy having a different typographic style.

This is an on-going project by Barrie Tullett, Programme Leader for Graphic Design at the University of Lincoln, that will eventually illustrate each of the 100 Cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy using a different ‘obsolete’ technology.The 34 Cantos of The Inferno are realised using the wood and metal type of letterpress printing, the 33 Cantos of Purgatory are created on the typewriter, and the 33 Cantos of Paradise will be visualised with Letraset.

The seed of the project was planted many years ago, but it did not begin to come together as a coherent body of work until Tullett’s final year as a Visual Communication student at the Chelsea School of Art. Ever since, he has returned to the project whenever he have had the time, and has slowly added to the illustrations. This is the first time that all the completed images will be exhibited as a single body of work.

The exhibition runs from 10 February until 2 April 2017.

Admission is free of charge.

2017 Exhibition Programme

The 2017 Exhibition Programme will be announced at the end of January 2017!

Seditious Types, Legacy of the Printers of 1916

The National Print Museum opens an exhibition seeking to engage the public in an understanding of the Rising from a fresh perspective. The exhibition explores the role of printers active in 1916 and the central role of printed media in shaping the image and meaning of the Rising.

The growth of the print industry in Ireland from the 17th century onwards was linked to political and administrative change. Print forms spanned all social spheres including academic works, luxury accessories and administrative stationary. In 1916, printers transformed the words of artists, activities, politicians and industrialists into works of permanent ink which survive today. In 1916, the printed word was the dominant means of communication. Print had a prolific presence, with broadsheets, newspapers, posters, fliers, handbills and postcards evident on every street corner. Print forms were divided into stationary, advertisements, popular media newspapers, journals, books and academic publications. The press industry was thriving in Dublin, meeting the demands of the growing middle and upper classes. The majority of printed content included advertising of social events and key political issues such as the recruitment drive for the first World War, the domestic issue of Home Rule and socialist post 1913 Lockout activists such as the Suffragette movement. Against this backdrop the print industry was producing large amounts of material for nationalist and unionist organizations. The ever growing militaristic tone of these organizations is evident in the text, illustration and branding of the surviving print. Newspapers and journals played a key role in the distribution of political feeling in 1916. From the outbreak of the first World War, the Dublin Castle administration closely monitored all printed works and employed the Defence of the Realm Act to suppress any which were seen to incite sedition or discontent within the lawful authority.

Politics and the print industry had a complex relationship in 1916 Ireland. As a commercial sector the print industry produced vast amounts of stationary and advertising for the main political parties and the British administration. This often resulted in material from varying political points of view being produced in the same printing shops. However, a number of print shops were associated with the Gaelic League and the nationalist literary movement. This group of printers actively published works which would not have been printed by the mainstream printers of the time, including works by Yeats, Synge and O’Casey. In recognition of the power of print to inform and win public opinion, a nationalist print counter-culture existed in the form of journals, pamphlets and books. This ‘mosquito press’ circulated mainly in Dublin among radical political activists. In the case of the more seditious groups and individuals, small printing presses were often established in secret locations. By 1916 many of the key political activists were printers, compositors and editors.

Exhibition dates: May – September 2016 [Extended until 28 October 2016]
Admission: Free of charge.
Sponsorship: The exhibition has been supported by Ireland 2016 and the Irish design and print industry: Catalysto, Colorman, Trimfold, Walsh Colour Print, Spectrum, Vermillion, Impress Printing Works, DLRS Group, Gill, Waterman’s, The Irish Times, and Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery.

Graphic Explorations in Print

32 years of student work from Distillers Press, NCAD

Distillers Press, previously known as the graphic print workshop, had its origin at the National College of Art and Design’s original location on Kildare Street. In the 1980s when the Department of Visual Communication moved to the college’s new location on Thomas Street, the facility was expanded by the then Head of Department, Bill Bolger. Seán Sills was appointed custodian of the Press in 1983.

The Press now has a number of operational letterpress proofing presses and a large collection of metal and wooden type approximately 280 cases of metal type and 110 cases of wooden type in a wide variety of fonts.

It is used by students on a daily basis for creative projects and also as a teaching tool to introduce the fundamentals of typography. Ireland’s first practice-based Masters in the visual arts was undertaken at the Press in 1986; samples of this work can be viewed in the exhibition.

The Press is unique in being the only operational letterpress print facility used on a daily basis in third level design education in Ireland. Over the years Distillers Press has collaborated with some of Ireland’s greatest artists, writers and poets including the late Nobel Laurette Seamus Heaney.

The facility began to be known as the Distillers Press in the late 1990s due to the college campus location in the old Power’s Whiskey Distillery, where whiskey was manufactured for nearly 200 years. In 2005, Distillers Press relocated to the School of Design and reverted back to a purely letterpress facility due to the resurgence of the interest in letterpress printing and the advancements in digital printing.

Distillers Press collaborated with the National Gallery of Ireland on its first contemporary exhibition of Print Art into Art, and the Chester Beatty Library for their exhibition The Holy Show. Work from the Press is collected by private collectors and national institutions such as the Rare Books Section of Trinity College Library, National Library of Ireland and the National Visual Arts Library, as well as many overseas libraries and universities in the UK, USA and Australia.

Graphic Explorations is a showcase of work produced by graphic design students at Distillers Press from 1983 until present day. Curated by Seán Sills, custodian of the Press during that period, the exhibition encompasses posters, books and a collection of ephemera. The National Print Museum has had strong links with Distillers Press over many years, working on collaborative projects and is delighted to host this exhibition. Graphic Explorations has been made possible with the generous support of Irish Design 2015.

Exhibition runs from 10 December 2015 until end of February 2016.

Free admission.

See the What’s on page for further programming details.

A World to Win, Posters of Protest and Revolution

To celebrate the year of design, Irish Design 2015 and the National Print Museum host the Irish debut of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London touring exhibition, A World to Win, Posters of Protest and Revolution.  

A World to Win is an exhibition of posters of protest and revolution exploring a century of posters agitating for political change. From the “Votes of Women” campaigns of the early twentieth century to the recent occupy movements, political activists around the world have used posters to mobilise, educate and organise. The exhibition will comprise of approximately seventy posters drawn from the V&A collection and will feature a diverse array of artists, graphic designers and print collectives. The exhibition is curated by Catherine Flood, V&A Prints Curator.

A World to Win is sponsored by ID2015; Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Dublin City Council; and Aviva Stadium Community Fund.

Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

17 September – 8 November 2015

Free admission

See the What’s on page for further programming details.

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Modern Wife, Modern Life

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Modern Wife, Modern Life is an exhibition exploring the ‘ideal wife’ turned ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland as seen through the pages of women’s magazines. Curated by Ciara Meehan of University of Hertfordshire., the National Print Museum is delighted to host this exhibition during July and August 2015.

Manuals on how to be a good wife had been widely available in Ireland at the start of the twentieth century, but with the emergence of new technologies, the advice extended to newly married women and housewives began to change in the 1960s. The concept of being an ‘ideal wife’ became closely bound up with being a ‘modern wife’. This is best identified in the pages of women’s magazines, which came to replace the traditional manual as a source for guidance. The message, driven by the advertisers, was clear: a ‘good wife’ was not just beautifully presented, but also used all the latest ‘modern’ devices. Her home – especially the kitchen – was an extension of her appearance and reputation. ‘Modern life’ and ‘modern wife’ became blended into the one ideal. The exhibition covers several themes: the growth of women’s magazines; advice for newly-married wives; beauty and presentation; the Housewife of the Year competition; new technologies and the home; women behind the wheel; and wives outside the home. In addition to the magazines, a series of domestic objects — many of which are loan from the Irish public — will also be on display.Admission free of charge.

Further information follow the exhibition blog http://modernwifemodernlifeexhibition.com and Twitter account @ModWifeExhibit #modwife

Exhibition continues until 30 August.

Free Admission.

Exhibition Events

Join us for a tour of Modern Wife, Modern Life led by the exhibition’s curator, Dr Ciara Meehan – find out upcoming dates for these tours in the What’s On? section.

Together with Press Cafe, we will be running an afternoon of 1960s-inspired cakes and reminiscence at 16.00 on Thursday 6 August. Details to follow shortly.

Exquisite Editions

An International Exhibition of Finely Printed Books

For the first time in Ireland, this exhibition brings together 25 outstanding books from the world’s leading contemporary fine press printers. All the books are letterpress printed in limited editions and many have been illustrated through a variety of means including wood engraving, woodcut, linoleum and other fine art processes. Exhibiting alongside the work of several Irish presses will be books from the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands. The exhibition has been curated by Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press. This one is for the bibliophiles…

4 March – 18 April 2015

Free Admission

Image of ‘At Sixes and Sevens’ by Stoney Road Press, Ireland

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National Print Museum,
Garrison Chapel,
Beggars Bush Barracks,
Haddington Road,
Dublin 4,
Ireland

T: +353 1 660 3770
E: info@nationalprintmuseum.ie