Author(s): Julius Bryant
This unique history brings together more than 150 spectacular objects from the National Art Library's collection of literature, prints, drawings and photographs. Housed within the V&A, the library was, from the beginning, an integral part of the Museum, formed by, and for, artists and designers as an essential element of the educational and museological project of Prince Albert and Henry Cole after the Great Exhibition of 1851. Word & Image shows how the distinct character of the NAL was formed, and how its collections created a new kind of bibliographical resource. From a fifteenth-century book of hours to William Morris's specimen pages for Jean Froissart's The Chronicles of Fraunce, Inglande, and Other Places Adjoynynge; from George Cruikshank's studies of Fagin for Oliver Twist to an Yves Saint Laurent design for the House of Dior; and from Bill Brandt's photographs to the Book of Nails by Floating Concrete Octopus, Word & Image explores some of the finest examples of 'book art' in existence.
Julius Bryant is Keeper of Word & Image at the V&A, responsible for the National Art Library, and for Prints, Drawings, Paintings and Photographs. Among the major exhibitions he has co-curated are James 'Athenian' Stuart, 1713 - 1788: The Rediscovery of Antiquity (V&A and Bard Graduate Center, 2007); Art and Design for All: The Victoria and Albert Museum (Bonn, 2011) and William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain (Bard Graduate Center and V&A, 2013). He is author of Alec Cobbe: Designs for Historic Interiors (V&A, 2014). Dr Rowan Watson is Senior Curator for the National Art Library's special collections and teaches on the History of the Book MA at the University of London. He curated the V&A exhibition Blood on Paper: The Art of the Book (2008) and is author of Western Illuminated Manuscripts (V&A, 2011). Elizabeth James is the Senior Librarian for collections and documentation at the National Art Library. She curated the V&A displays Certain Trees: The Constructed Book, Poem and Object (2008) and Private Eye: The First 50 Years (2011) and is author of The Victoria and Albert Museum: A Bibliography and Exhibition Chronology, 1852 - 1996 (1998)