We are back home from our English holiday after spending the last few days in Oxford.
Oxford is a wonderful place to visit, though I expect it is fairly horrible in the center of the city at the peak of tourist season. We went to two exhibitions: Great British Drawings at the Ashmolean Museum, and Marks of Genius at the Weston Library branch of the Bodleian Libraries. Both were excellent, but the second is of special interest to anyone interested in book arts. This exhibition includes not only books but manuscripts, letters, drawings, maps, and telegrams. If you can’t make it to Oxford before the exhibition closes 20 September 2015, you might want to have a thorough look through the website that has been set up for the exhibition. (You can get there by clicking on the title of the exhibition in the first paragraph.) Here are some sample images: There is also an extensive catalogue for the exhibition. (I bought the cheaper paper-covered version as I couldn’t bring myself to spend the extra money for the hardcover, which was merely the same Smyth-sewn text block hot-glued into boards.)
The website and the catalogue are both wonderful, but contain mere images of things. There is nothing to compare with being in the physical presence of the Gough Map, a Gutenberg Bible, or Hooke’s Micrographia. If you can get to Oxford, even if it ends up being in the worst of the tourist crowds, you won’t regret having made the effort to see this show.