Last month I completed the photography of the John Lewis Printing Collection, held at MERL (the Museum of English Rural Life). I began the photography in December 2016 and finished it last month. Twenty thousand individual items mounted onto 1900 display sheets contained within 87 boxes – led to one year of photography.
A small number of items are on display currently at MERL but here is a brief description of the collection.
The collection consists of examples of printing, printing ephemera and advertisements, beginning with leaves from early printed books of the 1470s, through many aspects of decorative and commercial printing, down to specimens of fine printing from private presses and from the Royal College of Art, where both John Lewis and Berthold Wolpe lectured in the 1970s. It is grouped under 80 main headings and many of these are again subdivided. But here are just some of those catalogues.
Royal College of Art: c1950-
Engraved & printed titles & dedications for atlases : c1500-
Royalty : c1800-
Politics : c1800-
War, soldiers : c1800-
Music : c1750-
Soap advertisements : 1880-1910
Not only were the items photographed, they were catalogued and importantly conserved – what a group effort!