Illuminated Manuscripts

Visiting the Cary Collection at RIT

At Rochester Institute of Technology
At Rochester Institute of Technology

This will have to be several posts. I just spent yesterday afternoon in the library at Rochester Institute of Technology, browsing through artists books that they pulled from their collection for me to look at. Up until yesterday I had no idea that RIT housed an enormous collection of artists books as part of the Cary Collection at the library. I had visited them just once before, this past January, where I was able to look at illuminated manuscripts.

Illuminated Manuscript, Cary Collections, RIT
Illuminated Manuscript, Cary Collections, RIT

My daughter, who is graduating from RIT this spring, has been studying calligraphy. Her teacher had taken them to see gorgeous old manuscripts from the Cary Collection.

Angie at the Cary
Angie at the Cary

Last January, while on campus with my daughter, we just showed up and got lucky. They happened to have these manuscript pages out where we could browse them.

The staff there, Amelia, Steven, and Greg, were incredibly helpful and nice. When my daughter let them know that I’m involved in book arts, Greg gave me a tour of the machines they have.

The room where letterpress is taught at RIT
The room where letterpress is taught at RIT

This is the room at RIT where letterpress is taught. It includes a press used by William Morris.

Books bound by Richard Minsky
Books bound by Richard Minsky

There’;s also a whole room, the Dudley A Weiss Reading Room, which houses Bernard C. Middleton’s enormous collection of books about  bookbinding, restoration and conservation. When I mentioned I have had a relationship with The Center for Book Arts. which began when Richard Minsky founded the organization in the Bowery section of NYC, Steven, who was showing me around, proudly pointed out these books bound by Richard.

Another Illuminated Manuscript, Cary Collections, RIT
Another Illuminated Manuscript Page, Cary Collections, RIT

Where I spend most of my time last January, though, was gawking over these pages. My daughter had been instructed how to handle the works, so I touched nothing, just looked, and let her be my guide.

 Illuminated Manuscript Page, Cary Collections, RIT
Illuminated Manuscript Page, Cary Collections, RIT

My time at this library was too short. I immediately started trying to figure out when I could get back there.

I got back there yesterday. They asked what did I want to see. I answered, I don’t know. What do you have? Do you have any unusual book structures?

Little did I know….they have an enormous ginormous collection of artist books.

I took pictures. Will be posting about this next.

Am already trying to figure out when I can get back there again.

 

 

 

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