Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Special Collections Showcase: Macao et Cosmage

This regular feature of our blog highlights items from the Library's Rare Books and Special Collections, which are currently being recatalogued, audited and researched by staff in the Library. Today we look at Macao et Cosmage by Edouard Leon Louis Legrand, known as Edy-Legrand.
This book for French children was published in November 1919, when the artist was just 18. It's brightly coloured illustrations show the contemporary influence of Fauvism and jazz, and are rendered in the technique of pochoir in which is pigment is applied to the page through stencils. The book presents a very colonial view of island territories in which life is depicted as invariably happy and tranquil; indeed it is subtitled "the experience of happiness". Now very rare, the book is now seen as pivotal in moving children's illustration out of the heavy and ornate Victorian style of Dulac and others into an avowedly Modernist style.
The Library's Special Collections include a number of rare or valuable titles, some dating back to the sixteenth century. These titles are mostly held in the Mackintosh Library. Because of the value of these itmes, special access arrangement are in place, with viewing strictly by appointment only with our Academic Liasion Librarians.