Calvariae Disjecta Book

Calvariae Disjecta: The Many Hauntings of Burton Agnes Hall

Robert Williams

Published by Information as Material, York, 2017

Designed by James Brook

ISBN 978 1 907468 23 0

Hardback | 170 x 215 mm | 168 pages including 12 pages of full-colour plates
Printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Munken Pure paper with Colorplan smoke grey cover

One of the most ubiquitous English ghost stories, ‘The Screaming Skull of Burton Agnes Hall’, has been spread and adapted over many years, but it nonetheless persists. Drawing from his own library plus decades of research, artist and academic Robert Williams re-presents references to the story from more than 100 popular sources that extend across more than 150 years. The project, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Hilmar Schäfer, echoes the transmission of the story itself as an extended quotation, in oral traditions and through downright plagiarism. The many lives of this story mapped out by this collection tell us as much about cultural and historical representations as they do a lurid tale of murder, grave-opening and screaming skulls.

Contributors to the project include artist and designer James Brook, artist and writer Dr. Kate Briggs (American University in Paris/Piet Swart Institute, Rotterdam) and cultural sociologist Dr. Hilmar Schäfer (Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany).

The Weaver's Apprentice Family Tree

This is a family tree that I designed as an exhibition graphic for Dovecot's The Weaver's Apprentice. The family tree shows the exchange of knowledge and skills handed down from Dovecot's original Master Weavers at the start of the 20th century to the current Dovecot apprentice, Ben Hymers. It was a tricky piece of design to get right as it had to give a sense of time and history; show different types of exchange of knowledge and skills; and reveal the hierarchy of the Dovecot Studios in a clear and understandable manner. In addition, as an exhibition graphic, the design had to be readable and accessible to all people. The family tree is a work in progress for Dovecot: we will re-visit the family tree at a later date adding more content and connections.

The Weaver's Apprentice Posters and Logo

This is a series of posters that I designed for The Weaver's Apprentice, an exhibition that tells the story of the Dovecot apprenticeship, featuring objects from Dovecot’s archive, as well as historic and current works. The poster above is printed at A1 while the others are printed at A4. The beautiful image on the A1 poster is a detail of weavers' initials from a tapestry created at Dovecot in 1924, Lord of the Hunt, by William Skeoch Cumming. This image is also used on the invitation card and banner that I have designed.

I am pleased with the logo that I designed using different weights and styles of Whitney, the 'official' Dovecot typeface: I hope that it carries some connotations of the authority of the weaver (in uppercase) and the forward moving playfulness of the young apprentice (in italic lowercase), both linked harmoniously together in a symbiotic creative relationship.

The Weaver's Apprentice Invitation

This is the invitation that I have designed for Dovecot's exhibition The Weaver's Apprentice. The card is A5, 148 x 210 mm, printed on Vision Superior, by Allander in Edinburgh. The image on the front of the card is a detail of weavers' initials from a tapestry created at Dovecot in 1924, Lord of the Hunt, by William Skeoch Cumming. This image is also used on the poster and banner that I have designed. The image of the tapestry has translated well in to print – tapestries often do, it's something about the relationship between stitches and pixels, I think – and, of course, it's a great photograph, taken by Antonia Reeve. The texture of the paper has given the image a tactile quality with the ink saturating the uncoated paper – I think it will look very handsome on the mantelpiece!

As well as an invitation card, I have also designed a four page A5 leaflet for the events programme that accompanies the exhibition. The image on this is of some of the original Dovecot apprentices from the Dovecot archives.




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