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The Ephemerist Winter 2016

Image of Winter issue of the society's journal
The Winter issue of the society's journal is scheduled to be posted to members in December and contains the following articles:

  • Nicholas Charlesworth | Printing Variety theatre posters
  • Ray Bishop | Liebig trade cards: a chromolithographical triumph
  • Strand Magazine 1891 | Christmas Crackers
  • John & Heather Raybould | Miniature early Victorian chromolithographed Christmas & New Year cards
  • Plus regular favourites | Mrs Pepys' Diary and Notes & Queries

Cover image: Detail from a Tom Smith's box label for crackers with a Dutch theme,
c.1925. 178 x 166 mm. [Amoret Tanner collection]


Johnston and Gill: Very British Types

Mark Ovendon

Image of Johnston and Gill: Very British Types book

Iconic British typefaces Johnston and Gill Sans are celebrated in the first in-depth exploration of their development and impact on Britain’s visual culture

Edward Johnston (1872–1944) and Eric Gill (1882–1940) were originators of two of the world’s most enduring typefaces. Johnston still stands as London’s primary ‘wayfinding’ lettering, while Gill Sans is the type of choice within many public and private organisations across the UK today.

Johnston and Gill: Very British Types celebrates their significant contribution to Britain’s visual culture. Tracing the story of each typeface from inception to the present day, Mark Ovenden skilfully draws together a complex joint history that incorporates Edward Johnston’s and Eric Gill’s friendship and occasional collaboration, the myriad of revisions to both typeface designs, and the enduring appeal of the two typefaces over the last century among a range of clients, most notably the London Underground (Johnston) and the BBC (Gill Sans).

A hundred years after the arrival of Johnston’s Standard Alphabet, and 90 years since the appearance of Gill Sans, both typefaces are still going strong. Revised for the digital age, their continued future at the heart of British typography seems guaranteed. The BBC, John Lewis and the Church of England have no intention of replacing Gill Sans as their in-house typefaces.

  • Hardback • 200 Pages • Size: 250 x 195 mm
  • Includes c.300 colour and b&w illustrations • £40.00 GBP
  • UK Publication: November, 2016
  • ISBN: 978-1-84822-176-5


Ephemera Road Show: Senate House Library, University of London

25 February 2017

Image of Labour Party song book

Senate House Library will be hosting an Ephemera Road Show as part of their Radical Voices season. Radical Voices, running from January to March 2017, is an ongoing project in Senate House Library seeking to celebrate and promote the collections of radical voices of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Revealing this strand in the library’s collections sheds light on enormously influential but subsequently neglected figures, campaigns and organisations.

The Ephemera Road Show will take place in Room 101 and the Grand Lobby of the magnificent Senate House. The public are invited to bring items from their own Radical Voices collections, such as letters, pamphlets, leaflets and other items. They will have a couple minutes with a librarian or a conservator, who will provide advice on conserving the item and pass on any knowledge they might have, but also listen to the stories of the items.

Visit the website to find out more about this event.

Image: Copyright © Senate House Library


Dedicated to all Defenders of Human Freedoms:
The Art of Paul Peter Piech

Until 12 February 2017

Image of poster

Paul Peter Piech was an artist, humanitarian and campaigner. Born in New York in 1920, Piech’s influences were many, not least politics and equality, through to jazz and poetry. His print making was infused with both a desire to reflect the world’s wrong back on itself, and to demonstrate the power of compassion and art.

This new exhibition at the People’s History Museum, is a major retrospective of his career. Visitors will see Piech’s powerful political work against racism and for peace, set against his more melodic prints illuminating his passion for jazz and the poet Walt Whitman.

Image: Paul Peter Piech The history of jazz. Linocut 1995.
From the Regional Print Centre/Coleg Cambria Collection


The Graphics of Punk

Until 29 January 2017

The Graphics of Punk focus on the wild variety of graphic art that emanated from an era of anti-establishment sentiment.

The dramatic music of the punk movement was spear-headed by the Sex Pistols who dominated this new sound. Their record sleeves packaged this radical noise, and the posters that promoted each new release forms a central point in this exhibit. A range of album covers such as God Save The Queen designed by Jamie Reid (1977) and posters such as Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle designed by M. Hirsh (1979) will be on show.The exhibit also includes the graphics of other groups who amplified this vibrant energy and antics, including The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Damned.

Detail from OZ magazine cover-issue 37

A number of key underground alternative magazines forms a part of the exhibition and gives insights into other ways which the graphics of punk were used at the time. The 1970s was a decade full of outrage and agitation. Both Oz magazine and IT (International Times) were prosecuted for obscenity in 1970, and were found guilty. Spare Rib took up the cause of women's liberation, political activists encouraged splinter groups, and the underground press supported causes such as immigration, abortion, squatters and the miners struggle. These radical campaigns draw a visual parallel between the political climate of the time and its punk graphics aesthetics.

  • Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
  • 111-117 Lancaster Road
  • Notting Hill
  • London W11 1QT
  • UK
  • More details: Museum of Brands


Bedlam: the asylum and beyond

Until 15 January 2017

Image of hospital
Bethlem Hospital

This new exhibition follows the rise and fall of the mental asylum and explore how it has shaped the complex landscape of mental health today. Reimagine the institution, informed by the experiences of the patients, doctors, artists and reformers who inhabited the asylum or created alternatives to it.

Today asylums have largely been consigned to history but mental illness is more prevalent than ever, as our culture teems with therapeutic possibilities: from prescription medications and clinical treatment to complementary medicines, online support, and spiritual and creative practices. Against this background, the exhibition interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed.

  • Wellcome Collection
  • 183 Euston Road
  • London NW1 2BE
  • UK

More details Wellcome Collection




Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life