Wednesday, June 21, 2017

308. An Invitation for a Preview Party

On 8 October 1979, Lord Clark of Saltwood opened the exhibition 'All for Art: the Ricketts and Shannon Collection' at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. An invitation was issued by the Committee of the Friends of the museum who organised a Preview Party. Tickets were available at £1,50.

Invitation, Preview Party, 'All for Art' (1979)
The invitation was hand set and printed by Patricia Jaffé (born Milne-Henderson), the wife of the director of the museum, Michael Jaffé. She was an art historian like him, a wood engraver, and a writer about wood engraving. Her publications include Women Engravers and The Drawings of George Romney. She collected books on coins and antiquities, a collection that was sold in 2016 (her collector's story can be read on the Sotheby's website). During Jaffé's time at the Fitzwilliam, the family lived in Grove Lodge above the Museum offices. Patricia set up a printing press in the museum. This is what she wrote about the press (November 2003) (see: Fitzwilliam Museum News, Number 22, Winter 2003/2004).

When, in 1973, Michael came to the Fitzwilliam as Director, he allowed me to bring a printing press, an 1873 miniature Albion. To this the Friends of the Fitzwilliam added, in the summer of 1975, a Crown Folio Arab treadle platten once belonging to the Printing House of Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire whose nuns had produced so much for Sydney Cockerell, the most celebrated former Director of the Museum. With these presses I produced posters, fliers and announcements – things for which the Museum had no funds. I struggled. The task was almost impossible, and everything looked sadly amateur or even crude.

I found a copy of the 1979 invitation in a copy of the exhibition catalogue. Of course, I already have two copies of that catalogue (one a hard cover, the other a paperback), but now I realised that I had always owned the international edition of the bound edition, because this copy is slightly different. The dust wrapper mentions the price in pounds, while the international edition doesn't mention a price. That edition was destined for the overseas market; the Cambridge University Press had offices in New York and Melbourne as well as in London at the time (as the title page mentions).

All for Art (1979): paperback, British and international edition