Category: Collections-based research

Looking at women looking at themselves being looked at

9 June – 9 September 2022

This exhibition, now open in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, explores the concept of the male gaze in twentieth-century British illustration, and is curated by Cătălina Zlotea.

The exhibition analyses the work of the British illustrator, Charles Mozley (1914–1991), through a contemporary lens. It does so by foregrounding two female stereotypes depicted in advertisements, ephemera, and fine art lithographs made by Mozley between the late 1940s and the early 1980s. The exhibition arrangement creates contrast and conflict between the image of the middle-class “virtuous” woman – a virgin goddess placed on a pedestal – and the “loose” woman – an anonymous sex object signalled through hair colour and scanty clothing. This female presence, recurrent in Mozley’s work, demonstrates the quality of the artist’s draughtsmanship while connoting middle-class masculine virtues, follies, and sexual desires. 

The exhibition is open weekdays, 10 am to 5 pm. Closed bank holidays.

About Charles Mozley

Charles Mozley was born in Sheffield where he studied painting and drawing at the Sheffield College of Arts and Crafts. In 1933 he won a scholarship from the Royal College of Art and moved to London to study painting. After graduating, he taught life drawing, anatomy, and lithography at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. Following the Second World War and for the rest of his career, he worked as a freelance artist. 

Prolific and versatile, Mozley was among the artists commissioned by Frank Pick and Jack Beddington for prestigious London Transport and Shell-Mex advertising campaigns. He also created designs for the advertising agency Colman, Prentis & Varley, for theatre and film production companies, and for many British publishers. He painted a mural for the Festival of Britain, contributed to the popular “School Prints” and “Lyons Lithographs” series, and produced ephemera for restaurants and the wine trade. Alongside commercial work, Mozley continuously painted, made prints, and exhibited in solo and group shows. 

The long list of commissions, as well as the works held by the Charles Mozley Trust, provide evidence that Mozley’s pictures were widely seen in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century. As Nicolas Barker has remarked, Mozley’s work is “a graphic-mirror of the post-war era”, making it a valuable resource for the study of visual culture.

Credits

Curator: Cătălina Zlotea
Exhibition design: Cătălina Zlotea, Hannah Smith
Exhibition consultant: Eric Kindel
Archive consultant: Sallie Morris
Production: Geoff Wyeth

Thanks to the Charles Mozley Trust, which has supported this exhibition and the doctoral research by Cătălina Zlotea that informs it.

Installation

Selected works by Charles Mozley highlighting key projects.
Overview of the exhibition space contrasting the “loose” woman and the “virtuous” woman, as subjected to the male gaze.
Illustrations by Mozley depicting the “loose” woman.
Illustrations by Mozley depicting the “virtuous” woman.

Research Fellowship in Ephemera Studies

Applications are invited for the Michael Twyman Research Fellowship in Ephemera Studies in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading.

The Fellowship is available from September 2021, or a mutually agreed date and for a period of up to 12 months (we estimate this would equate to 2 to 3 months full-time equivalent) and will attract a stipend of £5,000.

Find out more, and how to apply:

Research Fellowship in Ephemera Studies

13 July: a celebration of letterforms and ephemera

We are holding a one-day symposium on Saturday 13 July, where world-class experts in design research, teaching, and practice will discuss ways of positioning ephemera within graphic design and typeface design. Participants will experience the visual richness of printed ephemera through illustrated talks and hands-on sessions with material from our collections of ephemera. 
Hands-on sessions will be conducted by Martin Andrews, Paul Luna, Lucienne Roberts, and Michael Twyman. Talks will be given by Rathna Ramanathan and Fred Smeijers. (For past students and attendees of our events, the sessions will include material that has not been viewed before in any of the regular in-term sessions.) 
The Symposium will begin at 10:00 in the Department of Typography, and conclude at 17:30. Lunch will be  provided in the Meadow Suite. The event is capped to 60 participants to enable close access to the material, discussion and networking.

 

Postgraduate research communication success

Congratulations to postgraduate researcher Bodil Mostad Olsen who has won the University’s prize for research communication in a poster competition, held as part of the University’s annual Doctoral Research Conference. Bodil’s communication of her research topic – the history of health communication on food labels – was judged top among a very competitive field of posters representing research across a wide range of arts, science and social science disciplines. Her poster illustrates her collections-based research. It shows the changing influences of scientific understanding of food hygiene and nutrition, food packaging technology, and societal change on the presentation of food to consumers from 1850–1970. This area of typographic and graphic communication practice, although influential in people’s everyday decision-making, has not been  considered previously from this wide, contextual perspective.

Early lithography around the world: objects, processes, and experiences, workshop report

Early lithography around the world: objects, processes, and experiences was a workshop that was convened by Reading PhD candidates Borna Izadpanah, and Wei Jin Darryl Lim. It was conceived together with, and led by Professor Emeritus Michael Twyman, and was held in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication on the 27 March 2018. The workshop was planned as a series of informal sessions and brought together a select number of colleagues working internationally in various disciplines and professions, from conservation and restoration, to type design, and printing and book history.

A collections-based approach was central to Early lithography around the world. To that end, Michael Twyman drew upon his personal collection of printed artefacts originating from, and relating to the lithographic printing trade across two centuries, and set up a rare exposition – a miniature exhibition to be specific – of his personal collection of items, supplemented by the lithographic stones collection, and ephemera collection of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication. Artefact- and materials-handling was instrumental to the delivery of the workshop, and at various instances participants were strongly encourage to handle, study, and observe – by sight and touch – the visual and material nuances of a variety of objects: from a miniature model of a star wheel press, lithographed trade cards, manuscript bills of sale, to limestone fragments from France and from the Solnhofen quarries in Bavaria.

Divided into several parts, the workshop was loosely arranged around the themes of lithographic stones and their sources, trade tools and technology, operations and production, and products of the press. Our session began with Michael presenting and highlighting the intrinsic importance of lithographic stones to the nature of the technology and trade, regardless of geographic location, or scale of printing operation. This intense, in-depth presentation about the geological qualities of the lithographic stone bred fertile discussion by drawing in a new area of research consideration, with participants sharing anecdotes and bringing contributions from their own areas of expertise and interests. This was followed by a discussion about the lithographer’s tools – pens, crayons, and various paraphernalia employed by writers working in the trade, and the technicalities, considerations, and issues behind the operation of a lithographic press. The printed products emanating from presses were examined next; with participants learning how to identify specific characteristics that gave clues into how a lithographed piece might have been originated, multiplied and printed. Particular attention was paid to distinguishing between writing done in reverse on stone, and work done the right way round on transfer paper, and then transferred to stone. Various types of artefacts – books, pamphlets, newspapers, ephemera – printed from the various sub-branches of lithographic technology were also meticulously examined and handled; including products printed by gillotage, a process that was used to convert lithographic marks made on stone (or transferred to it) into relief images.

Numerous productive discussions punctuated the day. Participants actively drew connections and shared insights from their own specialisations in Persian, South Asian and Southeast Asian branches of research, and shared understandings from their awareness of localised conditions of adapting and using lithographic presses, the qualities of how specific Asian scripts were rendered, all in relation to the topic of lithography. Attendees that participated in Early lithography around the world included Emily Müller, paper conservator and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Jasdip Singh Dhillon, book conservator with the Oxford Conservation Consortium with a keen interest in Sikh lithographed books; Aardarsh Rajan, Masters by Research candidate and type designer; Suman Bhandary, Masters in Typeface Design candidate; Sallie Morris, the Typography Department’s Collections Research Assistant; Professor Fiona Ross, a type designer and historian; and Vaibhav Singh, typographer, typeface designer, and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Reading.

Science communication for children

A new AHRC-funded project begins today. Transforming science for young people: Marie Neurath and Isotype books for children aims to find new audiences for the approach to science communication taken by Marie Neurath in her books for children, produced in the 1940s and 1950s. The illustrations in these books, in series such as the ‘Wonder world of nature’ and ‘Wonders of the modern world’, were innovative in their approach to the design of complex information.

Following on from Isotype revisited, the project will make extensive use of the materials in the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection, to identify approaches to science communication relevant to teaching in primary schools today. We will work with teachers and teacher educators as part of the design process to ensure that their ideas and needs are taken into account. Pilot schools will be involved in evaluating the effectiveness of the resources to ensure they are relevant and effective.

An exhibition at House of Illustration in London in summer 2019, Marie Neurath: Picturing Science, will display examples of Marie Neurath’s illustrations from the children’s books, as well as sketches, drawings and correspondence that show the iterative nature of the design process.

Project people and partners

Prof Sue Walker and Prof Eric Kindel, Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading

Dr Andrew Happle, Institute of Education, University of Reading

Dr Emma Minns (Project Officer)

Partners:

Design Science

House of Illustration