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Talk: Talwin Morris - His Life, Designs and Legacy

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The Sir Duncan Rice Library

Bedford Road

Aberdeen

AB24 3AA

United Kingdom

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Talk: Talwin Morris - His Life, Designs and Legacy

Speaker: Duncan Chappell, Academic Liaison Librarian, Glasgow School of Art

Venue: The Special Collections Seminar Room, Sir Duncan Rice Library, Aberdeen

As part of its bookbindings exhibition, Cover Stories, the Special Collections Centre at the University of Aberdeen is hosting a series of five talks that focus on some of the individuals behind the bindings - those who owned the books, commissioned or designed their covers.

This talk will introduce the life, book designs and legacy of Glasgow Style designer Talwin Morris (1865-1911). Art Director for publishers Blackie & Son from 1893, Morris became hugely influential in book design by moving away from the popular narrative bindings of the Victorian era to a more modern approach where Art Nouveau lines, curves and decoration are used to entice the reader. His output was prolific, producing many designs that could be printed in different colours across series such as the Red Letter Library and Library of Famous Books.

In Glasgow, Morris was closely associated with the artists and designers of the Glasgow School of Art. Although he never attended the School, he became firm friends with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries, and his own work quickly began to incorporate Glasgow Style motifs. In 1900 he joined Mackintosh to exhibit at the 8th Vienna Secession. In 1902, he introduced Mackintosh to Walter Blackie, which led to Mackintosh receiving the commission to design one of his most famous works: Hill House, outside Glasgow.

Morris retired through ill-health in 1909 and died in 1911 at just 45. His body lies in Dumbarton Cemetery, marked by a gravestone designed by his friend Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Duncan Chappell is currently Academic Liaison Librarian at Glasgow School of Art, where his role includes learning and teaching, research support, collection management and rare books and special collections. Recently he has been working on a project to digitise the GSA’s extensive collection of Talwin Morris bindings. Duncan has held a number of roles in the HE, FE, charity and museums sectors, having worked as Digital Librarian at City of Glasgow College, Digitisation Manager at the Scottish Civic Trust and at the libraries and archives of the National Portrait Gallery and London School of Economics.

There will be an opportunity to see examples of Talwin Morris's book cover designs from the University of Aberdeen's Special Collections at this event.

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The Sir Duncan Rice Library

Bedford Road

Aberdeen

AB24 3AA

United Kingdom

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