Friday, 9 June 2017


On Thursday afternoon I was lucky enough to help out in the British Institute Archives. After the success of the brilliant Forgotten Bookmarks exhibition in the library the team wanted to bring the exhibition to an online audience. To do this obviously required a lot of scanning to accurately reproduce the beautiful and delicate paper notes, letters, cards and clippings for the website, and I was more than happy to assist. 

After my morning Italian class I headed straight to the library. Here, behind a pair of white painted doors, I was introduced to the archives, a haven that contains years of history. Talking to Alison the Institute's Archivist I also discovered that the Institute holds an extensive collection of works by Edward Gordon Craig, a brilliant modernist theatre practitioner, which came as a rather wonderful surprise. It's incredible to think just how many creatives have been drawn to Florence over the years. Alison explained that Craig and his wife Dorothy Lees Neville lived in Florence and even founded a theatre magazine here called The Mask. After Craig left Italy, Dorothy continued on in Florence rescuing his archive from the Nazis before leaving his books and publications to the Institute. 

It was wonderful to be able to spend the day amidst such beautiful objects, hand-painted books, black and white photographs, and ornate letter-press fonts. Now I know about the Edward Gordon Craig collection I'm certain I'll be thinking of reasons to linger in the library archives more over the next month. Also watch out for the website write up of the Forgotten Bookmarks exhibition which will hopefully allow a closer look at the incredible documents found between the pages of the library books.