The One and Only Beautiful Book: 1st year zines illustrating the works of Geoffrey Chaucer

Based on a recent trip to a National Library of Scotland exhibition, our Stage 1 students recently designed and printed their own books illustrating selected texts by the great Geoffrey Chaucer. ‘Beautiful Books’, which runs at the National until 3rd March, features illustrated texts from 19th and 20th Century, ‘ edition of Chaucer’s tales, alongside ‘La Hypnerotomachia’ (considered by many as the achievement in publishing of the Renaissance), were the focus of the exhibition.

1st year students used the artefacts of this exhibition as a starting point to examine the history of the book. Students were encouraged to engage with the books on a multi-sensory level, exploring the nature of print and the 3D and considering the effect of an original vs. a facsimile or screen.

In the printworkshop, each student then responded to Chaucer’s ‘Cantebury Tales’, creating a book of their own using relief and monoprinting processes. The results were a strange and uncanny blend of the contemporary and the traditional. Have a look below!

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