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Book Arts Collection

A guide to discovering artists' books in the Book Arts Collection at Hill Memorial Library.

About Circle Press

Circle Press was established in 1967 by Ron King in England. If you search the catalog for Ron King, you will find work that he was directly involved with, but Circle Press produced more work than just that of Ron King. Under Circle Press, you will find exhibition catalogs and checklists, etc. as well as work by Roy Fisher, Keith Please, Willow Legg, and other artists.

The books of Circle Press range from traditional fine press books such as the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales to conceptual works like the Mirror Book. Playful pop ups, puppets, multi-color screenprints, embossings, and letterpress are just some of the elements to expect.

Circle Press website:
Ron King's website:

Selected Works by Circle Press

The Prologue from The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Prologue from The Canterbury tales; text based mainly on the Ellesmere MS.; original screen images printed by Ronald King. London, Editions Alecto, 1967.
PR1868 .P8 K5 1967 FLAT, Rare

Ron King's first artist's book illustrated with 20 screenprinted abstract "masks" that represent the major characters in The Prologue.

Bluebeard's Castle

King, Ron. Bluebeard's Castle. Guildford : Circle Press Publications, 1972.
N6797 .K56 A4 1972 FLAT, Rare

Based on the opera by Bartok, Ron King produced this first pop-up artist's book, which plays off of the idea of seven doors and seven secret chambers from the opera. The folios open up to reveal a sculptural pop up, sometimes referencing a stage, alongside Roy Fisher's printed poetry. Materials include screen printed color card stock papers, reflective papers, and metal pins.

King Lear

Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Guildford [Eng.]: Circle Press Publications, 1973.
PR2819 .A1 1973 FLAT, Rare

"Nine separate etchings inserted into ten unbound 4 pp sections with the full text of the play printed letterpress in 10 pt Baskerville on J. Green mould-made paper." --Publisher's description. Each portrait depicts King Lear's descent into madness.

Canga: Ten Hand-Colored Etchings

King, Ron. Canga: Ten Hand-Colored Etchings. England: Circle Press, 1976.
N7433.4 .K48 C36 1976 FLAT, Rare

The first of three intended volumes with 10 hand-colored etchings by Ronald King on the theme of a band of Brazilian ‘cangaçeiros’ of the ‘20s and ‘30s led by the notorious Lampião. Introduction by José Neistein.

Black Hole off Crete

Please, Keith. Black Hole Off Crete. Guildford: Circle Press, c1977.
PR6066 .L38 B57 1977 OVER, Rare

Circle Press often utilizes simple methods to turn a print into a book. In this instance, a panoramic screen printed image with poetry by Keith Please is folded into quarters. The center fold is sewn into a paper cover, creating a "gate-fold" structure.

Concrete poetry mimics embossing of map

Chesil Bank, South

Please, Keith. Chesil Bank, South. Surrey: Circle Press, 1980.
PR6066 .L38 C48 1980 OVER, Rare

Ron King often uses this seemingly simple pamphlet form to create a large variety of books for single poems, like this one. Here, an embossing made from an intaglio plate is paired with concrete poetry, set in lead type. The set type and embossing reference each other in shape.

Wire embossing of female figure lying down

Turn Over Darling --

King, Ron. Turn Over Darling --. England: Circle Press, 1990.
N7433.4 .K48 T87 1990, Rare

A series of 6 double-sided blind-embossed images printed from wire, which, when folded and juxtaposed in sequence, make eleven reclining nudes which change position from front to back view.

Circle Press has made this item digitally available:

Echo Book

King, Ron. Echo Book. London, England : Circle Press, c1994.
N7433.4 .K48 E23 1994X, Rare

"A small booklet with the words 'ECHO BOOK' printed in wire and blind-embossed to read 'BOOK ECHO' on the reverse of the page. The impression fades as the pages are turned in sequence... on Khadi handmade paper" --Artist's description.

Alphabeta Concertina Miniscule

King, Ron. Alphabeta Concertina Miniscule. Bosham, West Sussex, U.K.: Circle Press, 2007.
N7433.4 .K55 A55 2007, Rare

Single strip is folded accordion-style to form 54 page surfaces, on every two of which is formed, by cutting of the paper, a lower-case letter of the alphabet (a-m on one side of the strip, n-z on the other).

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