Book Arts

The Book Arts can go back to illuminated manuscripts, as examples of illustrated books. Later important illustrated books are the Livre d’artiste and modern illustrated book and Private press.

Rare Books holds around 350 artists’ books,  the majority of which are Australian made with many created  by Melbourne artists. Artists’ books are usually handmade and are  published in small editions over which the artist maintains control over the  production of the work. As such, they are varied in form and may include  foldouts, be unbound sheets presented in a box, scrolls or traditionally bound. We also hold materials associated with the production of Artists’ Books such as preliminary notes, sketches, plans, wood or lino cuts etc. The aim being to be able to present these with the finished artwork to demonstrate the steps in the creative process.

The collection aims to demonstrate the history and development of Book Arts both within Australia and Internationally. we hold examples of livre d'artiste, Russian constructivism and futurism.

The Gerard Vaughan, Ray Wilson and Ian Brown collections of art, design and architecture reference books has added significantly to our holdings on art.

Access and Availability

Material in the Australiana Collections may be  accessed through the Cultural Collections Reading Room in the Baillieu Library. Requests for material can be made online prior to visiting the reading room. To request material, please use the Aeon request management application.