Exhibits 2016-2020

Winter 2020-2021 Unusual Christmas Cards Display

For many years in the past Father Damian Kearney would spend the end of Thanksgiving vacation decorating the wall display case in the Burden classroom lobby with unusual Christmas cards which he had saved from his students who had sent them from near and far. One year I did the same in the display case within the library. I decided to redo the theme of that display this year and found a number of my cards were from artistic faculty members. I have put the original design cards of Virginia Stone, a  former art faculty member and John Fulweiler, head of our art department and an original  card from Marianne Pickett,  a 14 year library assistant in the case. There are Asian holiday cards from students, and one from the Naval Academy from one of our military graduates. Other are just interesting graphically or are of the more current “pop up’ variety. A number are from the Bodleian Library collection. One, a triptych, has the “Madonna and Child, with Saint Peter, Nicholas, Benedict and Mark”,  the (Friar Altarpiece) By Bellini from Santa Maria Gloriosa del Friar, Venice.                             (R.S)

Winter 2019-2020 Happy New Year- Change Your Calendar

Each January 1 we get out a new calendar for the New Year. What are the history and options for them? There are various types, solar, semi-solar lunar, or seasonal.  We use a Gregorian calendar based on the Justinian one just before it and the Roman before that. Our month’s names come from that classical period. Also, this is a leap year – so happy 366th day at the end of February. January 25 is Chinese New year with its horoscope calendar of animals and traits. The information for the “What year were you born? ” part of the display covers our student’s birth years. There is a Mayan calendar and Inuit calendar, a Muslim calendar, a Druid one a Liturgical one and a Hebrew calendar. Happy New Year! Stop by the library to learn more. (RS)

Winter 2019-2020 Christmas Creches Voting Results

Over eighty members of the Portsmouth Abbey community voted for their favorite creche. The top five were selected from twenty-seven on display in the library.

1st Place    (9 votes)

Winning-Creche-scaled.jpg
“The Ultimate Christmas Pop-up”

Written by Christine Deverell Paper Engineering by Tim Bullock Illustrated by Richard James Deverell Designed by Julian Deverell

2nd Place       Three-way tie (8 votes each)

5th Place  (7 votes)

“Il Presepio”    by Emanuele Luzzati
Thank you to everyone who voted!   (MFV)

Winter 2019-2020 Christmas Pop-Up Creches

During this Christmas season were we again able to borrow the pop-up book Christmas book collection of Father Matthew Powell, O.P. This time 27 of them were numbered and put on display for our visitors to vote on a favorite. They were placed on a table in the foyer, in the display case around the catalog computers and above them and on a bookcase at the circulation desk. Voting will end on January 8, 2020 when we return to classes  just after the Epiphany. Father Powell is the author of the book The Christmas creche, Treasure of faith, art & theater.  The pop-ups  represent many styles including  Victorian William Morris design, stark all white modern, High Renaissance with towering columns around the manger scene, carousel styles that tell the story as they are rotated, Medieval nighttime scenes, a NY city scene and the creche in the Vatican courtyard. There are different languages;  Italian, Spanish, French, and German,  reinforcing that  the manger and Christ child are  universal symbols of our faith. For a more detailed description of the history and creation of this artistic form see the PAS library exhibits page for “Winter 2004-2005”, where Father Powell wrote commentaries on these artistic paper nativities. He also has a beautiful web site here . Check it out. Merry Christmas!        (R.S)

Original Winter   2004-2005 exhibit

During December 2004, the exhibit is a display of 30 or so paper nativities loaned from the collection of Father Matthew Powell, O.P. of Providence College. The collection of displayed in the foyer of the Burden Classroom building and in the school library. Father Matthew wrote the detailed history (below) of pop-up books and paper nativities that accompanies the collection. PAPER NATIVITIES Three-dimensional paper nativity scenes originated in Germany and Austria in the early 1800s. They became the Christmas crèches of the poor who could not afford expensive hand carved figures. The perfection of the color printing process made paper nativities inexpensive to produce. The printing of paper nativities spread to Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic) and then to the rest of Europe and North America. During Advent peddlers often went from door to door selling sheets of nativity figures. Some printing companies had as many as 200 different figures available. Color printed figures were the more expensive. Figures printed in black and white were less expensive and needed to be hand colored, which was usually the job of the children. The development of mass-produced molded nativity figures in plaster and plastic in the twentieth century made the paper nativity scene less popular. POP-UP BOOKS Movable books actually predate the invention of the printing press. The earliest examples are the works of Ramon Llull (c1235-1316) of Majorca, a Catalan mystic and poet whose works contained volvelles or revolving discs, which he used to explain his complex philosophical ideas. First designed for adults, movable books used flaps, gatefolds and volvelles and served as instructional tools as well as instruments. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that movable books were designed especially for children. That first book was Harlequinade (1765) by London printer and bookseller Robert Sayer. The industrial revolution brought with it a moneyed, leisure class that indulged its children. In addition color printing was perfected in Germany and the hand labor necessary to assemble the movable parts was cheap. The latter part of the 19th century was the golden age of pop-ups because of the increase in the number and quality of movable books produced. They were translated into many languages, producing a world-wide audience. German paper engineer, Lothar Meggendorfer, invented the use of a rivet around which a figure could move when a tab was pulled. The first true “pop-up,” an illustration which jumps up when the page is opened, was invented by S. Louis Giraud and Theodore Brown in 1929 in England. However, the term “pop- up” was not used until the 1930’s when it was copyrighted by Blue Ribbon Press of Chicago. Few pop-ups were produced during World War II because of the shortage of both paper and labor. In the 1960’s, an English advertising entrepreneur, Waldo Hunt, discovered the work of Czech artist and paper engineer, Vojtech Kubasta (1914-1992). Hunt’s company, Graphics International, introduced Kubasta to the West and began producing pop-ups of its own. Hunt later teamed up with Bennett Cerf of Random House to create a pop-up series. Now between 200 and 300 new pop-up books for both children and adults are produced in English each year. The largest collection of pop-up books is the Gustine Courson Weaver Collection at the University of North Texas Library.                (R.S)

Fall 2019- 100th Anniversary of the Monastery

During the fall of 2019 the library display case was used to highlight the 100th anniversary of the Portsmouth Priory monastery, June 25, 1919. Included are photographs of the prominent religious who the founded the Community, and served in its primary roles, among them Father Leonard Sargent, O.S. B., and Abbot Matthew Stark, O.S.B. Also included were pictures of the original farm site, the Manor house, called Manor Hall, original boathouse, gates and cottages and the first chapel and altar. From its rural contemplative origins the community decided to have as it’s mission, serving as a priory school.  The first class, (Sept 28, 1926), of 18 boy students is shown.                   (R.S)

Spring 2019- Mark Summers’ Author Art

Throughout April and May, the library showcased the work of Mark Summers, an artist who creates sketches of famous authors. For over 35 years, Mr. Summers has dedicated his career to a scratchboard technique, a style distinguished by a dense network of lines etched with exquisite precision. Mark’s career started off primarily in the newspaper industry, with clients like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but quickly moved into all forms of publication. He has worked for every major magazine, and has contributed work for Rolling Stone, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated and done numerous covers for Time. He is best remembered for his decade long collaboration with Barnes and Noble, where he created the visual persona of their stores, doing portraits of famous authors that decorated their walls. Mr. Summers has also designed and published 16 stamps for the United States Postal Service, as well as The Royal Mail and Canada Post. Authors Edna Ferber, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and James A. Michener are among those shown on these stamps. He lives in Watertown, Ontario Canada with his wife and daughter.   (Source: www.marksummers.myportfolio.com)Our display featured magazine articles and illustrations, Barnes and Noble prints, and stamps. (MFV)

Winter 2018- 2019- Advent – Works of Ade De Bethune

Our new library display celebrates the on-site works of the first female teacher at Portsmouth, (then known as the Priory), Miss Ade De Bethune, 1914-2002. She is believed to be the longest living monastic oblate. Her liturgical art works include prints, a newspaper masthead for the Catholic Worker done in 1933 which is still used, an advent calendar and gift items for her St. Leo’s shop in Newport, banners for Advent named “Maria Orans with Christ Child” (mounted in our church as seen above), banners of the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy (mounted in library), and many woodcuts. As a crowning achievement, unrelated to art, in 2002 she opened Star of the Sea, an elder friendly housing building which was a refurbished former estate and convent on “the Point” in Newport. She had worked for many years to raise the funding for the project. She was buried in the Abbey cemetery in 2002. (R.S)

Spring 2018- Usual and Unusual Items in the collection

This display featured items of an unusual size or design in the library collection. Especially prominent is a book, in leaves, that is an antique religious Thai manuscript from the 1800s. It was donated by Christopher Ogden, class of 1962, in memory of Father Damian Kearney, O.S.B. Class of 1945, his teacher while he was at the school. It depicts a monk and beautiful illustrations that are hand painted with gold leaf. The text is calligraphy. (R.S)

Fall 2017- Book as Art, Art as Book

This display was a graphic illustration of exceptional artwork used to create and be included in the creation of a book. In the case were original art books by Judi Israel and a “tunnel” cutwork book (papercutting) called Scherenschnitte entitled “Let it snow” by Marie-Helene Grabman. Particularly interesting illustrated covers were also included. (R.S)

Spring 2017- Prints made on school printing press from found plates from 1940s to 1960s

During the winter the Library director found a box of old copper printing press plates. They were cleaned and, using the art department printing press, Library assistant and artist Isabella Cassleman and Art teacher Kevin Calisto printed them. One of the more interesting pieces in the case is a subscription offering by E. Euphemia, “Effie” Charlton Fortune (1885-1969) for the Monterey Guild. In 1942 the artist moved the Monterey Guild to Kansas City and in 1944 she moved the Monterey Guild to Portsmouth, R.I. at Portsmouth Priory where she taught. Then in 1953 she moved the Guild back to Kansas City. She served as artist-in-residence at Portsmouth Priory (now Portsmouth Abbey School) in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and designed the tabernacle that now resides in the Abbey’s Church of St. Gregory the Great. She had made a plate of the description of the Church Tabernacle altar located in the church, offering an 18 inch high piece for sale, (price on request), as a subscription, through the Monterey guild. Included  in the case is the print of a very early prize day invitation (from either 1931, 1936, 1942, 1953 or 1964), a print of the monastery building with it’s bell and a print of a cross (monstrance) she designed for the monastery. There are other works of the artist on the campus, two sculptures of Christ on the cross on a pole with two standing prayerful figures on each side. Miss Fortune is believed to have been at the school from about 1945-1950. Photos show her with the  faculty in 1949 with one of her more famous painting behind the group. We are grateful to Eileen McGuire for purchasing Colors and Impressions :The early years work of E. Charlton Fortune, Monterey Peninsula Museum Exhibition, Sept 23-1989-1990 and E. Charlton Fortune 1885-1969, from the Carmel Art Association , which created it for an exhibition of Fortune’s work, Aug 2-Sept 5, 2001. Eileen also purchased a video (VHS) which we have.  (R.S)

Winter 2016-2017- Christmas Cards Commissioned by the Monastery and School

For the holiday display an assortment of professionally produced Portsmouth Abbey Christmas Cards were on display. For many years the Monastery produced a plain card with an appropriate religious or serious literary holiday message (usually done in red or green calligraphy) and with no art work. Later, art work was added when the development office began to produce cards with Abbey scenes for the administration and monastery to send. These depictions were usually works created  from views around campus or ones done by a student or alumnus.   (R.S)

Spring 2016- 400th Anniversary of Death of Shakespeare

April 23, 2016 is the 400th Anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. Father Damian Kearney, ’45, former head of the English Department, has prepared a display of Shakespeare photos, posters, books (including a facsimile of the first folio) and items related to the great bard. Father taught the plays for many years and continues to listen to and watches the various productions with enjoyment. Among the items in the hallway cases are the 1899 theatre program of Hamlet with female Sarah Burnhart playing Hamlet, an original 1919 program of Hamlet and an original 1922 program book from the Harris Theatre with John Barrymore as Hamlet. These are part of a monastery collection from now deceased, Brother Basil Cunningham. At present the library holds over 140 DVDS of Shakespeare’s plays. The hall display cases held additional three dimensional objects which the wall held posters, maps and pictorial representations . (R.S)