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Campbell, Ken, 1939–2022
Ken Campbell archive, 1975-2003.
Physical Description:
30 linear feet
Rare Books and Manuscripts
MSS 25 (In Process)
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Ken Campbell
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Additional archival material about Ken Campbell can be found in the British Library Sound Archives.
This collection is unprocessed and may not be available for immediate access.
Born in 1939, artist and poet Ken Campbell trained as a letterpress printer and then as a graphic designer in the early 1960s at the London College of Printing. Campbell has taught graphic design, typography, and the "visual display of language" at art schools in Britain, Canada and the United States since 1966, but the focus of his work has been artist's books since the mid-1970s. He believes that the turning point in his career came when he finished Father's Hook (1977), a poetic tribute to his dock-working father.
Ken Campbell writes, designs and prints his books by letterpress, with the occasional use of etching, embossing, hand work and, latterly, digital techniques. Campbell's unconventional materials and methods contradict the traditional letterpress printing technique that Campbell employs to make his books. Pages are often run through the press multiple times, saturating the sheets with printer's ink. His printing combines use of conventional type with printer's ornaments, rules and borders, and materials such as wood, linoleum, and torn and cut pieces of metal. The effect of his work has been described as "darkness shot through with light." In his own words, he aims to "find the form of the book on the bed of the press during its making; while texts, images and procedures find appropriate dramatic weight in the improvised final work."
Since 1975 Ken Campbell has created two dozen artists' books. He has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums and in 2009 he was invited to speak about his work at the Library of Congress. Complete sets of Campbell's works are represented in the collections of the British Library, the Herzog-August Bibliothek, the Rare Books Division of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and the Yale Center for British Art.
The collection spans the years 1975-2003 and reveals Ken Campbell's creative process throughout his career as a book artist. The bulk of the collection contains Ken Campbell's artist book materials and separate prints which relate to several of his books. Proofs, extra sheets, letterpress forms, zinc etching plates, photographs, negatives and dummies document Campbell's creative process.
The collection also includes materials about Campbell's unpublished book Dear Judas. Also in the collection are photographic materials documenting the production and installation of two sculpture works, Bibliophagy and A M O R O M A (I love Rome or the scent of love).
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, invitations, postcards and prospectuses, writings about Campbell or writings contributed in part by Campbell. Also of note are a collection of audio cassette tape recordings and the transcript from Campbell's interview with National Life Stories. Campbell's discussion of his life and work in this interview served as a foundation for an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, The Word Returned
The collection is arranged into six series: I. Artist Book Materials ; II. Sculpture Materials ; III. Separate Prints ; IV. Exhibition Materials ; V: Miscellaneous Printed Materials ; VI: Miscellaeous Correspondence. Parts of the collection vary in size and are stored separately.
Subject Terms:
Ackroyd, Norman, 1938-
Art -- Interviews.
Artists -- Great Britain.
Artists' books -- Exhibitions.
Artists' books -- Great Britain.
Beardsmore Gallery (London, England)
Benveniste, Asa.
Book as Art (Exhibition)
Brighton Polytechnic. Gallery.
British Library. National Sound Archive.
Buchhandlung Hugo Frick.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Amoroma (I love Rome or the scent of love)
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Bibliophagy.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Broken rules and double crosses.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Dear Judas.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Execution.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Father's garden.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Father's hook.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Firedogs.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. In the door stands a jar.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Knife romance.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Martyrs.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Night feet on earth.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Pantheon.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Skute awabo (Awabo Skute)
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Ten years of Uzbekistan.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Terror, terror.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Tilt, the black-flagged streets.
Campbell, Ken, 1939-2022. Word returned.
Catling, B. (Brian)
Chambers, David, 1930-
Courtney, Cathy.
Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962.
Drucker, Johanna, 1952-
Esteve-Coll, Elizabeth.
Ferguson, Joan P. S.
Free Church of Scotland.
Greenham, Peter, 1909-1992.
Herzog August Bibliothek.
Inner London Education Authority.
King, David, 1943-
Letterpress printing.
MacLeod, Morag.
Modern Art Oxford.
Museum of Modern Art (Oxford, England)
National Art Library (Great Britain)
New York Public Library.
Norwich School of Art.
Norwich School of Art. Gallery.
Petro, Pamela, 1960-
Poetry and the arts.
Poets, English.
Rodchenko, Aleksandr Mikhaĭlovich, 1891-1956.
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
Sculptors -- Great Britain.
Sculpture -- Great Britain.
University College of Wales (Aberystwyth, Wales). Arts Centre.
University of Edinburgh. Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies.
Victoria and Albert Museum.
Wallrich, Lawrence Allen, 1929-1993.
Artists' books (books)
Artists' proofs.
Book designers' mock-ups (Publishing)
Book objects.
Digital prints.
Etchings (prints)
Exhibition catalogs.
Forms (type composition equipment)
Greeting cards.
Oral histories (literary genre)
Printing plates.

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