Image, Knife, Gluepot: Open access book

While this title technically falls outside the period generally covered in this blog, the topic is nevertheless of interest to those concerned with paper and materiality. Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print by Kathryn M Rudy explores how manuscript pages and fragments travel through time.

In her introduction, “Hybrid Books in Flux”, Rudy opens with the following provocation:

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque are credited with having invented Synthetic Cubism when they pasted newspaper, wallpaper, and rope to the surfaces of images. They then wrote words, or parts of words, painted, and made marks on the surfaces of their multi-media objects …  Although their Synthetic Cubism is anthologised in art history books as being avant-garde and crossing borders by introducing printed paper into a high-culture form of production, in fact these features were already present in the fifteenth century, when book makers were cutting and pasting printed images into new arrangements, applying paint and ink that would connect the various pasted layers, and creating fictive frames around physical scraps.

More from the publisher’s website:

“In this ingenious study, Kathryn Rudy takes the reader on a journey to trace the birth, life and afterlife of a Netherlandish book of hours made in 1500. Image, Knife, and Gluepot painstakingly reconstructs the process by which this manuscript was created and discusses its significance as a text at the forefront of fifteenth-century book production, when the invention of mechanically-produced images led to the creation of new multimedia objects. Rudy then travels to the nineteenth century to examine the phenomenon of manuscript books being pillaged for their prints and drawings: she has diligently tracked down the dismembered parts of this book of hours for the first time. Image, Knife, and Gluepot also documents Rudy’s twenty-first-century research process, as she hunts through archives while grappling with the logistics and occasionally the limits of academic research”.

The book is available for purchase in various formats (including a high quality hardback) and can also be downloaded as a PDF or viewed in HTML.


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