Erin Blake

I-10:Introduction to the History of Illustration
12-16 June 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Useful. I was not enlightened about illustration processes. 2: Very useful. 3: Useful. 4: Very useful. I would have liked even more on general print history as background. 5: I found the Ivins difficult to follow, but the title “Prints and Printmaking” in conjunction with “Introduction to New Bibliography” did illuminate the various technical aspects of book illustration so that I had at least a rudimentary understanding of processes. 6: The pre-class readings were useful in providing a background on printing techniques, but I found that looking at the prints themselves helped me more in understanding processes. Some readings in book illustration history would have been useful. 7: Very useful. Readings on illustration techniques were excellent background for the course and saved class time by allowing us to drive right into history.


2)   Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: I’m looking forward to receiving the list of materials we saw. 2:-4 Yes. 5: Yes, I will refer to my notes, the exit bibliography, and the suggested text in the future. 6: Yes. 7: Very appropriate and useful. A slightly more detailed time line (if possible, given the complex history of printing and illustration) might have helped.


3)   What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: Seeing and discussing many materials, time periods, illustrators, over several centuries. 2: The decision to teach the course using actual illustrations was very interesting and useful. It is helpful to see the illustration in context with the text. Yes, the intellectual level was appropriate. 3: Yes, the intellectual level of the course was appropriate. 19th and 20th century illustration. 4: I handle the full range of materials covered, so everything was useful. I was most interested in late 19th and early 20th arts and crafts style. 5: The content I was most interested in was 15-16th century as well as late 19th-earlier 20th century methods and artistry. The intellectual level of the class was challenging and stimulating. 7: It seemed like the intellectual level of the course was appropriate, although I think the class could have handled a bit more economic and social history. The areas of greatest interest for me were the 18th century of European and 19th century American innovations in illustration.


4)   If your course had field trips (including visits to the Dome Room, the McGregor Room, the hand printing presses in the Stettinius Gallery, the Etext Center, UVa’s Albert and Shirley Small Library, RBS’s Lower Tibet, &c.), were they effective?

2: Class was held in Special Collections. 3-7: N/A.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: Instructors, students, receptions. 2: The instructor was very engaging, knowledgeable and interesting and provided a very comfortable learning environment. 3: The tutor. 4: EB’s sense of humor, humility, and equal attention paid to all periods. While her specialty seemed to be 19th century British, she was enthusiastic about 15th, 20th and children’s illustration. 5: I liked looking at the examples up close. 6: I liked being able to look at many examples very close up. It enabled me to get a good sense for how books were made and how they were used. 7: Excellent balancing of many different facets of eight approaches to a complex subject. Extremely well-informed and prepared instructor who related to the entire class in a very engaging and thoughtful way.


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: Offering it more often, since this was the first time. 2: Perhaps a little more lecture content on trends and their social and cultural context. 3: More colored examples, perhaps? 4: More examples! I would definitely like to see the use of more high quality digital surrogates along with hands-in. We spent a lot of time sitting quietly and waiting while books were being set up and put away. 5: I would have enjoyed seeing more of the actual plates and woodcuts if available. 6: I would have liked more in-depth information on social or cultural history of book illustration -- how changes reflected/influenced how and why people bought/read books. 7: Again, if possible, a bit more on social, economic, and political history affected by and affecting book illustration through history. Also, perhaps a little more on scientific and ethnographic illustration. Methods were great. Some talk on changing reading list -- don’t think that’s necessary.


7)   We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa’s Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: Allow students in the course to handle UVa’s materials. I’m a professional, so were the students, and it was difficult to see, engage with, and learn from those titles. 2: Although the instructor handled the materials appropriately, it would have been much easier for her (and less time consuming) if she had had a full-time assistant to perform these duties for her, as I have seen in other RBS courses. 4: None. We were in Small Special Collections and the rules were very strict. 5: Perhaps we should wear gloves while handling the materials? [TERRY, I’m flagging this for you, TERRY. -hp] 6: I think collections were handled appropriately and respectively. [and yes, this person said respectively not respectfully. -hp]


8)   If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?

1: Yes. 2: Yes. 3-4: N/A. 5: Yes, they gave context to the course I was taking in relation to the mission of the school as a whole. 7: Yes, both.

9) If you attended evening events, was the time profitably spent?

1: Yes. 3-7: N/A.


10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?

1: Yes. I would recommend RBS (and have!) to my colleagues. 2: Yes. 3: Yes. To those considering taking this course: go for it. 4: Yes! EB’s first teaching experience was commendable. I am certain her next class will be greatly improved. 5: Yes, I got my money’s worth. 6: This class was great, and I think will continue to improve. It is definitely worth taking. 7: Yes.

Number of respondents: 7


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

86%                            57%                            71%                            43%

I took vaca-                I paid tui-                  I paid for my              I paid my own

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

14%                            14%                            14%                            57%

N/A: self-                   N/A: Self-                   N/A: stayed                N/A: lived

employed, re-             employed,                  with friends               nearby

tired, or had              retired, or                  or lived at

summers off              scholarship                home

0%                              29%                            14%                            0%

There were three rare book librarians (43%), one general librarian without rare book duties (14%), one antiquarian bookseller (14%), one conservator/binder/preservation librarian (14%), and one digital librarian with rare book duties (14%).