Terry Belanger

I-20: Book Illustration Processes to 1900
12-16 June 2006


1)   How useful were the pre-course readings?

1: Very useful, but Gascoigne takes several readings to understand more fully. Undoubtedly it will prove to be extremely helpful and useful to my continued work with prints. I loved Hults’ book. She is a fine writer. Many of the engravers’ names were unfamiliar to me, but many I did recognize as well! 2: Gascoigne is an invaluable all-in-one reference for would-be identifiers of illustration processes. I waded through almost all of it, tiredly by the end, and might have absorbed more if only I had started at the end (glossary, detective method section &c.) It was great to be able to turn to the one book for almost any question. P.S. I didn’t touch Hults -- too intimidating! Would have preferred a more manageable supplementary reader. 3: The pre-course readings were definitely needed to even begin to discuss or understand the course. 4: The pre-course readings were very helpful. Even though much of Gascoigne was confusing before the course, it will be interesting to note my gained knowledge when I read it again. It was helpful to have as a reference through the week. 5: Very. 6: The reading was necessary. A general understanding was essential to make sense of the class. 7: Very. Will continue to be so. 8: Gascoigne was good; involves a re-read after course. 9: Hults was dry and is best for people with no previous knowledge of prints (and art history!). 10: Very.


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

2: Syllabus: well-designed; good schematic drawings; useful to have Terry’s own notes in front of me for reference as we talked. And without a doubt the meticulously filed, prepared, and arranged packets -- accompanied by fascinating stories about provenance, &c. Were the key ingredient of the course. 3: Yes. 4: Yes. The workbook is wonderful, especially the bibliography and list of prints viewed in class. 5: Very. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, both. 8: Very appropriate. 9: Yes, and yes. Definitely. 10: Great bibliography.


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: Making the dry points, etchings, and linoleum cuts was extremely helpful. Love the classical music, too. Yes, but one really had to do the advance reading in order to take this class. Without reading Gascoigne beforehand, one would have been lost. 2: For me, everything I was seeing, touching, learning was new or unfamiliar, so I gained “most” from just drinking in the descriptions and characteristics of the different processes. The labs were a good break from that focused intellectual study time, although stimulating and educational in their own way, and I think, therefore, they were an indispensable part of the experience. The intellectual level was appropriate. Maybe it was a bit too advanced for me. 3: My main interest was to understand the print process better, to be able to work with the rare book and print collections more effectively. The intellectual level was appropriate. 4: It was particularly helpful to get a historical context for the processes. It was very useful and eye-opening to actually do some of these processes. 5: The intellectual level was very high. Looking at real examples was of the greatest interest for our purposes. 6: The packets we viewed were essential. It is amazing. The organization and number of packets we viewed was most helpful. The intellectual level was appropriate. 7: The labs were invaluable and also happened to be fun. Learning the processes through direct experience beats the pants off any description. 8: The practicals (labs) were of great interest. There’s nothing like doing it. 9: The past-1700 processes taught me the most that was new, but it was necessary to begin at the beginning. The amount I learned was shocking, considering what I thought I already knew! Yes, the level was quite appropriate, at least for me. 10: The labs had a return-to-elementary school feel, but they were tremendously helpful.


5)   What did you like best about the course?

1: I loved everything, but especially working with the original prints. It is the only way to learn, simply by looking, looking, looking, and looking again. 2: Actually taking a 10x/30x microscope to various (dozens of) printings and studying them with ongoing commentary about their tell-tale characteristics from someone who knows what he’s talking about. Such a visual field of study needs visual study aids, and I got more than my fill. The stories and vignettes about Terry’s and RBS’s acquisitions and experiences were also a good way to learn -- adding more to my knowlege just by listening was great! Also the lab. Doing it myself -- and seeing it work! 3: The chance to focus on the subject at hand without outside distraction, and under guidance of a knowledgeable teacher. 4: I enjoyed the frequent, individual access we had to closely study the prints. I liked the test, too. It caused one to think more critically about the material. 5: I loved peering through the 10x/30x at specific details of the prints. It was very revealing. 6: I enjoyed listening to and learning from the instructor. I also enjoyed all of our hands-on work experiences. 7: The labs, particularly the etchings. The vast supply of actual examples passing through our hands. 8: The practicals; the endless examples of types of illustrations discussed. 9: TB. 10: All the examples -- it is the best way to learn! Keep buying!


6)   How could the course have been improved?

1: Only one small suggestion... it took me a little while before I understood that all the bibliographical information about each packet was already in our workbooks. I was trying to catch and write down the information while using the packets when it had already been done for us. Just being able to write down the packet number was all that was needed. 2: This might have slowed things down, but I would have liked to have been subjected to some blind “So, what do you think this one is?” tests -- just to look back and synthesize and assimilate once in a while. Switching out my example packets with someone else might have made my understanding that much clearer. (Compare and contrast.) 3: There is certainly more material that could be covered more in depth, but time did not allow for it. 4: No improvements needed. Ideally it would be wonderful to have access to all or some images we reviewed but thankfully source titles were provided. 5: I think more discussion would improve the course. The students could’ve used some time to figure out some problems of identifying prints together. 6: I cannot think of any improvement. 8: No improvement on course necessary. However, a two hour break of an afternoon would have been useful, providing a break and a wander about Charlottesville environs. 9: Better scheduling -- in weeks without two heavily-illustrated classes, both should go smoother. It was not as much an annoyance for the students as for the instructors, however. 10: The snafu with the poaching packets slowed us down, but I’m sure this will never happen again.


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: Maybe a little larger table so we could look at the prints and take notes, too. 2: N/A. 4: I felt very comfortable with the handling of material. My own comfort level has increased, too -- another valuable thing gained. 5: Higher tables would improve our back pain. Bending to the table for 20x was uncomfortable, especially in the cramped conditions of the room. 6: Hard to do, but a little more space? 7: The materials seemed well-protected and we received plenty of pleas to be gentle. 9: See #6. 10: One student used an ink pen all week. Remind everyone to use pencil.


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

1: Yes. Both very well done and informative. BH’s PowerPoint presentation on Jane Eyre was very impressive academically and visually. 2: Sunday night, yes; a candid, vivid contextualization of what RBS is, does, is doing, and will do. Monday night was not as relevant to my area of interest, but it was a good way to learn about the RBS collection in a particular field. 3: I attended both and found them interesting. Sunday evening helped introduce RBS to me, giving a better understanding of the past and future. And the lecture on Eyre’s Heirs was interesting, too. 4: Yes, the Jane Eyre lecture was fascinating. 5: I was hoping for a better lecture on Monday. 7: Yes, to varying degrees the background TB provides is worthwhile. Attending Sunday’s lecture is a good way to settle in. 8: Both lectures were very good. The Sunday one is an excellent introduction contextualizing RBS and its development. 9: The Sunday night was quite a useful update by Terry on the (rather positive) current status of RBS. The Monday lecture was not as professional as many in the past and it could have benefitted from a more in-depth look at either the textual or bibliographical differences between Jane Eyre editions. 10: Yes, though not essential.

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

1: I enjoyed the Audubon books and Donald Jackson videos very much, especially Jackson’s calligraphic artistry. 2: Yes. I might have liked to be able to peruse the rest of the collection. “Alphabet: the Story of Writing” was fabulous! 3: Yes. There was some confusion on the Video Night program. 4: Yes, Video Night changed a bit, but all films were excellent. 5: I think the videos were not that great. I was too exhausted by that time to do more print-making thinking. 7: Yes, absolutely. Well, even if it were my money, I’d say so. 8: Found the small T.V. a little off-putting. 9: Yes, mainly in having the chance to discuss the library/museum’s collections with other students and teachers, especially material not in the class. 10: Well, Movie Night was a bit sloppy, but profitable.


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

1: Yes. I would recommend this course highly for anyone studying prints. 2: I very much did. Thank you! Advice: Read the book from the back; it’s like reading the study guide to a novel so you know what to look out for when you delve in. Confer with others on their examples and switch or trade when you can. It’s good to get another perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! 3: Most decidedly! It was a class that I had long wished to take and could recommend to others. 4: Yes, definitely. My head is swimming with information, but I look forward to reading through the list of “exit list” books (and doing some collection developing in my institutional library!) 5: This course was well worth the money. It was filled with information and experiences that I could not get elsewhere, and it is invaluable. A bigger and better table would really improve the class. 6: A general understanding of book illustration processes is essential. Had I been a bit better prepared, I would have retained more. A lot of material is covered, but with the high level of organization, we covered a lot of ground. I enjoyed TB’s demeanor and gained much from his considerable expertise. 8: Well worth the effort and costs. 9: Yes. For anyone with experience in parts of the period covered, it will be well worth their time to fill in the rest of the techniques, as well as the many reproductive techniques that masquerade as earlier prints. 10: Yes. I hope to return.

Number of respondents: 10


Leave                       Tuition                    Housing                   Travel

Institution                 Institution                 Institution                 Institution

gave me leave            paid tuition               paid housing              paid travel

90%                            70%                            70%                            60%

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

tion time                    tion myself                 own housing              travel

0%                              0%                              20%                            30%

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

10%                            30%                            10%                            10%

There were two rare book librarians (20%), two general librarians with some rare book duties (20%), one full-time student (10%), one museum employee who does not work in the library (10%), one art librarian (10%), one library paraprofessional with some rare book duties (10%), one curator (10%), and one art librarian on the Special Collections staff (10%).