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Japanese art: a phase in colour prints

The State Library has acquired a beautiful edition of Percy Neville Barnett's Japanese art: a phase in colour prints.

Percy Neville Barnett (1881-1953) was an Australian author, book designer and authority on book-plates. Throughout his life he produced a number of small deluxe editions on the arts of print making and book plates. Many of these were years in the making and were published with hand coloured prints and book plates which he personally tipped into each volume. Each work was written, designed and published by Barnett and were printed by the Beacon Press using the highest quality materials he could find. Barnett was a great appreciator of the book as an objet d'art.

Barnett developed an interest in Japanese wood-block colour-prints in the 1930s. Japanese art: a phase in colour prints is just one of a number of books he produced on Japanese art during the 1930s and 1940s. Japanese art explores Barnett’s interest through a series of beautiful, tipped in, Japanese wood block prints. The prints within the book are drawn from the collections of the Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints and the Nihon Hanga Kenkyusho. The images depict the Japanese natural world and birds and Japanese flora are predominant. The prints are accompanied by Barnett’s text describing the art of wood-block prints and their place in Japanese art.

This volume is a welcome addition to the State Library’s existing holdings of Percy Neville Barnett’s works on bookprinting and Japanese art, which includes proofs of Barnett’s bookplates.

This particular volume is number 82 of a limited edition of 160 and can be found at HQ 2014/65.

Simon Cootes
Collection Development Librarian