An exhibition showcasing the works of the late artist and writer Rigby Graham (1931-2015) is on display at the University of Leicester

Running until 27th May, the exhibition, which is open to the public, contains limited edition books, pamphlets and postcards illustrated by Rigby Graham, who spent most of his life living and working in Leicester and has been described as one of the most important landscape and topographical painters of the late twentieth century. 

Dr Simon Dixon, Archives and Special Collections Manager from the University of Leicester Library, said: “We don’t usually think of books as being works of art in their own right, but Leicestershire was the home of a flourishing network of private presses during the twentieth century. The books were carefully typeset by hand, with the paper and bindings often handcrafted as well. 

“Among the highlights of the exhibition is the University Library’s copy of Rigby Graham’s Leicestershire, one of the great topographical works of the late 20th century. We’re also displaying the complete run of Fishpaste, ‘the postcard review of art and letters’. Printed on the type of postcards you’d usually find displayed in newsagents’ windows, Fishpaste is now highly collectable and a testament to the spirit, enthusiasm and humour of the private press movement.” 

In the 60s and 70s Graham developed a career as a book illustrator and writer, and became one of the driving forces in the Leicestershire private press movement. 

He was responsible for more than 300 books, for which he sometimes made the paper and bindings himself. 

In 2008 the University of Leicester awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. 

Rigby Graham’s landscapes were influenced by English neo- romantics such as John Piper, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland, and 19th-century figures including Turner, Gainsborough and Cotman. 

Among the presses represented in this exhibition are the Orpheus Press, Brewhouse Press, and New Broom Press. 

The works displayed illustrate the craftsmanship, enthusiasm and love of books that were hallmarks of the Leicestershire private press movement. 

This exhibition uses books and pamphlets from Special Collections to showcase Rigby Graham’s work as a book illustrator and publisher.


For more information visit the Special Collections website: