Author Archives: Tom Kennett

Print Works: Forgotten Industry on the Isle of Thanet

Spring 2020 (online exhibition)
Curated by Appletye 

Print Works is a year-long project from Appletye, an arts and heritage organisation. The project explores the history of the print industry on the Isle of Thanet, taking inspiration from two former companies and the heritage of the sites they occupied at Thanet Press, Union Crescent, Margate and Martell Press, Northdown Road, Cliftonville. At the heart of the project are archives from the two Margate firms, recording the stories of the people who worked there and the work they did.

Special Collections & Archives has been working with Appletye – an artists’-led organisation based in Margate – to support their mission to record the Isle of Thanet’s rich printing heritage. A physical exhibition was planned for display in the Gallery in Spring 2020 but this has unfortunately been postponed as a result of COVID-19. In lieu of a physical display Appletye have created a series of blogs as a virtual equivalent, which will be posted to the SC&A blog – we hope you enjoy!

Politics in Wonderland: Sir John Tenniel at 200

10 February – 20 March 2020
Curated by Jo Baines and Tom Kennett (Special Collections & Archives)

John Tenniel's original illustration of Alice being attacked by the pack of cards (left) alongside a political cartoon by Nicholas Garland depicting Margaret Thatcher as Alice being assailed by 'world markets' (right).

This exhibition marks the bicentenary of the birth of illustrator and political cartoonist Sir John Tenniel (1820–1914) on 28 February.

For almost 40 years, Tenniel was the chief political cartoonist for Punch magazine, a Victorian publishing institution, producing classics of the genre such as ‘Dropping the Pilot’. Today, however, Tenniel is chiefly remembered for the illustrations he provided for Lewis Carroll’s ever popular and strange tales Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).

This exhibition celebrates Tenniel’s contribution to political cartooning in his own work for Punch and in the enduring influence his Alice illustrations have had on subsequent generations of political cartoonists. The exhibition features original cartoon artworks, cuttings and publications from the British Cartoon Archive by cartoonists including Nicholas Garland, Vicky, Strube and E H Shepard.

The exhibition accompanies a production of Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Dream Play, to be performed on Friday 21 February by the University Music department.

First performed in 1886, written by Henry Savile Clarke and with music by Walter Slaughter, the ‘dream play’ was overseen and authorised by Carroll himself, and was the only adaptation to be made with his approval. The production features some of Tenniel’s illustrations projected onto the stage, evoking the original atmosphere of the novel brought so vividly to life by Tenniel’s quirky, characterful images. Tickets are available on the Gulbenkian website.

Radical Roots & Dangerous Ideas: 50 Years of Gulbenkian

11 November 2019 – 31 January 2020
Curated by ART31

Previously exhibited in the Colyer-Fergusson building at the University of Kent and a satellite exhibition at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury, this exhibition celebrates 50 years of Gulbenkian and its place in the University and wider community. It draws on the University and Gulbenkian Archives to explore the radical beginnings of Gulbenkian.

Keep Smiling Through: Humour and the Second World War

9 September – 25 October 2019

KEM: “C’est encore ce sacre Churchill…” published in Le Petit Parisien, May 1940

Keep Smiling Through: British Humour and the Second World War explores the use of humour in cartoons, letters, books, ephemera and artefacts from the First and Second World Wars. This exhibition has been curated to support the symposium of the same title held here at the University of Kent on 12–13 September 2019 with the assistance of Special Collections & Archives’ inaugural exhibition interns.

Using the British Cartoon Archive’s extensive collection of cartoons, ephemera, letters, and artefacts, this exhibition explores how humour was used throughout the Second World War to discuss politics, military campaigns, and improve morale both on the front line and at home. It also explores how the British press portrayed other theatres of war. The exhibition offers an insight into the reactions of the British public and traces responses to the present day as contemporary cartoonists echo the iconography pioneered by 20th century artists. The archives of Carl Giles and KEM, held here at Kent, are showcased extensively – including films made by Giles for the Ministry of Information during the War.

Entry is (as always) free and the gallery is open during the Templeman Library’s opening hours. The exhibition runs until 25 October.