Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Coracle Press records
Date (inclusive): 1953-2013, bulk 1975-2008
123.4 linear feet
(235 boxes, 10 flatfile folders, 1 roll)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
Coracle Press records from 1953 to 2013 document the press's production of books, printed matter and exhibitions under the
direction of Simon Cutts.
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Language: Collection material is in English.
A unique English outgrowth of the 1960s European revolution in prints, books, and multiples, Coracle Press was founded in
London by artist-poet Simon Cutts in 1975, incorporating the remains of Tarasque Press (1964-1972), a prior publishing enterprise
of Cutts' (with Stuart Mills). In 1976 Cutts established Coracle Press Gallery in a building adjacent to the press, creating
a physical expression of his interest in the relationship between the book and the exhibition. Influenced by concrete poetry,
conceptual art, and their Futurist and Constructivist antecedents, Coracle dissolved distinctions between the art object and
its presentation. Every aspect of a Coracle exhibition (announcement, installation, catalog, poster) was conceived as part
of the art it presented and often involved the artist's collaboration, while a book of poetry was conceived as both an art
object and an exhibition space for poems. Thematically, the press had a certain focus on landscape and nature, exhibiting
and publishing Ian Hamilton Finlay and the Land Artists Richard Long and Andrew Goldsworthy. Richard Wilson, David Willets,
Stephen Duncalf, Hamish Fulton, and Cutts himself were among the otherwise more frequently exhibited and published artists,
though in the late 1980s the press's authors ranged to the more theoretical Joseph Kosuth.
Along with its own exhibition and publication program, Coracle served as a production and printing press for other arts organizations.
Cutts also partnered, co-directed, or otherwise collaborated with several presses and galleries, including, beginning in 1985,
Victoria Miro Gallery, the Florence location of which Cutts directed in the early nineties while living in Italy. In 1986,
Cutts established the Coracle Atlantic Foundation in Liverpool, and in 1987 Coracle Distribution. The Coracle Gallery in London
closed in 1987. From 1993-1997, while living in Norfolk, Cutts co-directed a London bookshop/gallery workfortheeyetodo that
emphasized an international conceptualism. Since 1997, Cutts and his partner Erica Van Horn have continued Coracle from Tipperary,
Ireland, returning to the press's earlier pastoral inclinations.
Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of unreformatted videotape, audio tapes and computer files.
Coracle Press records, 1953-2013, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 880024.
Acquired from Simon Cutts in several installments beginning in 1988. Series III.B. was a gift of Simon Cutts in 2012.
Coracle Press records were initially processed by Kelly Nipper 1994-1996. John Tain made a preliminary inventory in 1995.
In 2009 with grant funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), Laura Schroffel further processed
the collection and made a complete inventory under the supervision of Ann Harrison, while Annette Leddy helped devise the
arrangement and wrote the descriptive notes. This preliminary finding aid retains much of the original order of the collection,
including portions out of chronological sequence. When full cataloging occurs those materials will be integrated.
The processing of the collection is also preliminary. Certain materials in the collection should be monitored periodically
by Conservation. Boxes 41, 51, 55, 75, 102 and 131 contain commercial, non-archival albums or scrapbooks. Boxes 61 and 99
contain water-damaged material. During full processing and cataloging of the collection, the rubber stamps in boxes 113, 114
and 152 should be re-evaluated and possibly moved into cold-storage.
In 2012, Emmabeth Nanol, under the supervision of Ann Harrison, processed Series III.B., an addition with most materials relating
to projects from 2002 to 2008. In 2013, Ann Harrison processsed the addition of Series III.C.
Coracle Press books have been separated to the library, except for those under twelve pages long, annotated, or in pre-publication
Scope and Content of Collection
Coracle Press records, 1953-2013, document the artists' press and its exhibition space primarily during the years in England,
1975-1997. It also contains a small amount of material from Cutts's prior publishing enterprise, Tarasque Press, Nottingham,
as well as material from the present incarnation of Coracle in Ireland.
Each series in the archive is arranged into Artist/Author files and Project files. Within Series II and III are subseries
reflecting the consecutive shipments of material from Simon Cutts to the repository. Most of these subseries also have an
additional element, Other material. Note that different subseries may contain material related to the same artists and projects.
Artist/Author files comprise correspondence both personal and professional, along with the occasional multiple, artwork, poem,
photograph or printed matter. Many, but not all, of the artists represented in this series worked with Coracle. Among the
artists/poets most substantially represented are Roger Ackling, Thomas A. Clark, Tony Cragg, Chris Drury, Stephen Duncalf,
Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Bernard Lassus, Richard Long, Maurizio Nannucci, Yoko Terauchi, Richard Tuttle, Jonathan
Williams, and Richard Wilson.
Project files concern Coracle exhibitions and publications, and may include correspondence, paste-ups and printed ephemera,
installation maps, objects lists, computer files and financial records. Among the more fully documented projects are
Forty Shades of Green.
Other material includes correspondence with collectors, clippings about exhibitions, grant applications, and materials related
to Coracle's work as a production and printing press for museums, galleries, or other arts enterprises. There are also recordings
of poetry readings at Coracle. A portfolio of Coracle ephemera apparently assembled for prospective clients, such as the Serpentine
Gallery and Camden Arts Centre, offers an overview of the press's work. Projects produced in partnership with the Victoria
Miro Gallery and workfortheeyetodo are also amply documented.
Throughout the collection are more than forty multiples, including a child's plastic sand shovel, the handle of which is filled
with water and a toy fish that floats in it; twigs, twisted wire, and various other simple, found, altered, or otherwise construed
art objects, generally expressing a playful reverence for nature's tiniest details.
The collection is arranged in three series:
.Series I. Tarasque press, Nottingham, 1961-1977;
Series II. Coracle Press and Gallery in England, 1953-2008;
Series III. Coracle in Ireland, 1975-2013
Subjects - Topics
Book design--England--20th century
Poetry, Modern--20th century
Small presses--England--20th century
Genres and Forms of Material
Black-and-white prints (photographs)
Drawings (visual works)
Dummies (printed matter)
Mail art--20th century
Mechanicals (camera-ready copy)
Clark, Thomas A.
Cragg, Tony, 1949-
Cutts, Simon, 1944-
Drury, Chris, 1948-
Finlay, Ian Hamilton
Goldsworthy, Andy, 1956-
Long, Richard, 1945-
Nannucci, Maurizio, 1939-
Tuttle, Richard, 1941-
Van Horn, Erica
Victoria Miro Gallery
Williams, Jonathan, 1929-2008
Wilson, Richard, 1953-