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Ian Tyson Collection
MSS 0413  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Tyson, Ian
    Title: Ian Tyson Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1967 - 2006
    Extent: 26.40 linear feet (4 archives boxes and 112 oversize folders)
    Abstract: The Ian Tyson Collection contains book production materials for collaborations between Ian Tyson, British painter, printmaker and book artist, and prominent poets including Andrew Crozier, Larry Eigner, Wai-lim Yip, Jackson Mac Low, and Jerome Rothenberg. Materials include correspondence, manuscripts, page layouts, paste-ups, galley proofs, and Tyson's original artworks. Ian Tyson's books are the main focus in the collection and include A LINE THAT MAY BE CUT (1968), SIGHTINGS I-IX; AND, RED EASY A COLOR (1968), 17 HORSE SONGS OF FRANK MITCHELL, NOS. X-XII (1969), 23RD LIGHT POEM FOR LARRY EIGNER (1969), THE PRONOUNS (1971), NARRATIVES AND REAL THEATER PIECES (1977), HISTORY OF DADA AS MY MUSE (1982), SONGS FROM THE SOCIETY OF THE MYSTIC ANIMALS (1982), POEM: A CAST OF DICE NEVER CAN ANNUL CHANCE (1985), MILLENIUM (1988), SIX GEMATRIA (1992), SURIMONO 3 (1995), PAVAN (2002), VERT(ICAL) (2003), JARDIN DE V(IE) (2004), and SURIMONO 7, AFTER LI HO (2005).
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0413
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is available for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Ian Tyson Collection, MSS 0413. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    Ian Tyson was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, United Kingdom in April 1933. Tyson grew up in Upton, outside of Birkenhead, but spent much time as a child with his grandparents near Wigan. He attended school in Wigan during the World War II and later attended his father's old school. It was there he was introduced to modern art and creating expressive and abstract art. After graduating, he worked as an apprentice engineer in the shipyards for two years. He decided, though, that his future was not in engineering, and continued making artwork independently, determined to attend Birkhead School of Art, where he remained for about two years.
    In 1954, Tyson moved to London where he studied figure and life painting at the Royal Academy Schools for four years, in addition to attending etching and lithography evening classes. He then took a position in the printmaking department at the Camberwell School of Art and Craft, then about a year later, taught lithography at the Farmham School of Art from 1959-1966. His first solo show was in 1958-59 at the 1957 Gallery in Edinburgh. It was at Farnham where he met Ron King and in 1967 when King formed Circle Press, he joined him and started screenprinting. Shortly thereafter, he met Jerome Rothenberg through Stuart Montgomery of Fulcrum Press. When Rothenberg saw Tyson's visual interpretations of poetry he suggested one of his poems, which led to the first collaboration between the two and the second publication of Circle Press, SIGHTINGS I-IX & RED EASY A COLOR (1968).
    In 1970, Tyson founded his own press in London, Tetrad Press, where he worked with contemporary artists and poets including Jackson Mac Low, Tom Phillips, Roy Fisher, and Larry Eigner. During this time, he created visual interpretations of his own texts including LETTERS FROM THE BLACK PALACE I-III (1971) and STANZA FROM THE GRAVE (1972). In addition to his printmaking and book works, he also created paintings and sculptures. Tyson operated Tetrad Press until 1995, whereupon he started ED.IT Press at his home in France.
    He was a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art (1984), the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1969) and the University of California, San Diego (1992), and a Brinkley Fellow at the Norwich School of Art (1979-1980).
    While he has continued to produced books arts and prints, he also has increasingly engaged in sculpture. Permanent installations of his sculptures are located in Drome and Séguret, France; London; and the University of East Anglia. In the course of his career, he has been featured in more than 32 solo exhibitions and 44 group exhibitions and his work can be found in more than three dozen public collections across North American and Europe.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Accessions Processed in 1997
    The Ian Tyson Collection contains original artwork, manuscripts, page layouts, paste-ups, galley proofs, and correspondence for book collaborations with Larry Eigner, Jackson Mac Low, Jerome Rothenberg, and Wai-lim Yip. The collection is arranged into one series: 1) BOOK COLLABORATIONS.
    Accession Processed in 2004
    The accession processed in 2004, spanning from 1966 to 2001, contains preliminary artworks by Ian Tyson and documents the work process for the publications of artist's books by Ian Tyson and Ian Tyson with others. The materials include original drawings, drafts, layouts, paste-ups, proofs, and working mock-ups, as well as correspondence with authors and publishers that includes enclosures of manuscripts and typescripts. The collection is arranged into two series: 2) BOOK COLLABORATIONS and 3) BOOKS BY TYSON.
    Tyson's collaborations with notable poets and writers of the 20th century include Lawrence Eigner, English poet Roy Fisher, Jean-Yves Mock, British artist Tom Phillips, poet and critic Kevin Power, American poet Jerome Rothenberg, and poet and critic Wai-lim Yip. This collection details the exchange of ideas, conceptual planning, and specifications and directions between the printmakers, poets and artists. The materials are arranged alphabetically by author.
    Tyson has collaborated with unique presses around the world publishing limited edition artist's books. This collection documents the many aspects of contemporary and traditional printing and includes handset type, various types of print methods as screen, linocut, woodblock, lithography, and etching and drypoint. The collection also includes his handmade papers, bookbinding and box making. Tyson has both contributed and represented the fine print presses in exhibitions at many libraries, art galleries and museums around the world; in London, the Circle Press and Tetrad Press, and print presses in Amsterdam, France, and New York.
    Tyson's own publications, spans from 1966 to 1994, and demonstrates his wide-ranging skills of painting, drawing, printmaking, fine letterpress printing, writing, poetry, and book arts. Represented in this accession are SIX EXTRACTS FROM THE ZENRINKUSHU WITH DECORATIONS (1966), LETTERS FROM THE BLACK PALACE I-IIII (1971), STANZAS OF THE GRAVE (1972), SCREENS I-XIV (1976), NEW ART OF SHADOW (1978), APPROVAL STAMP OFFER (197-?), NOTES FROM A RURAL REGION (1979/1980), ZEN - ALISSPRLICHE DER ZEN MEISTER (1981), SEASONS-AFTER THOMSON (1984), POEM: A CAST OF DICE NEVER SHALL ANNUL CHANCE (1985), SAPERAUDE-BEANTWORTUNG DER FRAGE: WAS IST ALIFKLARUNG (1987), LIFE AND TIMES OF BABY WOOJAMS (1993?), and ZEN STORIES (1994).
    Additional materials and related works mentioned in the previous accessions are also included in this accession, namely the collaborations with Larry Eigner, Jerome Rothenberg and Wai-lim Yip.
    Accession processed in 2008
    The accession processed in 2008 contains prelimininary production materials for the publication of additional artist's books by Ian Tyson and his collaborations with others. The materials include original drawings, typescript drafts, layouts, paste-ups, and in-progress mock-ups, in addition to correspondence with authors and publishers dating from 1968-2006. The collection is arranged in three series: 4) BOOK COLLABORATIONS, 5) BOOKS BY TYSON, and 6) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    Tyson's collaborations with notable poets and writers such as Jerome Rothenberg, Jackson Mac Low, and Larry Eigner are well represented in the collection and include recent collaborations for new works. The collection continues to document the exchanging of ideas, concepts, and preliminary design directions between the printmakers, poets, and artists. The files contain correspondence discussing layout and composition, typescript drafts with annotations, and working proofs of design elements. The folders are arranged alphabetically by name of collaborator, then chronologically by date of publication.
    The BOOKS BY TYSON series dates from 1973 to 2005, and includes the preprint maquettes, mock-up booklets, preliminary layouts, and drafts of text. The most prominent book material appearing in the series is from POEM: CAST OF DICE NEVER CAN ANNUL CHANCE (1985) with pre-production research items consisting of reproductions of the original Stephen Mallarmé poem, poem drafts by Ian Tyson, and hand inked text layouts. The series also includes the mock-up booklets and layouts for more recent publications, including PAVAN (2002), VERT(ICAL) (2003), T (2003), and JARDIN DE V(IE) (2004). The books are arranged chronologically by date of publication.
    The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains non-book production items including exhibition materials in the form of posters, an interview with Ian Tyson by Pat Gilmour of the Tate Gallery, and slides of Ian Tyson's art work and exhibition views.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Tyson, Ian -- Archives
    Book designers -- Great Britain -- Biography
    Artists -- Great Britain -- Biography
    Book design
    Artists' books.


    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- correspondent
    Yip, Wai-lim, -- correspondent
    Mac Low, Jackson, -- correspondent
    Eigner, Larry, 1927- -- Line that may be cut
    Yip, Wai-lim. -- Surimono
    Mac Low, Jackson. -- Pronouns
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Millenium
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Narratives and real theater pieces
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Sightings I-IX
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Red easy a color
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Six gematria
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Songs from the society of the mystic animals
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Variation on the 17 horse songs of Frank Mitchell
    Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Variations on the 13th horse song of Frank Mitchell
    Fisher, Roy, 1930- -- Metamorphoses
    Fisher, Roy, 1930- -- Cultures
    Mock, Jean-Yves, 1928- -- Metamorphoses
    Phillips, Tom, 1937- -- Birth of art
    Phillips, Tom, 1937- -- Ein Deutsches Requiem, after Brahms
    Phillips, Tom, 1937- -- Humument
    Power, Kevin -- Work in progress
    Power, Kevin -- De Morandi
    Power, Kevin -- Heidegger my way and scarcely
    Power, Kevin -- Work in progress II