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 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
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
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
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.
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.
Existence and Location of Copies
In 2017 the born digital materials were made available online on-site only: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/880024bd.
Coracle Press books have been separated to the library, except for those under twelve pages
long, annotated, or in pre-publication production stages.
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
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,
Subjects - Topics
Concrete poetry -- England -- Exhibitions
Poetry, Modern -- 20th century
Small presses -- England -- 20th century
Book design -- England -- 20th century
Genres and Forms of Material
Drawings (visual works)
Black-and-white prints (photographs)
Mechanicals (camera-ready copy)
Dummies (printed matter)
Mail art -- 20th century
Clark, Thomas A.
Van Horn, Erica
Victoria Miro Gallery
Finlay, Ian Hamilton