Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding aid for the Coracle Press records, 1953-2013
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (210.03 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Coracle Press records
    Date (inclusive): 1953-2013, bulk 1975-2008
    Number: 880024
    Creator/Collector: Coracle Press
    Physical Description: 123.4 linear feet (235 boxes, 10 flatfile folders, 1 roll)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Coracle Press records from 1953 to 2013 document the press's production of books, printed matter and exhibitions under the direction of Simon Cutts.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    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.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of unreformatted videotape, audio tapes and computer files.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Coracle Press records, 1953-2013, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 880024.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Simon Cutts in several installments beginning in 1988. Series III.B. was a gift of Simon Cutts in 2012.

    Processing History

    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.

    Separated Materials

    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 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 South Bank, Auto-didactic, Unpainted Landscape, Allotment, Vinyl, and 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

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Book design--England--20th century
    Conceptual Art
    Concrete poetry--England--Exhibitions
    Poetry, Modern--20th century
    Small presses--England--20th century
    Visual poetry

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Art objects
    Artists' books
    Black-and-white prints (photographs)
    Color negatives
    Color photographs
    Color transparencies
    Drawings (visual works)
    Dummies (printed matter)
    Financial records
    Floppy disks
    Mail art
    Mail art--20th century
    Mechanicals (camera-ready copy)
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original
    Printed ephemera


    Ackling, Roger
    Clark, Thomas A.
    Cragg, Tony, 1949-
    Cutts, Simon, 1944-
    Drury, Chris, 1948-
    Duncalf, Stephen
    Finlay, Ian Hamilton
    Fulton, Hamish
    Goldsworthy, Andy, 1956-
    Kosuth, Joseph
    Lassus, Bernard
    Long, Richard, 1945-
    Mills, Stuart
    Nannucci, Maurizio, 1939-
    Tarasque Press
    Terauchi, Yoko
    Tuttle, Richard, 1941-
    Van Horn, Erica
    Victoria Miro Gallery
    Willets, David
    Williams, Jonathan, 1929-2008
    Wilson, Richard, 1953-