To Catch a White Man by his Manifesto(e)

A portfolio of limited-edition prints entitled ‘To catch a white man by his manifesto’, published by Openings Press at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, Wiltshire, 1969, commissioned by Dom Sylvester Houédard.

Artists include: Stephen Lowndes, Susan Hudson, Elizabeth Kelly, Jenny Osborne, Angus Davis, Erica Grice, Noelle Stewart, Alan Hext, Paul Ansell, and Melody Craig.

This is the second set of limited-edition prints from my time at Bath Academy of Art, of which I own 12 out of a possible full set of 15. Visiting lecturer Dom Sylvester Houédard worked closely with the students on this project, as did so many great artists during my time as a student there (Howard Hodgkin and Jim Dine among them). All this was made possible by the vision and determination of the Head of School Clifford Ellis and his wife Rosemary, both great artists in their own right.

These works are important examples of Concrete Poetry, the 1960s countercultural movement in which abstract visual poems were composed as part of a performance event. Along with my friend and fellow student Charles Mitchell, I spent a short period as Artist in Residence at Sussex University in the late 1960s, where we put on a number of performances on the theme of Concrete Poetry. The prints serve as a poignant reminder of that special moment, when all was new, exciting, and great fun.

Art Fund 

 “Houédard was born in Guernsey and studied history at Oxford. He later worked in Army intelligence before joining a monastery and being ordained as a priest in 1959. In the early 1960s he emerged as a pioneer of Concrete Poetry. He composed his own poems – known as ‘typestracts’ – on an Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter.

To Catch a White Man by his Manifesto(e) is an experimental print portfolio made as a collective work of art with students and printmakers at Bath Academy of Art, based at Corsham Court, Wiltshire, where he was a guest lecturer for three years during the 1960s. Students contributed to the portfolio of 16 prints, which was published by John Furnival’s Openings Press in an edition of 30 copies. The works were made during the time Houédard taught at Corsham, a period when the art school was considered an important centre for Concrete Poetry. They now enter the collection of the Victoria Art Gallery, an institution which prioritises the acquisition of paintings, sculptures and prints by artists who taught at Bath Academy.”

Provenance The Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, Miami, U.S.A.

 V&A Collections