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European views and portraits by Esther Borough Johnson

Earlier this year, we acquired an album of sketches by English artist Esther Borough Johnson. The album has been digitized so you can peruse it at your leisure. The album depicts various places in England, Italy, France, and other European countries. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is probably the most widely-recognized landmark in the album.

Drawing of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Pisa, Italy. [7, recto]

Some drawings are labeled with the name of the place depicted, but many are not. Many of the drawings are undated as well, but the dates noted in the album include 1921 and 1922.

Sketch of a courtyard with a woman leaning over a well.

Sketch of a courtyard in Majorca (Mallorca). [5, recto]

The drawings are mainly done in graphite, although some have had color added. Many of the sketches are unfinished, likely quick drawings in situ that may have been used later as references for completed works. In addition to cityscapes, Esther drew a number of street scenes and portraits.

A beach scene at Honfleur (France). [13, recto]

Esther’s art provides an intimate glimpse into several European locations in the early 1920s with an eye for more than just the typical tourist scenes. The art has been assembled into a larger album, but many of the works are done on smaller pieces of paper. It is easy to imagine Esther pulling out a small sketchbook whenever a particular scene caught her eye.

Two sketches of Bruges (Belgium), another unidentified city street, and some chickens. [41, recto]

The complete album of Esther’s sketches can be viewed in our Digital Library. Elsewhere online, you can view three examples of Esther’s finished paintings at ArtUK. ArtUK also has a portrait of Esther painted by her husband Ernest Borough Johnson. The Suffolk Artists website has a brief biography of Esther.

 


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#TBT: Sweet Times at the Oreo

The Oreo statue in 1991, The Awakening, and students

The Awakening, an abstract sculpture donated by artist Jay Dugan, greets students as they make their way through campus. The dome of Alumni Hall peeks through the trees.

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY

Check out this throwback to 1991. Students walk on campus with The Awakening statue, or what is now fondly known as the “Oreo,” in the background. The statue has been a well-loved campus landmark since 1985.

For more information on the Oreo sculpture, check out this sweet blog by Alice Bampton.

Photo Credit: Alan Nyiri, 1991.


Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. She is a big fan of mint Oreos.


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FotoFriday: Transforming the Bard’s Work Into Art

Alice Dailey contemplates the art project that will transform Shakespeare books into art mourning the passing of time.

“As a scholar, I recognize the labor and time that goes into the composition of these #books. Each book is a unit of human time. I’m searching for a way to acknowledge what it means for that time to be over.”–Professor Alice Dailey, discussing her art project, which will transform nearly 500 deselected #shakespeare books into #art reflecting the passing of time


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Last Modified: July 12, 2019