Book Arts

Artists’ Books Exhibitions in the Bower Ashton Library cases, UWE, Bristol, UK

Re-imagining the Laws of England
A Book Arts celebration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta

6th December 2016 – 30th January 2017

Artists from across the UK participated in the Sidney Nolan Trust’s celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

A set of ‘Halsbury’s Statutes’, the accepted authoritative texts for statute law (Acts of Parliament) of England and Wales, was donated to the Trust by a local court service whose staff now use online reference. The 27 volumes were destined to be pulped had the Trust not taken them.

Each volume has been transformed into a work of art exploring themes related to topics covered in the particular volume as well as ideas around legislation and society. The unusual collection includes beautiful works of art, powerful indictments of abuses of human rights and humorous takes on law, power and politics.

Vol 2, 1999, Jane Tudge Vol 2, 2003, Anne Rook, In King John's Land Vol 6, Viv Sole, Toeing the Line Vol 13, Jill Lauriston Vol 20, Linda Toigo

Anne Rook took inspiration from the flora and fauna found at the time of King John for her volume. Jane Tudge’s illuminated garden shed is a metaphor for how a nation grows from the foundation of a set of published laws. Sharon Hall Shipp’s paper ribbons references the ‘red tape’ of bureaucracy. Vivienne Sole’s appealing tiny paper shoes that ‘toe the line’ – or don’t – each denote a different aspect of laws that affect children. Linda Toigo cut the pages of her volume into human lungs – every time the book is opened and closed it breathes in and out 800 years of history. Mellie Lane’s birdcage depicts King John as a bird trapped in a cage by his barons. Rachel Rickett’s remarkable Nine O’Clock Horse references folklore around bedtime rules.

Since its opening at The Rodd in June 2015, the exhibition is touring to venues nationally, concluding in Autumn 2017 at Herefordshire’s Archive and Record Centre to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the writing of the county’s own Magna Carta.

Vol 22, 2003, Mellie Lane, Bird Cage Vol 33, Rachel Ricketts  Vol 35, Kate Kato Vol 37, Ruth Cousins Vol 50, War and Emergency - Halsbury Statutes, Linda Nevill

Participating artists:

Isabell Buenz (Midlothian), Mike Clements (Herefordshire), Ruth Cousins (Bangor), Sharon Hall Shipp (Powys), Veronica Hilton (Shropshire), Kate Kato (Powys), Nigel Kerry (Shropshire), Jill Lauriston (Sheffield), Mellie Lewis (Shropshire), Angela Martin (Shropshire), Jackie Morris (Herefordshire), Linda Nevill (Wolverhampton), Heather Prescott (Shropshire), Lindsay Pritchard (Wolverhampton), Julia Reynolds (Shrewsbury), Helen Ricketts (West Bromwich), Rachel Ricketts (Herefordshire), Anne Rook (London), Vivienne Sole (Herefordshire), Sylvia Stiff (Herefordshire), Marilyn Tippett (Liverpool), Linda Toigo (London), Jane Tudge (Herefordshire).


In 2017 the Sidney Nolan Trust is co-ordinating a major, UK-wide celebration of Sidney Nolan’s birth, with exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, Australia House, London, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, British Museum, London, as well as events at the Royal Academy and Kings College London, and more. Further details at

The Sidney Nolan Trust was established by the eminent Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan in 1985 at his home, The Rodd, in the Welsh Marches. The Trust’s programme encompasses exhibitions of the work of Sidney Nolan, artist residencies and performances as well as a learning programme encompassing master classes, courses and outreach workshops for members of deprived urban and rural communities.