French artist’s work is turn-up for the books

Enchanting, contemplative works by a French book artist widely acclaimed in her homeland have been acquired by the University.


It is the first time that Diane de Bournazel’s intricate pieces, which the artist describes as ‘poetry without words’, have been bought by a UK institution.

De Bournazel’s delicate book forms – filled with delightful, densely packed images – will provide inspiration to students from Edinburgh Colllege of Art and be accessible to the wider public.

Five of the artist’s works – which explore themes that include the natural world, childhood and human relationships – will be housed in the Centre for Research Collections within the University’s Main Library.

Head of Special Collections Daryl Green says the books create a dream-like world that draws in the eye and mind. Each expresses a sweep of emotions, from joy to dread. while being imbued with a sense of the inner life.

Diverse influences

De Bournazel uses drawing, painting, paper cutting and collage. Her imagery is her own, but echoes many traditions – from medieval manuscript to modernism, with traditional engraving, etched illustration and folk art too.

Mr Green says the works – to be used for teaching and research, and in exhibitions – represent the very best of modern artistic bookmaking and will complement many other items in the collection.

 “De Bournazel’s work is equally timeless and contemporary,” says Mr Green. “These books are in direct communication with medieval manuscripts and Arts and Crafts books found throughout our collections.

"But their execution, themes and meditations reflect a modern sensibility and melancholy which makes them electrifying.”

The University purchased the works from antiquarian book dealer Justin Croft, who says: “Diane’s books are widely admired, so I’m pleased the University has acquired such a significant group of her recent works.

"The appeal of Diane's book is instant, but they reward repeated ‘readings’ when viewed from different angles and in changing light.”

Justin CroftAntiquarian book dealer

Related links

Centre for Research Collections

Diane de Bournazel