The Hesitant Visitor

The Hesitant Visitor - Palaeography - Open on Surface

‘The Hesitant Visitor’ was created to be experienced as part of an evening of performance at Senate House Library entitled ‘Reading as Art: Turning the Pages of Victorian Psychology’. The artwork is comprised of three leaflets, which are named after one of the library’s beautiful reading rooms and a character from history that is related to Victorian Psychology. The ‘books’ are:

  • Durning-Lawrence: Francis Galton
  • Goldsmiths’: Mary Shelley
  • Palaeography: Charles Babbage
The Hesitant Visitor - All Three Books - On Display in Senate House
The Hesitant Visitor – All Three Books – On Display in Senate House

Each ‘book’ has the same appearance, with covers that feature the stone that clads Senate House’s public areas and wood on the interior that reflects the surfaces of the desks and furniture throughout the space.

The Hesitant Visitor - All Three Books - On Display in Senate House
The Hesitant Visitor – All Three Books – On Display in Senate House

Each contains a short story set in the particular reading room, which links the space with the library’s wider collection. On the back of each are references for further reading.

“The reading rooms at Senate House are incredible spaces, full of history and atmosphere – it was great to get chance to visit them let-alone make an artwork that responds to them. Researching the theme of the evening (Victorian Psychology) turned up lots of interesting connections – I hope you find the finished work as compelling to read as it was to make.”

– Chris

All three leaflets are included as part of the Ephemera Collection in the shop, which also contains the Preface from This Journey is a Book and four pages from ‘Between the Actual and Possible’.

Artworks available from the shop:


Convergences Pile of Books

‘Convergences’ is a short, but densely layered book-work that was commissioned by the artist Sharon Kivland as a part of Leeds College of Art’s ‘Library Interventions’ series. For the project Kivland employed the services of several artists to read on her behalf and provide a ‘report’ on what they found.

‘Convergences’ is the result of that reading and charts the artist’s journey as a reader through Leeds College’s library collection, via the art work and influences of Kivland. The resulting journey throws up old memories and the past, present, fact and fiction begin to converge.

“I hugely enjoyed the opportunity to be a reader for Sharon Kivland, as it gave me a chance to get to know her work in more detail, and step into her shoes by imagining the books she may have chosen. The visit was a chance to return to West Yorkshire, my old home, and revisit memories from my time there. During the making process, which mostly took place in and around my workplace of South Kensington, the story of that real journey began to take shape; revealing an intriguing set of convergences.”

– Chris

The finished book-work was presented at the opening event for the series, alongside the contributions of Kivland’s other readers.

An uncorrected artists’ proof of Convergences is available in the shop as part of the Ephemera Collection.

Further Reading:

Artworks available from the shop:

Daily Miracles

Daily Miracles - Stack of Three Books

‘Daily Miracles’ was commissioned by Leeds College of Art as part of its Library Interventions series and is an artwork designed to bridge the college’s two distinct libraries. The work comprises two sets of six books (one set for each library) which together tell a simple story about the place, incorporating details about the surrounding books and features of the library itself. The books are spread across the collection (prompting the viewer to make a journey through the space) and include references to real details draw their attention to where they are – both in terms of their physical location and also within the larger institution of the library.

Daily Miracles 'The Archive and Memory' - Cover
Daily Miracles ‘The Archive and Memory’ – Cover

“Both libraries at Leeds College have a distinct flavour, so I was keen to make an artwork that linked the two. By weaving in real details about both locations, such as noises, sights and goings on, the work hopefully breaks a visitor’s routine and makes them stop to question where they are and what they are doing. I also hope that the story itself is of interest and is engaging enough to prompt the viewer to explore the collection book by book.”

– Chris

Specifications: Six A5 pamphlets. Exterior: glossy, full-colour. Interior: black text on white paper. Edition of ten, signed and numbered.

Artworks available from the shop: