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Allen Freer Book Collection

Date range: 1813-1996

Number of items: 250 items

This collection, from the personal library of Allen Freer (b. 1926), reflects the collector’s life-long interest in 20th-century British art and poetry.

It contains numerous signed and presentation copies from poets such as Norman Nicholson (1914-1987), David Gascoyne (1916-2001) and Ted Hughes (1930-1998), and artists including John Piper (1903-1992), David Jones (1895-1974) and Graham Sutherland (1903-1980).

Allen Freer’s concern for the aesthetic relationship between text and image is reflected in the number of fine editions and private press publications present, while his interest in the poetry and art of war in the 20th century is also manifest.

Of particular interest is a rather battered but important association copy of John Clare’s The Village Minstrel and Other Poems (London: Taylor and Hessey, and E. Drury, 1821), which the poet Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) took with him into battle in the First World War.

The collection, which includes a host of ephemera, was purchased in 2003 with the aid of a grant from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

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