Feature December 2013

2010 AGM at Manchester Metropolitan University

The 2010 Annual General Meeting was held on 30 October 2010, at Manchester Metropolitan University. The meeting itself took place at 2:30 pm but, beforehand, the University had laid out a range of exhibits for those attending to peruse.

Our Newsletter Editor at the time, Roger Smith, had set this up through Jeremy Parrett, the Special Collections Archivist at the Sir Kenneth Green Library in the University. Jeremy had put on display items from the following collections: The Laura Seddon Collection of Greetings Cards; The Laura Seddon Collection of Valentine Cards; The Harry Page Collection of Scrap Albums; illustrated books from their own Special Collection; and last, but by no means least, The Mary Butcher Collection of Baxter Prints.

The New Baxter Society AGM in 2010 at Manchester Metropolitan University

Four folders from the Laura Seddon collections revealed a fascinating variety of Victorian reward and greetings cards, many of which were illustrated by Licensees, and all very well catalogued. There were a total of 23 illustrated Victorian books laid out for us, ranging from the Mudie ‘Seasons’ (Spring, Summer etc) illustrated by Baxter, through to volumes illustrated by Kronheim, Dickes, Fawcett etc, to a large family bible, profusely illustrated with Kronheim plates.

The three scrap albums from the Harry Page collection were most interesting, each containing a profusion of colour prints from a variety of printers. As is usual with scrap books, the contents were in immaculate condition with no fading. There were lively discussions over the attribution of some of the prints (eg were they Mansells or Kronheims?), and one of the albums contained the very rare variety of Le Blond’s Courtship, albeit uncoloured. A surprise bonus was the inclusion in one of a large number of press cuttings from the 1920s, mainly from the Bazaar, Exchange and Mart, discussing Baxter matters of the times.

Jeremy had also laid out four boxes from Mary Butcher’s collection, recently donated to the Library by Donald, Mary’s husband. Each contained immaculate examples of Baxter’s work, every print superbly mounted and described, the ultimate reference for Baxter’s work. Although there was not enough room for the whole collection, we were able to examine, at close hand, two particular rarities, Butterflies (CL 1) and The Conquerer of Europe (CL 26a). The box of ‘larger prints’ was particularly impressive, with magnificent examples of The Large Queen (CL 216) and The Wreck of the Reliance (CL 106), the latter with the very rare blue line, lettered mount.

After this visual treat, we assembled in a conference area for the AGM. After the meeting, the Library had laid on a superb afternoon tea for us, to round off an absolutely splendid afternoon.

Thank you to Roger Smith for his hard work in setting this all up for us, but who was unable to attend due to family commitments. The Society’s thanks also go to Jeremy Parrett and his staff at the Special Collections department, for facilitating this memorable visit, and for giving up their time on a Saturday afternoon. It was very much appreciated.