Photocopies of nineteen sketchbook diaries by Andy Goldsworthy

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The copies of the sketchbooks were made for Dr. Terry Friedman's research for the publication and exhibition 'Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy's Sculpture', at Leeds City Art Gallery in 1991. They are numbered 2-16 and 18-21 and are in chronological order. Goldsworthy first began to keep sketchbook diaries in August 1980. The first diary was a very simple affair - a ring bound notebook consisting largely of notes, with no illustrations to speak of. Subsequently, the indexical practice of sketching the work, and making brief observations has taken its place in Goldsworthy's alongside the process of photography, so that his means of documenting his ephemeral work is revealed to be many-layered.The diaries yield a considerable amount of detail. However, Goldsworthy is not systematic in recording every work. The diaries are not comprehensive, but provide a powerful representation of Goldsworthy's outdoor practice. There do not seem to be any discernible criteria by which Goldsworthy may or may not have included an entry for a particular ephemeral work. The absence of a diary entry could quite simply be attributed to the fact that he ran out of time to do so. For the most part, the entries are dated - to varying degrees of specificity. Some note the month only [Nov.], some include a more exact date [14th Nov.] Generally, Goldsworthy notes the location too [Glasgow Green, Middleton Wood, Scaur, and so on]. The entries can range from very brief descriptions of materials [elm - leaves - creased], or observations relating to the weather [calm, overcast, grey] to elaborated entries, which document the struggle to produce a particular work. The majority of the entries are illustrated, usually with a summary pencil outline, onto which Goldsworthy may rub mud, or earth for instance. In his earlier sketchbooks, he sometimes worked up colour illustrations, which are visually wonderful, and would include pieces of leaf, stalk or grass.

Administrative / Biographical History

Andy Goldsworthy was born in Cheshire England, in 1956 and moved to Leeds in 1963 at the age of seven. He studied at Bradford School of Art and Preston Polytechnic where he studied on the BA Fine Art course, graduating in 1978. Goldsworthy has been making art in the environment, both rural and urban, since the mid-1970s, engaging with natural materials such as leaves, sand, ice and stone to create site-specific works/installations and commissions.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to all registered researchers. The Archive is open by appointment only.

Archivist's Note

Archives Hub description was created by Katie Gilliland

Biographical information from William Malpas, 'The Art of Andy Goldsworthy: Complete Works' (2005) [Crescent Moon Publishing, Maidstone] and from the website: 'National Gallery of Art: Andy Goldsworthy, Bio'

Related Material

Related archives available at the Henry Moore Institute:

  • - 2006.49: Photographs and drawings of proposals for a sculpture at Holbeck Triangle, Leeds, by Andy Goldsworthy