Rigby Graham Archive

Scope and Content

This archive consists of material compiled by the artist Rigby Graham (b.1931).

The majority of the material in the archive consists of proof prints andlimited edition prints of work by Rigby Graham, made either for book illustrationsor as separate pieces. In addition there are a large number of exhibitioncatalogues, postcards using Rigby Graham illustrations and series of broadsheetsor broadsides illustrated and designed by Rigby Graham.

Research potential

The archive could inform the study of British art from the mid twentiethcentury to date with particular emphasis on landscape and topographic painting;the Neo-Romantic movement; lithographic and wood-cut printing and book illustrationand production; private presses.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rigby Graham was born in Stretford, Manchester, in 1931. He moved withhis family first to London and then to Leicester in early childhood wherehe attended Leicester College of Art from 1947 until 1954, specialising inmural painting. After teaching at a number of local schools Rigby Graham returnedto lecture at the College of Art, firstly in Graphic Design and Printing,then in Education and latterly in Bookbinding. He retired from teaching in1983.

Rigby Graham is principally a landscape and topographic artist. He haswritten of his subjects:

I came to find in ordinariness extraordinary qualities. I found ordinary buildings, vistas, streets, canals, railways, warehouses and allotments of enormous interest. The more I wandered about and spoke to people, the more I drew, painted and wondered, and the more interested I became. It was not the aesthetic, nor the historical, geographical, social or economic patterns, it was not religious, the commercial, the industrial or the residential which interested me, but perhaps something of all of these, for I became increasingly aware of the passage of time and the way in which its passing had left its mark on everything

(Rigby Graham, Wymondham, Leicestershire:Wymondham Art Gallery, 1979).

He works across a great range of media; painting, drawing and through manymethods of printing to create single pieces, limited edition prints, bookillustrations, illustrated booklets and broadsheets, postcards, patternedpaper and murals.


The original arrangement of the archive has been lost through its highly fractured provenance and the manner in which it has been deposited. In consequence it has been arranged, by the archivist, into series to, as far as is possible, reflect the function of the material. Within the series the material is arranged chronologically.

The series are arranged as follows:

  • GRA/1 Rigby Graham correspondence
  • GRA/2 Biographical material
  • GRA/3 Proof prints and editioned prints
  • GRA/4 Proof prints of book and pamphlet illustration
  • GRA/5 Exhibitions and lectures
  • GRA/6 Postcards
  • GRA/7 Prospectuses
  • GRA/8 Broadsheets / Broadsides
  • GRA/9 Christmas cards
  • GRA/10 Fishpaste
  • GRA/11 Publications
  • GRA/12 Publishers' miscellaneous ephemera
  • GRA/13 Journal, magazine and newspaper articles
  • GRA/14 Magazine, journal and diary covers and proof pages
  • GRA/15 Bookplates
  • GRA/16 Research material
  • GRA/17 Design work
  • GRA/18 Patterned paper

Access Information

Access is by appointment only. Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections at the Sir Kenneth Green Library are open from 10.00am 4.00pm, Monday to Friday. Please contact: The Special Collections Archivist, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sir Kenneth Green Library, All Saints, Manchester, M15 6BH; tel: +44 (0)161 - 247 6159; e-mail: library-archives@mmu.ac.uk.

Acquisition Information

The greater part of the material was transferred from the David Homes Gallery, Peterborough, in 1994. The creator of the archive has also periodically made direct deposits of material, to the current repository, since 1990.

Other Finding Aids

Full catalogue available in the reading room, Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright remains with Rigby Graham.

Correspondence copyright rests with the author. Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. All items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Special Collections Archivist.

Custodial History

The greater part of the archive was transferred, by its creator, to the David Homes Gallery, Peterborough, in 1990 where it was arranged and stored. In 1994 this material was transferred to the current repository. The creator of the archive has also periodically made direct deposits of material to the current repository, since 1990.


The creator of the archive continues to make periodic deposits of archival material to the current repository.

Related Material

See also the Book Design collection also at Manchester Metropolitan University Library for books illustrated by Rigby Graham.


Graham, Rigby, Rigby Graham (Wymondham, Leicestershire: Wymondham Art Gallery, 1979).

Savage, Toni, Rigby Graham (Leicester: The Gadsby Gallery, 1963).

Greer, Anne, Rigby Graham (Newcastle: Brian Mills, 1981).

Personal Names