I am pleased to announce the acquisition of a new collection of papers relating to artist, poet, writer and musician Jeff Nuttall. The collection was donated to us by Paul Davies, founder of former indie publishing house Basilike, who published Nuttall’s works House Party and The Anatomy of My Father’s Corpse in 1975. Davies carried out all of the typesetting for the publications, and is himself a fiction writer. He was also clear that he wished to respect Nuttall’s wishes that his papers should be housed in public collections.
In 1978, whilst Davies was staying with Nuttall and his wife, Nuttall handed over a series of annotated typescripts, intended as the basis of a new book. As his publishing house was in difficulties, Davies initially tried to return the papers, and when this proved difficult, they were eventually mislaid in a move to Canada, and were only recently rediscovered. Davies and Nuttall also had a book of art and poetry in the pipeline when the press folded, entitled ‘Flowers’.
The collection includes 36 essays, articles, radio pieces, addresses and reviews by Nuttall, annotated in his signature black marker pen, in addition to a small collection of correspondence and photographs. Davies has also kindly donated one of the few surviving copies of his 1985 quarto reprint of The Anatomy of My Father’s Corpse, which was never made available for purchase.
In the course of donating the Nuttall papers, Davies decided to create a facsimile of his lost 1985 edition of The Anatomy of My Father’s Corpse, which he considers to be Nuttall’s finest prose writing. The facsimile was republished and can be accessed online via Kindle. The proceeds of this publication have been generously offered to the Rylands, and will be used to fund work on preserving and cataloguing the papers of Jeff Nuttall.
More information on Davies’s work can be found on his website. Additional material relating to Davies’s work with Nuttall is located in the archive of his publishing house, housed at the University of Alberta Library.
The new Kindle edition of The Anatomy of My Father’s Corpse is available for purchase here.
We are delighted that this significant collection has found a home at the Rylands, and it will form a valuable addition to our holdings on Jeff Nuttall.