Past Exhibitions

November 7, 2019 – February 9, 2020

Cover to Cover: How People Bind Their Books

This exhibition explored all types of books, from miniature books to enormous folios, gold-stamped publishers’ binding to stab-stitched paper wrappers, treasured bibles to ephemeral almanacs, 19th-century marbled papers to 15th-century stamped leather, and more. It examined the ‘guts’ of historic bindings to see how they were constructed, from the bookbinder’s craft to the print and manuscript waste hiding inside.

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September 6 – October 6, 2019

Coastal Expressions | Joyce Grasso

Coastal Expressions featured the abstract seascapes of Joyce Grasso, the Best in Show winner of Pequot Library’s 2018 Art Show Wet Paint: Art Fresh from the Studio. Grasso describes her acrylic on canvas paintings as creating a “feeling of place” with “bold colors, multiple laters and varied textures.” This exhibition also highlighted Grasso’s mixed media collages with hand-painted acrylic papers on cradleboard.

June 20 – August 24, 2019

Summer by the Sea: Sloop Logs and Ledgers

This exhibition featured 19th-century sloop logs and ledgers from Pequot Library’s Special Collections illustrating Southport’s rich maritime legacy. Filled with notable Fairfield family names, these volumes captured the daily details of harbor life and emphasized the preeminent role of the Southport Harbor on the New England coast. Works on display included the Library’s collections of historic photography, tracking Southport’s evolution from a working harbor and shipping grounds to a quaint village and sailor’s paradise.

Watch Director Stephanie Coakley & Dr. Jamie Cumby at the Opening Reception


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February 7 – May 2, 2019

Illumination to Illustration: Art of the Book

Whether meticulously crafted by hand on vellum or artfully produced using an early printing press, books have been utilized by artists and authors as a visual art form for centuries. This exhibition featured items from Pequot Library’s Special Collections including a medieval illuminated antiphonal (musical liturgy); The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, printed by the Kelmscott Press in 1896; and a 1946 pop-up edition of The Jolly Jump-Ups: A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Viewers were invited to discover the artistry found in a selection of books from illuminated manuscripts to illustrated novels dating from the 15th century to today.

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November 1, 2018 – January 27, 2019

Egyptomania: The Western Fascination with Egypt

Viewers were invited to discover how Egypt has captivated the Western imagination from the 19th century until today. From Napoleon’s conquest of Africa to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s, Egyptomania swept America and Europe and came to symbolize the exotic, romantic, and mysterious. This exhibition featured materials from Pequot Library’s Special Collections, including late 19th-century photographs of Egypt, archaeological surveys, and travel memoirs.

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September 6 – October 7, 2018

Paradise Lost | Árpád Krizsán

Paradise [Lost] featured a collection of photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library’s 2017 Art Show. Viewers explored with Krizsán as he scratched past the superficial “to look at the other side or what others wouldn’t see, yet finding beauty in all of it.” Krizsán’s passion for photography was inspired by his father, who taught him to “walk and see.” He has studied in Vienna, Washington, D.C., and New York City and participated in shows in Austria, New York City, and Connecticut for which he received numerous awards.

June 14 – August 25, 2018

Garden Menagerie | Alex Sax

Garden Menagerie featured a variety of works by Alex Sax and a selection of nineteenth-century books and poetry from Pequot Library’s Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives. The exhibition included the artist’s “garden” of imaginative and whimsical finely detailed nature drawings, prints, egg tempera paintings, and cast paper and paper-mâché animal sculptures inspired by Pequot’s holdings of works by American poets Emily Dickinson and John Greenleaf Whittier and The wild flowers of America…with fifty- colored plates, from original drawings, by Isaac Sprague by George L. Goodale, 1886, among other literary works highlighting the grandeur of nature. Also featured were a number of the artist’s handmade books.

February 15 – May 6, 2018

Living in the New World

This exhibition features a selection of the Library’s rare books held in Southport and on long-term deposit at The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, including The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, in the Mohawk language, William Hubbard’s 1677 discourse on the Pequot War, and an early catechism for young children. Materials on native languages and colonial New England life offered insight into the intersection of two cultures in Fairfield and beyond. Items on view include primers, language studies, and histories of local, state, and New England life which helped viewers journey back in time to the early days of the New World and explore the dynamics between new settlers and Native Americans through Pequot Library’s Special Collections.

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December 14, 2017 – February 4, 2018

Holiday Magic: Selections from the Children's Historical Collection

This exhibition highlighted holiday materials from Pequot Library’s Children’s Historical collection and encouraged visitors to experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers, especially children. Items on display included classic works of holiday literature, caroling music, and vintage postcards. From Christmas and Halloween to Thanksgiving and “Primrose Day,” the books and imagery covered a variety of religious and secular subjects including etchings of “The Three Wisemen” and the antics of Eloise and Babar the Elephant.

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October 27, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Nature Morte | Jarvis Wilcox

Artist Jarvis Wilcox’s paintings explored the subtle relations among objects portrayed and the interactions of the colors chosen, while encouraging thoughtful consideration from the viewer. This exhibition highlighted a selection of recent works featuring oil paintings and drawings of floral arrangements, nature scenes, and wildlife. Wilcox’s body of work includes still lifes, water scenes, landscapes, and works on paper that have been featured in solo exhibitions from New York to California.

October 12 – December 3, 2017

The Great War and the United States Home Front

This exhibition considered the question posed by those at home during the Great War: “What can we do?” It featured a selection of books, maps, military diagrams, pamphlets, and propaganda posters from Pequot Library’s Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives. Viewers discovered and learned more about a variety of patriotic, civilian efforts that took place on the American home front after the United States entered WWI in 1917.

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September 7-24, 2017

People's Choice 2017

This selection of works featured the talents of the winners of the 2016 Art Show, as chosen by the viewers at the Art Show Preview Party. The artists were:

Sage Goldsmith Tremaine, painting
Alexandra Wallace-Currie, mixed media
Robyn Swan Filippone, photography*

*Generously bestowed by Ellen Gould

June 8 – August 27, 2017

Jane Austen: Insights and Influences

Pequot Library celebrated the life and work of Jane Austen and helped viewers discover how her insights into the ordinary lives of her characters have influenced culture for the last 200 years, featuring timeless illustrations and text. The exhibition examined how authors such as Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott inspired the young Jane and explored her influence on contemporary literature through novels such as Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding and Pemberly Shades by Dorothy Hlice Bonavia-Hunt.

March 9 – July 2, 2017

Perspectives at Pequot: U.S. Immigration Today

Migration Now is a portfolio of 37 silkscreen and letterpress prints illustrating the power of art to engage people in informed conversation about immigration and the broader global theme of human migration. The collection highlights reasons why people migrate, from helping family or escaping persecution, to alleviating financial burdens or finding personal fulfillment. Many of the contributing artists are students of the global tradition of political printmaking. Their visual portrayals of migration provide a lens through which to begin a discussion about immigration and social issues such as race, culture, gender, class, and economics, that affect us all.

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February 16 – May 6, 2016

Pages from Pequot: Uncovering Shakespeare

Uncovering Shakespeare features material from Pequot Library’s Special Collections including extracts from the First Folio; complete Second, Third, and Fourth Folios; the Players’ Shakespeare series from 1923 with seven plays; the Norton Facsimile of the First Folio; stunning editions of As You Like It and Merry Wives of Windsor; a small popular edition called The New Temple Shakespeare, with engravings by Eric Gill, and many scholarly editions and studies about Shakespeare and the Earl of Oxford. The exhibit includes, in large part, the collection of Shakespeare materials bequeathed in 1974 by Dean S. Edmonds, a trustee of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, founded in 1957. Mr. Edmonds was dedicated to exploring the Shakespeare authorship question and researching the evidence that Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford (1550 – 1604) is the true author of the poems and plays of William Shakespeare.

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