Homing In: Pigeons and Doves in the Special Collections

24 February - 27 April 2022

Pigeons and Pigeon Men is a handmade book designed, written and illustrated by Judith Cash (née Carr), while attending Leeds College of Art in the 1950s.

Cash created the global brand Paperchase in the 1970s and was a practicing artist until her death in 2021. In Pigeons and Pigeon Men, a young Judith Carr describes her hunt for creative inspiration in her hometown of Barnsley. Intrigued by the local pigeon fanciers and their flocks, she gets to know them better, and is soon captivated by birds she had previously ignored. A diaristic telling of her experiences then becomes a scientific and sociological account of these extraordinary animals and the role they have played in history.

To celebrate the donation of this book to Leeds Arts University’s Archive, it is displayed alongside selected materials from the Special Collections that refer to the pigeon or dove, and artistic responses range from the divine to the morbid and mundane. In terms of taxonomy, there is no difference between pigeons and doves; these names are interchangeable and their meanings only vary in our language and perception. Domestication of these birds for their homing abilities has been shown to reach back to the Palaeolithic Period. Today the dove is an international symbol of purity and peace, while our cities’ ‘Feral’ pigeons are often associated with banality and decay. This display of books and ephemera is a small homage to animals with which we are deeply connected and which continue to play an integral part in our daily lives.

24 February - 27 April 2022 
Blenheim Walk Library, Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ

This exhibition is available to view from 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday by appointment only. Please email curatorial@leeds-art.ac.uk to make an appointment.

Pigeons and Pigeon MenImage: Pigeons and Pigeon Men.

  • 24 February - 27 April 2022
  • Blenheim Walk Library, Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ