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untitled (poetry moons oboys lemons )

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    UK (made)
    Gloucestershire (made)
    Prinknash (made)

  • Date:

    11/07/1963 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Houédard, Dom Sylvester, born 1924 - died 1992 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Typescript on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Acquired from The Lisson Gallery, London in 1971.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case MP, shelf 311

Dom Sylvester Houédard was a Benedictine monk and eminent theologian, but also a pioneer, in Britain, of concrete poetry, a poetic form in which the arrangement of words and letters in a pattern on the page relates to the meaning or emotional impact of the poem. Using concrete poetry as a kind of springboard Houédard developed a way of making more purely abstract or pictorial images with the typewriter keys. He wrote that "During 1945 I realised the typewriter's control of verticals and horizontals, balancing its mechanism for release from its own imposed grid, (and) offered possibilities that suggested (I was in India at the time) the grading of Islamic calligraphy from cursive (naskhi) writing through cufic to the abstract formal arabesque, that 'wise modulation between being and not being'”.
This is one of a number of so-called typestracts by Houédard in the museum’s collection. Some contain a legible arrangement of words, others are abstract, often resembling the drawings of the Russian Constructivists.

Physical description

Image typed onto a sheet of thin paper in turn pasted to a card. Overall is a pattern of narrowly spaced horizontal lines which appear to be made of glue stains. Over this, the words 'oboys' and 'lemons' are typed vertically, with the words 'poetry' and 'moons' typed horizontally, all are interlocked, as if part of a crossword. Beneath this the words: 'homage to spicer/lorca'

Place of Origin

UK (made)
Gloucestershire (made)
Prinknash (made)


11/07/1963 (made)


Houédard, Dom Sylvester, born 1924 - died 1992 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Typescript on paper

Marks and inscriptions

dsh 110763/ poetry/moons/oboys/lemons
(homage to spicer/lorca)
Lettered at top of sheet with with the artist's initials and date, with the words of the 'poem' arranged as if they were in a crossword puzzle below. and below this lettered (homage...etc


Height: 14.5 cm sheet, Width: 22.8 cm sheet

Descriptive line

By Dom Sylvester Houédard: 'homage to spicer / lorca', typewriter 'drawing', 1963

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Taken from Departmental Circulation Register 1971
2a or 2b
Dom Sylvester Houédard : Visual Poetries, London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1971

Production Note

The words of the 'poem' are arranged to suggest reading in a variety of orders.

Attribution note: All Houédard's typewriter 'drawings' from 1950-1970 were made using an Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter.


Paper; Typewriter



Subjects depicted



Prints; Computer Art


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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