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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

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

  • Date:

    15/10/1964 (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

Card covered with thin paper. The whole covered with a pattern of narrowly spaced parallel lines, apparently made of glue stains. The image a large 'K' to the left, made up of typed words. The vertical upright bar of the K is made up of 'book/clue/book/clue...' etc. and the arms of the K with the words 'data/exam/here'. A radiating pattern from the K is made up of the words 'ikon, jump, mind, need, pain, role, ruin, skin, time, tree' etc. The image is in black, the signature in red.

Place of Origin

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


15/10/1964 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Typescript on paper

Marks and inscriptions

dsh 151064
Lettered in red ink in horizontal format at the bottom right of the sheet with the artist's initials and date.


Height: 13.6 cm, Width: 20.2 cm

Descriptive line

By Dom Sylvester Houédard: 'book data ikon pain', typewriter 'drawing', 1964

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

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

Production Note

This image is dated a month after Circ 55-1971 but the images bear a formal relationship to each other.

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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