Dante Exhibition at the National Print Museum, Dublin

Visual Communication Lecturer Brenda Dermody organised an exhibition of typographic works illustrating Dante’s The Divine Comedy to take place at The National Print Museum, Beggars Bush. The exhibition features letterpress and typewriter works by Barrie Tullett illustrating 54 of the cantos from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. Written between 1308 and 1320, The Divine Comedy describes Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, and, at a deeper level, represents the souls journey towards God. The Typographic Dante is a series of typographic illustrations created as a response to this unfolding narrative. Each Canto being illustrated typographically, and each book of the Divine Comedy having a different typographic style.


This is an on-going project by Barrie Tullett, Programme Leader for Graphic Design at the University of Lincoln, that will eventually illustrate each of the 100 Cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy using a different ‘obsolete’ technology. The 34 Cantos of The Inferno are realised using the wood and metal type of letterpress printing, the 33 Cantos of Purgatory are created on the typewriter, and the 33 Cantos of Paradise will be visualised with Letraset.

The seed of the project was planted many years ago, but it did not begin to come together as a coherent body of work until Tullett’s final year as a Visual Communication student at the Chelsea School of Art. Ever since, he has returned to the project when time allows, and has slowly added to the illustrations. This is the first time that all the completed images will be exhibited as a single body of work.


Brenda Dermody designed the printed material for the exhibition. The aim was to create pieces that were works in their own right rather than merely reproductions of the originals. She produced a set of four postcards and a series of four prints housed in a presentation folder which are fresh interpretations of eight of the prints from the exhibition. These letterpress and typewriter remixes were printed by Plus Print, Dublin. Barrie and Brenda would like to acknowledge Carla Marinan, CEO of the National Print Museum (NPM), Sean Sills, board member NPM and the rest of the team for their support of the project and for the opportunity to show The Typographic Dante in such a wonderful setting.


The exhibition runs from 10 February until 2 April 2017.