Glimpse into the Collection: Old Well in the Spring? (We say, “Yes!”)

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black and white illustration of the UNC Chapel Hill campus

Diane Davis is the project photographer for the Ackland Art Museum’s IMLS Digitization Project Grant. Since 2010, she has been producing master image files to digitally archive all of the Ackland’s collections. After having a commercial business in Charlotte for 25 years, she finds working on this important project a very satisfying extension of her career.

As each of us on the digitization team has discovered this print, we’ve imagined it was made in Chapel Hill and depicts the Old Well on UNC campus in the spring.

It seems equally fitting for Easter, with the little bunny in silhouette in the foreground, doesn’t it?  It took me a number of viewings to even notice that there is a second bunny in the middle of the “valley”. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that the viewers eye is compelled to travel in the circular spiral of this composition…full of new growth bursting from the grass to the tree tops.

Imagine our surprise as each of us individually discovered that this wood engraving was made in 1930 by a British artist, Edward Carrick, as a Christmas greeting card!  (“For goodness sakes, there’s not even snow on the ground!”  “How could this NOT be UNC in the spring?!”)

After delving further, Dana alerted me to the fact that UNC’s Old Well is modeled after the Temple of Love in the English Garden at Versailles, so it’s very likely that is the subject matter for this image by Edward Carrick.

View other works by Edward Carrick in the Ackland’s collection.

Edward Carrick, British, 1905-1998: “Christmas Greeting Card,” 1930; wood engraving. Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.2389.