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Saving Lear's Parrots

Crimson-winged Parrakeet (Platycercus erythropterus) by Lear

One of the most notable works in the E.A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection is Edward Lear's Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots. The work was featured in an exhibition that took place from August 1 through September 30, 1996. Supported in part by funding from the Louisiana State Arts Council, the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge through the Decentralized Arts Funding Program, the exhibition also resulted in the production of an award-winning brochure.

"Saving Lear's Parrots," the exhibition brochure published by the LSU Libraries, received the Mary Ellen LoPresti Award for Excellence in Publishing in 1997. The brochure was one of nine award winners selected by the Southeast Chapter of the Art Libraries of North America from 75 publications entered in the competition. The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) is the largest international professional organization devoted to art librarianship.

"Saving Lear's Parrots" was chosen "as an example of an attractive, sophisticated and well-produced exhibition guide," the citation reads. "The colorful cover illustration stands out against the uncluttered white background framed by the exhibition title at the top and other essential information at the bottom. The inside pages and the back cover detail the artist's life and work, as well as information on parrots, lithography and conservation. In addition, there are notes, sources, electronic resources, and a checklist of the exhibition. The committee unanimously agreed that this demonstrated a superior presentation...." The brochure was written and designed by Elaine B. Smyth, then Curator of Rare Books and the E.A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection.

The Southeast Chapter of ARLIS/NA established the LoPresti Publication Award Competition in 1985 to recognize and encourage excellence in art publications issued in the southeastern United States. The publication awards are named for Mary Ellen LoPresti, who was the Design Librarian at the Harrye B. Lyons Design Library, North Carolina State University, until her death in 1985.