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Archive of Noel Chanan, photographer


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The collection consists of 105 prints the majority of which are vintage silver prints developed around the creation of the images. 62 of the prints were digitally printed in 2019. The print type for a small number is not given.

The majority of the photographs are of Leonard Baskin (scupltor) at work in his studio and cover the period 1974, when Chanan and Baskin first met, until late 1999, the year prior to Baskin's death. There are also 2 of Ted Hughes (poet), a close friend of Baskin.

There is a DVD of a film made by Chanan of a conversation between Baskin and Hughes in 1983.


  • Creation: 1974-2009


1.54 Linear metres (11 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 17252 Photogr. 1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 17252 Photogr. 1-8; MS. 17252 digital 1; JL. 955

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17252


The collection consists of 105 prints, the majority of which are vintage silver prints developed around the creation of the images. 62 of them were digitally printed in 2019.

Biographical / Historical

Noel Chanan (b. 1939) is a photographer and film maker. He studied photography at college, but first worked as a documentary film maker. He worked at the BBC in this capacity between 1962-1966 and then on a freelance basis for 35 years as both a director and an editor.

Chanan's film subjects have included the history of photography, biopics of photographers and pioneers of cinema, including William, Earl of Craven & the Art of Photography (2006) and The Photographer of Penllergare, A Life of John Dillwyn Llewelyn (2013). When Chanan retired from film making he returned to photography full time and, between 1998 and 2003, had three solo exhibitions. Three of his photographic portraits (two of Ted Hughes, 1979 and one of Isaiah Berlin, 1971) are held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Chanan lives in North Devon.

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) was a teacher of printmaking and sculptor. Baskin taught printmaking at Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts between 1952 and 1953, where he taught the artists Joyce Reopel and Mel Zabarsky. In 1953, he began what would be a twenty-year career teaching printmaking and sculpture at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was also a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists.

Baskin spent several years in the 1970s in England and it was here that the Chanans met Baskin and his wife shortly after they moved to Lurley Manor, near Tiverton in Devon. The Baskins spent eight months a year at Lurley but returned home to America in 1983. Prior to and during the Lurley period the Baskin family passed the summer months at their other home on Little Deer Isle, off the coast of Maine. In 1983-1984 the Baskins bought a house in Northampton, Massachuesetts, near Smith College, where Baskin had taught for many years. Chanan was a regualr visitor at both homes.


[Text in letter by Chanan received when archive donated.] The photographic prints are not boxed in chronological order, however they are identified. The matted prints have the idents on the verso of the matt. The glassine housed prints have the ident labels on the glassine sleeves. The labels provide the following information:

  1. Date: this is the date of photography, not of the subject, as a work may not have been completed in the same year that it was photographed, though it will generally be close, except where the work was not fully realised.
  2. Titles: these are where possible. Baskin would frequently change titles during or on completion of works. Some were repeated from time to time, even if only temporarily, and Chanan was often unable to verify the final title of a piece.
  3. Number: the identification labels each bear a number which corresponds to Chanan's negative files. Colour prints are unnumbered.
  4. Location: each identification label records the location of the photograph. There are 3 locations: Lurley, near Tiverton, Devon; Little Deer Island, Maine, Mass/Massachusetts, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Cataloguer's note:

  1. The titles/descriptions have been taken from the identification labels as written by Chanan. Descriptions are in speech marks. On some prints there are two labels which contain similar information, the text of both is given. Vintage silver prints MS. 17252 Photogr. 2 and 3 were received framed, the frames have been removed and the identification labels previously on the frame backings are now attached to the rear of the mounts.

Other Finding Aids

Bedi-Makky Art Foundry, Brooklyn, New York have titles for the Baskin sculptures on file.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive was donated to the Library by Chanan in 2019.

Archive of Noel Chanan, photographer
Finding aid prepared by Emma Atkinson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom