Tonight we take a look quite far back in our history to 1981 and to a very special collection of prints, The Alphabet Suite. This collection of 26 prints followed on from ‘The Calendar Suite’ in 1976 and was quite an undertaking.

The list of artists is as impressive as the results and it contains work by:
Malcolm Appleby, Donald Addison, Carmen Ambrozevich, Brian Blacklaws, Joan Burgoyne, Joyce Cairns, Stewart Cordiner, Charlie Coward, Alan Cowie, Andy Dewar, Lennox Dunbar, Hilary Duthie, Wilma Duthie, Beth Fisher, Alexander Fraser, Ian Howard, Stuart Johnstone, Jim Livingstone, Stuart MacDonald, David MacNeil, Bel MCoig, Paul Ritchie, Peter Smith, Eric Spiller, Arthur Watson & Gilbert Watt.

The Alphabet Suite – brochure, 1981


The original brochure from has the following description:
“The Alphabet Suite was prepared in late 1980 by Malcolm McCoig as a major project for Peacock Printmakers in the following year. A list of over 70 artists, all with some connection to the North-East was drawn up, and from this a final selection of 26 was made. All but one accepted the invitation and a substitute for him was quickly found. We consciously made the decision to include as wide a range of artists as possible; painters, sculptors, designers, illustrators, a jeweller and a photographer; all with different levels of printmaking experience, from professional printers through experienced printmakers to those who had never made a print before.

We started the first print at Easter and initial progress seemed very slow, with most artists working on their designs in their studio, and only a few coming in for an occasional consultation with one of the printers. Of course at this time other projects were also being worked on and the completion date for the Alphabet seemed a long way off. Gradually, however the ideas started to trickle in and, as the Alphabet came to take up more and more of our time, it was tremendously exciting to see the suite taking shape. Now that the prints are complete we are amazed at the inventiveness of the artists in finding so many solutions to the same problem.”

The Alphabet Suite excerpt from Peacock 21 publication.


They were printed in an edition of 60 and were available for £10 each or £200 for the suite. Unfortunately we don’t have any left, especially at 80’s pricing!

The descriptions in the brochure show the variety of techniques that went into this tour de force of printmaking and it must have been quite the sight to behold in its entirety.


Stewart Cordiner printing William Duthie’s lithograph for the suite, 1981