A Folio Society limited edition
Illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk
The ultimate collector’s edition of Lewis Carroll’s immortal tale, featuring wonderful new illustrations by the acclaimed artist Charles van Sandwyk.
'Flawless execution, every page is a delight.'
Courtesy of BBD&P Awards
The Folio Society presents a glorious new edition of Lewis Carroll’s immortal tale, illustrated by the acclaimed artist Charles van Sandwyk. With a vellum binding blocked in real gold, exquisite typography and a hand-printed etching signed by the illustrator; this is in series with the limited edition of The Wind in the Willows.
Filled with outlandish creatures and quizzical conversations, its apparent nonsense underpinned by its own curious logic, Alice in Wonderland is surely the most imaginative tale ever written. Perhaps the most adapted and appropriated story on earth, Alice has been translated into no fewer than 176 languages, including Cockney, Middle Breton and three of the languages of Zimbabwe. Its characters were so memorably defined by John Tenniel in the first edition that all subsequent illustrators are presented with an exceptional challenge. No artist is better suited to meet it than Charles van Sandwyk, who reveres the work of his great predecessor, yet is able to bring to the story a sense of the absurd brilliance in depicting animals, and his own special whimsicality which is so in tune with the spirit of Carroll.
‘If I think back to what Alice meant to me as a child, it was both the story and the wonderful drawings by Tenniel which inspired me to draw – and recreate – the characters for myself. Little did I know that one day my White Rabbits and Frogs in Wigs would grace the pages of such a splendid edition.’
For this lavish edition Charles has created 11 wonderful new colour illustrations, all tipped in by hand within elaborate gold borders. Added to these are a multitude of pen-and-ink drawings – many incorporating his charming calligraphy – portraying the book’s memorable characters with unfailing wit and tenderness.
From the careful choice of printing inks to the details of the binding, each element of this new edition has been designed to reflect the magic of Carroll’s incomparable story.
The solander box is bound in cloth, with a beautifully lettered spine label. Opening the box, we find the book itself, bound with a vellum spine, blocked in 24-carat gold. The paper sides are blocked in four foils with a confection of images from the book, centred on the dapper White Rabbit sporting a spangled red waistcoat beneath his gold topcoat. Within the book is a limitation spread blocked in dark brown and gold on two shades of laid paper, with a tipped-in etching numbered and signed by the artist. The title page is a grand affair in the best golden-age tradition, featuring the supercilious Caterpillar, smoking his hookah.
The text is printed in warm black ink, chosen to harmonise both with the gold decorations and with the cream-laid paper on which they are printed; and each chapter opens with an elaborate dropped initial, all different, all intertwined with motifs from the chapter in question – the Rabbit’s watch and tiny kid-gloves; the Queen’s roses; a tureen of mock turtle soup – all highlighted with gold. Alice is famous for its typographic jokes (the mouse’s tail is a source of fun for designers of every edition), and in this edition there are plenty more. The endpapers are printed letterpress with an array of freshly imagined images of the most famous scenes – the artist’s invention seems limitless.
A little Victoriana
Also featured in this edition are a series of ‘scraps’ that hark back to the Victorian pastime of collecting small cut-out pictures into albums or ‘scrapbooks’. Again lovingly created by Charles, these miniature colour illustrations can be found scattered throughout the book, carefully cut out and tipped into place.
Charles van Sandwyk has been compared to artists as diverse as Arthur Rackham, E. H. Shepard and Beatrix Potter – and such diversity serves to underline just how individual and original a creative force he is. Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, he taught himself calligraphy and intaglio printing as a teenager. His first self-published book appeared when he was just 20, and won a national award. Since then his work has been archived by the National Library of Canada and treasured by private collectors across the world. He has written and illustrated numerous books, such as How to See Fairies, Sketches from the Dream Island of Birds and Animal Wisdom. Filled with intricately imagined worlds, these beguiling creations reflect his love of animals, and his quiet mission to exalt the joyful, the peaceful and the beautiful in life.
A new book from Charles van Sandwyk is an event to be celebrated. In over a dozen years of working with The Folio Society there have been just three, and all are masterpieces. Charles’s edition of The Blue Fairy Book, published in 2003, is still in print, and remains the most popular title in our Rainbow series. His Wind in the Willows, of which former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has said – ‘In almost 100 years since its first publication, I doubt there has been a finer edition’ – was published in 2005, with a limited edition following three years later: year after year it tops the list of the most sought after Folio titles.
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Review by AliceF10 on 2nd Sep 2016
"I was so excited when I learned that Alice would be produced as a LE by the FS. I have many copies of this book, illustrated by 54 different illustrators and Charles Van Sandwyk is definitely my favou..." [read more]
Review by anon on 5th Aug 2016
"Fantastic book! The illustrations, the materials and the overall impression are all exquisite! I have a large collection of Alice books, and this copy is now the jewel of my collection. I was luck..." [read more]
Review by rozeerox on 5th Jun 2016
"This is the most beautiful edition of Alice in Wonderland I have ever seen. It is wonderfully bound and the illustrations are stunning and plentiful. The photographs do not do it justice, it really ..." [read more]