Friday, 13 September 2013

Van SandwykI had a visit yesterday from Charles van Sandwyk, who has come over from Vancouver to research his latest project. This collection of objects I found on my desk after he left gives some clues as to what the project is – though the badger and the mole are red herrings.   Horace blockingAnother treat this week was the arrival of the bound dummy for our facsimile of William Morris’s manuscript of the Odes of Horace. The edge decoration and the leather and vellum doublures require extremely precise paring of the leather and foil-blocking, and the binders Smith Settle have done a superb job. Six SunflowersMartin Bailey, who edited some ‘greatest’ art books for Folio a few years ago, has just published his important work on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers – The Sunflowers are Mine. Among the surprises he has unearthed is this fabulous print of six sunflowers produced in Japan in 1921. Van Gogh’s original painting was destroyed by allied bombing during the war, but this print fortunately survived, and is held by the Mushakoji Saneatsu Museum near Tokyo. Martin would like to find out what printing process is likely to have been used.  In my opinion the saturated colour and lack of discernible dot structure suggest collotype, but if anyone has other ideas do let me know. Also, if anyone knows of any other copies of this remarkable print, do share the knowledge. Many thanks to everyone who responded to my comments on the Poetic Edda. I’m now wondering whether to include the Prose Edda in the same volume – since Suorri’s text was designed to facilitate understanding of the Eddic verses it seems to make sense to bring them together. Tom Phillips’s new exhibition at Flowers Gallery in Cork Street consists of beautiful collages made from cut up pieces of his used disposable palettes. The most striking (and one I find particularly apt as I enter my seventh decade) is this exhortation – In the days that remainWaste Not Tom Phillips waste not the remains of the day The statement, and the art in which it is embodied, are indivisible, and form a keystone in Tom’s remarkable output. Finally, the periodical Studies in Illustration issue 54, published by IBIS (the Imaginative Book Illustration Society) contains an interesting and perceptive article by Geoffrey Beare on Folio Society illustrations. You can order a copy by following this link.