Friday, 8th January 2016

blog_crateIt has been a momentous week, with one major project finally coming to an end, and another getting under weigh. Just before Christmas, this imposing crate was delivered by a specialist fine art shipper. It had been sent from Canada by Charles van Sandwyk, and contained 500 signed etchings for Alice in Wonderland. These are now at the binder, who will deliver the first batch of books next week. An early copy has arrived already, and can be examined in our bookshop. Alice in Wonderland Folio Society edition
Yesterday I travelled to Lancashire to witness the first proofing trial for our reproduction of the Bayeux tapestry. Not only were we checking that the printed result would be effective on the unusual paper we had chosen, but were also faced with an unusual technical challenge: would it be possible to align the individual sections of the tapestry so that the entire 50-yard length would be printed seamlessly? blog_bayeuxI’m glad to say that the result exceeded all expectations – however hard you look, the joins are absolutely invisible. (In the photo above, the black felt-tip marks show where one digital file butts up to the next.) I am now fully confident that we can bring this project off, and will take a proof to Bayeux soon to compare it to the original.
Dummy copies of two other limited editions have also arrived in the past few days. One is for Plants of America: here below is a photo of the blocked cloth for the case sides, prior to binding. blog_plants1The most extraordinary feature of this book – and the reason why only about 30 copies were ever produced – is that every plate is painted by hand. This means that every page of every copy is subtly different; on the title-pages, however, the artists really went to town and produced strikingly different designs. We will be reproducing all the variants in our commentary volume, and here are a few of them: it must be remembered that all the lettering on these pages is not typeset, not engraved, but hand-drawn. blog_plants_montage2
The other new dummy is for The Door in the Wall, the volume of science fiction stories on which H. G. Wells collaborated with the photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn. Here is a photo of the solander box, featuring the eponymous door. blog_doorinthewallWhilst Wells's attitude to religion and the supernatural was complex to say the least, there can be no doubt that Coburn deeply believed in the spiritual world, and that the Door was an important symbol for him – as it was for William Blake, who wrote: 'In the universe, there are things that are known and things that are unknown, and in between there are doors.'