Monday, December 21, 2009

Miniature Books, A Outrance and Snow

I have been working on a miniature book recently. I had already engraved a panorama of Ely from the village and engraved a title page:

...and a colophon on separate blocks:

These were printed in the small Albion press to make a very wide image which I trimmed and folded, concertina fashion, to form the inside of the book:

The case of the book was cut from card and covered in various paste papers. I used thin ribbon at the spine. This was tied into bows to hold the book together.

Here is the finished book. I will explain the ribbons in a moment:

With the ribbons tied, you can open the book as normal:

However, if you untie the ribbons, you can open the book to see the whole panorama:

These books will shortly be available from my website.

Tuesday saw a long drive over to Oxford. We spent the afternoon in the Pitt Rivers Museum, a unique institution and then wandered around town as night started to fall. Then it was time to head for the Bodleian Library where A Outrance was being launched in the wonderful setting of the Divinity School:

Philip Pullman gave a wonderful reading from the extract of his novel, ending with a marvellous bear's roar!

Bruce from the Oak Tree Fine Press then spoke about the great needs of children suffering from the effects of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. All of the proceeds from the sale of the books goes towards this cause.

I had seen the letterpress edition on Somerset paper at the Oxford Fine Press Fair and, despite the high price (but all for a very good cause), I decided that I had to have a copy of my own. The next day, I was able to spend some time with this beautiful volume which arrived snug in a slipcase:

It is a very handsome volume, half bound in leather:

With a wonderful hand marbled paper:

Opening the book, the engravings and letterpressed type look wonderful against the textured paper:

My decorated capital letters look particularly good with the use of red and black type:

Red type also adorns the pages where there are full page engravings:

Philip Pullman has added a line from the text and his signature underneath the engraved portrait by engraver and blockmaker Chris Daunt:

The top edges of the pages are gilt:

In the back of the book is a collection of the six full page engravings:

All signed by the artists and author:

One of my engravings was not used in the text but, instead, appears as a gold image:

All in all, this is a most beautiful addition to my bookshelves. Copies are still available from the Oak Tree Fine Press.

Luckily, the weather was fine on Tuesday and the drives to and from Oxford were uneventful. Since then, we have had snow for several days and I have enjoyed several walks through the lanes and droves:

This will be my last post before Christmas. I send every good wish to you at Christmas and for the New Year.