Full leather binding in fair goat that was hand dyed and stencilled with acrylic inks and tooled with five shades of metallic foil. Edges are stencilled and there are blue silk endbands. The endpapers were designed in Photoshop using 1950’s science fiction images and printed on air-brushed Zerkall paper.
The design is based on a traditional Bornean tattoo and with the tooling I’ve tried to capture the essence of the illustrated man: “… the pictures glowed …. Like scattered rubies and emeralds”.
The History of Tommy and Harry
The History of Tommy and Harry
An English chapbook of circa. 1830 with eight wood-engravings
Printed by J. Kendrew, Colliergate, York, UK.
11cm x 8cm
A copy belonging to McGill University, Toronto, Canada has been digitised:
A non-adhesive binding in slate veneer secured by four 18 carat gold staples. The endpapers are of light- and dark-blue Moriki Kozo handmade Japanese paper and light-brown Rushcombe Mill handmade paper.
This is a moralizing tale of two brothers. Tommy is obedient to his parents, works hard and has loyal friends, unlike Harry who is idle and sinful. When they grow up Tommy becomes a successful business man but Harry falls amongst thieves, is condemned to prison but escapes by ship. However, he is shipwrecked on the Barbary coast and is eaten by wild animals. A lesson to us all!
Although of course no-one is either completely good or completely bad.
Exhibited in "Les Pages Bien Gardee" curated by Sun Evrard at the 'Salon du Livre Rares', Grand Palais, Paris. April 1918
“Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems”
Illustrated by Jane Lydbury
Folio Society, 2016
I think there are basically two ways to approach the design for a book of poetry it, one being to treat the collection in its totality, either the prevailing mood and structure of the verse or the life and character of the poet. The other route is to choose a particular poem and use that as your inspiration. Initially I was thinking about the latter approach with the poem “Wild Nights”, however as soon as you open a book of Emily Dickinson’s poetry one of the first things that strikes you is her liberal use of dashes which she uses to emphasize, indicate a missing word, or to replace a comma or full stop.
With this in mind I decided to use the dash as the basis of the endpaper design. I initially printed a background texture (photograph of a section of wall at Pompeii) and then added a collage of her poetry. On top of that I added rectangles of Japanese paper of various sizes to represent the words and hyphens. Once they were stuck down I sanded the back of the paper to reduce their prominence (rather like back-paring a leather onlay).
During my research I had already come across Emily’s signature in her very distinctive handwriting and had decided to use it as my title on the spine and I then decided to reject the “Wild Nights” element and instead use pertinent words from her verse as the main part of the design.
To get the shade of red I wanted for the base colour I used a piece of Hewit’s fair goat that I dyed with two shades of spirit dye. I then made lino-cuts of the words I was going to use. The title was impressed into the leather before covering but the rest were done on the covered book – scary! The whole of the book was then covered in 22 carat gold leaf which when dry was sanded off in order to get the right balance between the gold and the red.
Initially that was going to be the binding finished but on reflection I felt it needed an element of formality adding, which was when I went back to the endpaper design and decided to add the impressed black line work.
The binding won “The Ash Rare Books Lettering Award” in the 2017 DB annual competition.
THE NEW HOUSE
Wood engravings by Sarah Chamberlain
Rebecca Press, 1989
This is a miniature book bound using various shades of red and brown leather and suede. Blind-tooled lines painted with black acrylic and gold tooling.
The New House is a short poem about how a new house ages with its owners and becomes a repository of memories. The design is based around the idea of new and old doors.
Private collection, USA
THE BOOK I'VE READ BEFORE
Charles R. Ballard
The Limited Editions Club, New York, 1972
A single-section staple binding with a stone veneer cover. Endpapers of Satogami Japanese paper. The staples are 18ct gold and there is gold and palladium tooling.
“The Book I’ve Read Before” is a poem about the joy of returning to a favourite book instead of the countless new ones vying for attention. The design plays with the idea of the circular ousting the linear.
The Clothworkers' Prize for Open Choice Book Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition, 2017
Private Collection UK
A Shropshire Lad
A. E. Housman
Wood engravings by Nicholas Parry
Tern Press, 1990. Number 138 of 225, signed by Nicholas and Mary Parry
The book is untrimmed and bound in grey Harmatan goatskin. There are hand-sewn silk endbands and the top edge is treated with graphite. The endpapers and paper doublures are air-brushed with a leaf design.
The stylized trees are tooled in 23.5 carat gold and Caplain – an alloy of 80% gold, 4% silver and the remaining 16% a mixture of palladium and platinum. It won’t tarnish and is more expensive than gold!
The design of the binding was inspired by the poem “Bredon Hill” with its landscape of trees and dry-stone walls. In the summer
My love and I would lie
And see the coloured counties
And hear the larks so high
But then winter comes, the writer’s love dies
They tolled the one bell only
Groom there was none to see
The mourners followed after
And so to church went she.
and we are plunged into a world of grief.
Winner of the Harmatan Leather Award for Finishing, Society of Bookbinders International Competition, 2017
A panel of slate veneer tooled in 23.5 carat gold.
100 x 100mm
Private collection, Germany
Folio Society, 2015
The book has hand-painted endpapers and doublures with gold tooling. The edges are painted and sprinkled with gold and there are hand-sewn silk endbands.
The book is bound in full blue Harmatan goat with dyed and sprayed recessed onlays. The tooling is in gold and Caplain.
“At her birth all nine of the moving heavens were in perfect relationship to one another.” Dante and Beatrice were born into a world of the Ptolemaic system when lives were believed to be strongly influenced by the stars and astrology.
Winner of the Sally Lou Smith Prize for Forwarding, Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition, 2016
Venus and Adonis
Venus and Adonis
Illustrations by Rockwell Kent
The Printing House of Leo Hart, Rochester, USA, 1931
280 x 215 x 25mm
Bound in burgundy goatskin with a scarf-jointed section of white that has been sprayed, then edged with gold and Caplain.
Despite the best efforts of Venus, Adonis is obsessed with hunting. He is gored to death and his blood is transformed into anemones, their white petals splashed with red.
Sewing the sections on to linen tapes
Sewing the silk endbands
Making a template for the central piece of dyed leather
SWEET THAMES RUN SOFTLY
Wood Engravings by the Author
J M Dent and Sons, 1940. First Edition
Blue Harmatan goatskin with tooling in gold, moongold, palladium, and carbon
Private Collection, USA
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
Endpapers of red Mingeishi paper. Rough edge gilt in Caplan (an alloy of gold, silver, palladium, and platinum). Covered in full black goatskin with red and white inlays and onlays and Caplan tooling
The design seeks to convey the gradual disintegration of Holly's world as the "mean reds" take over and "pearls roll in the gutter".