Easthampton MA: Cheloniidae Press, 2014. Hardcover. Number 15 of 150 copies. Signed and numbered by the book artist Alan James Robinson. This wildflower alphabet book is the first book issued by Alan’s highly regarded Cheloniidae Press in several years, and the first produced using the Giclee printing process, which he calls a “new direction” in our ever changing world. It is intended to be the first in a series of Natural History Abecedary Editions. There is also a Fine Art edition of Wildflowers with twenty-eight original watercolors. The illustrations for this Giclee edition are printed from the artwork created for the Fine Art watercolor edition. The illustrations in this edition show the lovely renditions of a flower, often accompanied by a butterfly or other insect, for each letter of the alphabet. Each page is headed by a calligraphic letter in red, designed originally by Master Calligrapher Suzanne Moore for the press’s A Fowl Alphabet in 1986. This accordion style book is bound in pale yellow cloth with the title in gilt to the front cover. It is housed in a green cloth slipcase with the title in gilt to the spine. In fine condition. 8.5 x 5 inches. Unpaginated. PRI/071817. Fine.
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San Diego: Anne Covell, 2017. Paperback. Number 9 of 20 standard copies. There were also five deluxe and two artist copies of this beautifully conceived and executed work. Anne Covell is a book artist and hand papermaker living in San Diego, CA. She has studied Asian and Western papermaking techniques with Timothy Barrett, and has taught for numerous professional organizations including the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory, Penland School of Crafts, and the University of Georgia study abroad program in Cortona, Italy, among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally and can be seen in a growing list of private collections, special collections libraries, and museums worldwide. In her colophon Anne writes: "I first became interested in the Japanese beetle in 2012 during a particularly hot and dry summer in Iowa City. Perhaps it was a result of the season or of my having moved to a new home ripe with some of the beetle's most preferred foods, but I became overwhelmed by its pervasive, relentless assault on my garden. As the summer wore on, I began finding leaf remains gathering at the bases of trees...as if it were fall. Their presence was out of place; out of season. But when I began to look more closely, what struck me was the beauty of form that the beetle had inadvertently left behind. Starved of oxygen and drained of color, these leaf skeletons would soon crumble and return to the earth. But, for a moment they existed between realms and reflected a loss that spoke to the complexity of the natural world." The book contains 12 folios of 100% Japanese Gampi hand-dyed with persimmon tannin and treated with konnyaku to mimic the sound and texture of withering foliage. The illustrations of leaves, berries, and twigs were letterpress printed from drawings by Anne. Housed in a stiff brown paper envelope, with paper handmade, hand dyed, and hand burnished with persimmon tannin by the artist. Measures 4.5 x 10 inches. Fine condition. ARTISTSB/010421. Fine.
Santa Cruz: n.d. This is an undated original photograph taken by Bill Richards, a Santa Cruz fisherman and photographer. The mounted photograph captures a blue whale breaching almost its entire length amidst sea birds swimming and fluttering over the water. On the back of the photo is a mimeographed sheet of paper recounting how Richards captured the picture after trying for over fifty years to "jump" his own whale out in the ocean and photograph him. Finally the day came. While out fishing off the coast of Santa Cruz, Richards spied a sooty cloud of "whale birds" through his binoculars and knew they must be following a whale. And so they were - a big "Sulphur Bottom Bull - a blue whale - all of seventy feet long and easily weighing seventy-five tons. Richards was able to get within 200 feet and watch him feed on thousands of sardines. But then a life or death drama ensued. A pair of killer whales, orcas, went by the boat toward the blue whale. Orcas are fast and ferocious and travel in small pods. Although much smaller, a few of them are capable of killing the largest of whales. They attacked this whale, causing him to rise out of the ocean in a mighty effort to escape. It was during this battle that Richards was able to get his prized photograph. The combat was continuing as the boat returned to shore. Richards writes that this was "probably the only photograph ever secured of the largest living creature know, taken in his native element, in a battle for existence." Given the mimeographed text and reference to Plastigmant camera lenses, the photograph probably dates from the 1950s. The photo is mounted on a bedraggled piece of grey cardboard, with the inscription "To my friend Charlie Bosworth from Bill Richards" written in white ink under the photo. The photo is in very good condition save for three marks that might have occurred during processing. They do not affect the image of the whale. It measures 8.5 x 10.5 inches. A unique item in very good condition. PHOTO/062719. Very Good.
Rutland, VT: Shattuck Studios, 2000. Number 1 of 5 copies signed by the book artist. This is an inventive work from well-known artist Carolyn Shattuck that displays her skill in using various book structures to convey meaning and context in the books she creates. She writes: Save the Rhinos was designed to bring awareness of their struggle as the population is rapidly declining due mainly to poachers. Her text describes the ongoing loss of these magnificent animals and the desperate efforts of those trying to save them. Despite these efforts, the Rhino Recovery Fund in South Africa estimates a rhino is killed every fifteen hours. They are sought because of the believe that powdered rhino horn has medicinal value and because the horn is valued in traditional Chinese culture as a symbol of wealth. Her design uses a flag book structure from which three origami rhinos, a giraffe, and three wildebeests are walking the grasslands of Africa when the book is opened. They are made with Lofta origami papers as well as Canson Mi Teinte, and Strathmore watercolor papers. The binding is a plain grey with an orange spine title label and a white title label, signed and numbered by Carolyn. The work is housed in a black stiff paper slipcase with an orange title label to cover. In fine condition. Measures 13.5 x 7.5 x 3 inches in slipcase. New York Times Article from 1/6/21 about rhino extinction: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/magazine/the-last-two-northern-white-rhinos-on-earth.htmlARTISTSBOOK121520. Fine.
New York: The Natural Science Association of America, 1903. Hardcover. In addition to writing, printing, painting, and studying nature, Jacob Studer (1840 - 1904) founded the Board of Trade in Columbus, Ohio. This folio volume includes 119 colored artistic plates, originally drawn by Theodore Jasper for an earlier edition, which represent different species drawn and colored from nature. The book includes “a copious text giving a popular account of their habits and characteristics, based on observations made in the field by the most eminent writers on ornithology.” The text and illustrations are prefaced by a systematic table and index arranged according to the classification adopted by The American Ornithologists’ Union. Bound in three quarter maroon leather with black cloth boards and gilt title to spine and front board. Large chip to foot of spine, front joint is starting, rubbing to boards, and minor wear to edges. Light browning to margins and occasional spots of foxing, otherwise the interior is clean and bright. 182 pages plus 119 plates and index. NAT/110609. Very Good.