Easthampton, MA: Cheloniidae Press, 1982. Hardcover. UNIQUE COPY WITH A SET OF THE 26 ORIGINAL PENCIL DRAWINGS BY ALAN JAMES ROBINSON. There were 300 copies of this book published; 200 were regular copies, 50 were deluxe copies with quarter leather binding and 50 others bound in full leather. The deluxe editions were issued with a set of proofs of the wood engravings and a set of proofs of the line-cut initials, with a large calligraphic manuscript initial beneath each image. The wood engraving proofs are lettered and signed by Robinson, and the line-cut proofs are signed both by Robinson and the calligrapher, Elizabeth Curtis. This copy shows some variation from the copies described in the prospectus. The colophon has been signed and numbered VI of L and internally seems to be a straightforward copy of the deluxe full leather edition. The binding varies somewhat from that pictured in the prospectus but uses many of the same elements. Also, the chemise is thicker that the regular chemise because it contains the 26 pencil drawings. This may have been a special copy prepared by Robinson for a particular subscriber/collector. This wonderful abecedary illustrates each letter of the alphabet with a masterful wood engraving by Robinson. Each animal is described at the bottom of its page in texts chosen primarily from the earliest first-hand accounts of the animal depicted. The descriptions are printed in red. The printed source of each text is identified, and at the end of the book there is a detailed and useful bibliography of these sources. A page with a small, different illustration of the animal precedes each animal’s page, with the calligraphic letter written in red by Curtis. The animals depicted are often wondrous and strange, and some, such as the basilisk, may never have actually existed. This is a two volume folio (including a chemise containing an additional suite of illustrations, and the group of original pencil drawings). The bound volume is in full red morocco, done by David Bourbeau of the Thistle Bindery. The covers have a large central, slightly sunken panel, with the title in red and black and with a Sea Turtle device blocked in blind (Cheloniidae is the name for a species of sea turtles). The proofs contained in the chemise are unbound as issued within the original red morocco-backed, linen cloth covered boards. Both volumes are housed in a red morocco-backed cloth covered box, with the spine lettered and dated in gilt and a small Sea Turtle device in blind. “The blocks were cut by the artist at the Cheloniidae Press & printed by Harold P. McGrath in the summer of 1982.... Mackenzie-Harris set the types in monotype with some hand-setting by Arthur Larson. The text was compiled and annotated by Laurie Block. The hand calligraphy is by Betsy Curtis. The paper is Rives lightweight” (from the colophon). The 8-page prospectus is laid in. A remarkable production from this press. In fine condition. PRI/020112. Fine.
San Jose, CA: Prose and Letters Press, 2004. Hardcover. Number 24 of 50 copies. Signed and numbered by the artist. This printed book is based on a unique hand painted book by the artist. Bound accordion style in Lokta paper covered boards with hand painted gold accents and leather and bead closure. The inspiration for this book was the Lithuanian-American archaeologist, Marija Gimbutas (1921 - 1994), known for her research on the Neolithic and Bronze age cultures of Europe. Gimbutas theorized that the first writing predated Sumerian businessmen by a few thousand years, and instead grew out of symbolic marks on ritual objects made to venerate the Great Goddess in Old Europe. Artist, Cari Ferraro, was heavily influenced by this theory and created an alphabet style based on Marija's catalog of marks which she has used in this book. The background painting on all of the pages uses symbols found in the 5000-year passage grave Newgrange in Ireland, whose meaning has never been fully understood. The design is intended to feel like a cave wall with ancient symbols and writing. The text reads "The first writing/ not merely scribble/ devised by accountants to track livestock or record property/ the first writing/ made to track the moon/ inscribe spirit/ praise for the great mother." An attractive book. [10 pages] ARTB/042108. Fine.