Riverside, CA: Bo Press Miniature Books, 2020. Hardcover. Number 15 of 24 copies. Signed and numbered by Pat Sweet. She writes: “The English Toy Theatre” is the first book devoted to this charming souvenir of the Victorian stage since George Speaight’s “A History of the English Toy Theatre” in 1946. With texts by artist and toy theatre enthusiast Tom Knechtel and illustrations drawn from Knechtel’s extensive collection of toy theatre sheets, it is a beautifully detailed portrait of the 19th century English stage as seen through the lens of a children’s pastime.The book is, in itself, a theatrical performance, as it moves from surprise to surprise, from tableau to spectacle. It is the most ambitious book in Bo Press’s history of creating books that entertain us while challenging our preconceptions of what the book is. The three-volume set is in a limited edition of 24, with the first volume (the one with the history) produced as an unlimited edition The book consists of three volumes in a black moire silk-covered slipcase, each volume bound in the Union Jack with black moire silk spines. The first volume consists of a history of the toy theatre and its publishers, a short memoir by Knechtel of how he fell in love with the theatre, and a fragment from a toy theatre play. There are numerous black and white illustrations with colored endpapers drawn from the theatre. The second volume is an elaborate set of black and white pop-up scenes from toy theatre plays, which culminates in an anarchic recreation of one of the surreal pantomimes that are such a feature of toy theatre plays. The third volume is a portfolio which, when opened, reveals a complete toy theatre in glorious color. The theatre includes a curtain which can be raised and a trick in the pantomime taking place on stage. (The proscenium was painted by Knechtel and includes an orchestra of cats.) Below the stage is a small pocket containing a tiny book , “The Toy Theatre in Performance,” which describes how the theatre actually worked." The books are 2 7/8 x 2 1/8 inches. The slipcase is 3 3/8 x 2 5/8 x 2 1/8." In fine condition. PRI/060121. Fine.
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Riverside, CA: Bo Press Miniature Books, 2014. This is a welcome reissue of one of Pat Sweet's most inventive miniature works. "Welcome to Hell" comprises twelve pieces of Hellish ephemera that play with some of the images and ideas of the infernal regions from popular culture. The result is a surprisingly humorous and engaging production. Pat described it as one of her most fun projects ever. She writes: "Most religions have discarded the idea of a retributive afterlife, but the idea remains in the popular consciousness as folk belief. Images of old-time Hell are much more common than those of Heaven: Dante invented a whole complex gradation of torments for an exactly sorted list of sins. But grinning devils with pitchforks continue to poke burning sinners, and Satan continues to offer shady your-soul-for-your heart's desire deals in folk tales and legends." The items are stored inside a shopping bag labeled "Welcome to Hell." Your goody bag from Hell includes: Welcome To Hell! (with FAQs! - for example, "Am I really here for all of eternity?" "Yes") A Gallery of Hell (Hell in famous paintings) Visitor's Book (Yes, some people get to leave) Hellhounds of the Underworld (Hell has a surprising number of dogs) Go To Hell (a board game for sinners of all ages) Devil Cards (collect 'em all!) Seven Deadly Sins Post Cards ( by Bruegel) Hotel Grand Pandemonium dinner menu (Annual Famous Last Meals Banquet),an extra gameboard, Hellmouth Pop-up Cards (three thrilling maws) Maps of Hell (maps of Dante's Hell). Also included is a complimentary fan - Hot Enough For Ya? - with picture of devil's head - not that it would do much good. The bag is 3 x 2 3/8 x 1 3/8 inches. The items in the bag vary in size but are all miniature. In fine condition. PRI/060121. Fine.