Mary Pickford: The Queen of the Silent Film Era
Toronto: George A. Walker, 2020. Number 22 of 35 copies signed and numbered by the book artist. An additional 10 hors commerce copies were made and lettered A–J. In this handsome pictorial biography, noted wood engraver George A. Walker celebrates the life of Mary Pickford (1892-1979), a silent film star whose groundbreaking contributions to the motion picture industry earned her the title ‘Queen of the Movies’. Toronto-born Gladys Louise Smith, who would later come to be known as Mary Pickford, first burst onto the silent-film scene at the tender age of 17. But Pickford was more than just ‘the girl with the curls’. In addition to her acting career—a brilliant success that spanned 52 features—Pickford also helped establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as United Artists studio. In this edition Walker tells the story of Pickford’s life in a sequential narrative not unlike the silent films of old, complete with inter-titles. The 87 black-and-white wood engravings recall the monochromatic media of Pickford’s films, and echo the experience of interpreting stories visually. The number 87 was Pickford’s age when she died and the number 35 (copies of the limited edition) refers to the 35mm film on which silent movies were shot. The engravings are hand printed on 250 gsm Revere Felt mouldmade paper created at the 600 year old Cartiere Magnani mill in Italy.
The book is beautifully bound in blue Asahi silk cloth and is housed in a protective clamshell box with a drawer that contains ephemera from Pickford's career. The ephemera included with this copy include a limited edition engraving that was featured in the book; two small and one larger photograph of Pickford; two postcards of Pickford's birthplace in Toronto and her Beverly Hills home when she was married to actor Douglas Fairbanks; a postcard sized copy of a Pickford movie poster; and an early 20th century Charlie Chaplin film cell. The book features hand marbled end leaves and bevelled cover boards with a wood engraving print sunk into the cover. In fine condition. Book size: 6.25 X 7.5 X 1.75 inches. Unpaginated(160 pages printed recto). PRI/071122.