Riverside, CA: Bo Press Miniature Books, 2018. Hardcover. An interesting miniature book from Pat Sweet's Bo Press. She says: "Our alphabet used to be a lot bigger. It used to include letters like ampersand (and), eng ( the sound at the end of words like 'sing'), and the famous long s, which still puzzles readers of old books when it appears in the middle of words looking like 'f' but sounding like 's'. I've taken eleven of these once well-known letters and given each of them a tiny spotlight: illustrating it against a background of medieval tracery, telling a little of its history, and giving some examples in modern fonts (yes, these old letters still turn up in modern typography. You never know when you'll need a conjoined ae.) The book is printed in Kelmscott and Thryomenes on Monarch superfine paper, and bound in a diagonal pattern of cream colored paper and a gold on red medieval-ish print." In fine condition. It measures 2 5/8 x 2 inches. Unpaginated [56 pages]. PRI/060121. Fine.
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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.
Oldham, England: Incline Press, 2009. Paperback. "U unwillingness, slowness to learn. V is the vomitting the great fish is forced to make our hero change and turn, if only stumblingly, mind not yet open. W's the whale and the gobbling worm. X is exposure to why, Yahweh. Z is the zeal that makes Yahweh squirm" (last page). A chapbook issued to celebrate The Books of Jonah, the summer exhibition at Chetham's Library in Long Millgate, Manchester. Letterpress printed with metal type and illustrated with wood cuts printed in various colors. Bound in marbled paper wrappers with yellow title label to front cover. Clean and bright. Size: 4.5 x 3.5 inches. [8 pages] PRI/120518. Fine.
Paris: L'Adventurine, (2000). Paperback. Very good in dark grey illustrated wrappers with light green title to spine. Laminate is peeling slightly along bottom edge of front wrapper. Light rubbing to covers. Pristine interior featuring examples from eight centuries of ornamental lettering. 379 pages. BOB/102209. Fine.
The Moveable Book Society, 2018. Hardcover. Limited to 2000 copies. From the introduction: "Our 25th anniversary collection, A to Z: Marvels in Paper Engineering, looks ahead to the next generation of paper engineers. The artists were given freedom to explore the mechanism revealing the essence of each letter form. This juried collection was selected from the contributions of many qualified candidates. The collected works of the best and brightest artists hold promise to inspire the future wave of paper engineers." This boxed alphabet production contains 26 folding pop-up cards, each featuring a different letter of the alphabet designed by a different artist. It also includes an introductory pamphlet and a pop-up title page. Each card contains a pop-up letter and on the back includes a photograph of the designer as well as a brief statement about the letter and design choice. Contributors include: Simon Arizpe, Camille Magaud, Peter Dahmen, Dorothy Yule, Eric Broekhuis, Yoojin Kim, Jess Tice-Gilbert, Angelo Ferrari, Lena Ignestam, Hiromi Takeda, Rob Kelly, Courtney McCarthy, Wai-Yin Kwan, Kelli Anderson, Kyle Olmon, Maike Bierderstaedt, Aurore Le Vilain, Julie Charvet, Isabel Uria, Sheila Hirata, Shelby Arnold, Damien Prudhomme, Shawn Sheehy, Katherine Belsey, Tina Yeung, Yevgeniya Yeretskaya, and Bruce Foster. The box and logo were designed by Isabel Uria. The box is approximately 8.5 x 6.5 x 4 inches. It is covered in glossy blue paper with gilt title to spine and front panels. It has a magnetic closure and a pull ribbon attached to the clasp. Minor rubbing to panels of covers and some cards. Unpaginated. ARTB/101718. Fine.
Washington: Wiesedruck, 2018. Hardcover. Number 29 of 40 copies that included five deluxe copies. Vogel Totentanz is a bird dance of death alphabet book inspired by Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death woodcut alphabet. After the Black Plague ravaged Europe in the late 14th century, death as inevitable regardless of status or age became a pervasive motif in art and literature. My present-day Totentanz is a reflection of that idea in context of our environmental crisis. Birds are indicator species for overall environmental health and human well-being [from the artist's website]. The 29 etchings were drawn from specimens at the Cashmere Museum, the Wenatchee Valley College collection, and the Burke Museum in Washington State along with other found remains. Diotima types were used throughout. The text was letterpress printed on Zerkall Book paper by Arthur Larson of Horton Tank Graphics. This regular edition is bound in a bird-footprint-etching printed blue paper and housed in a slipcase. Binding and slipcase by Claudia Cohen. In fine condition. Measures 6.875 x 5.5 inches. Etchings are 2.5 x 2.5 inches. [60 pages.] PRI/122121. Fine.