With everyone from Eye Magazine to Birds of Ohio talking about Enid Marx, her designs, and her prominence in the fabulous exhibition at Compton Verney (through 15 December 2013) we thought it might be fun to show a few of her illustrations from our 1996 chapbook Who Killed Cock Robin. These tiny wood engravings, printed from the wood, re-use the blocks she cut for Nursery Rhymes (Chatto & Windus, 1939). They make a amusing contrast with the large linocuts she produced for Marco’s Animal Alphabet, yet for all the difference in size, they share her trademark energetic cutting and her ability to use simple black and white contrast to good effect.
We printed this at Marco’s request, so that she could give them to her many nieces and nephews. But there are no limits on an edition when you’re doing proper chapbook printing, so we printed LOTS and then bound these baby chapbooks in brightly coloured paper with poor cock robin printed in red on the cover. Graham vividly remembers sewing copies on the train as he made his way back to London to deliver the finished product, trying to keep from stabbing himself with the needle as the train jerked and swayed! Copies are still available on the website; we think they make lovely gifts.
O.k., we admit it. We’ve been hopeless at keeping up this blog. You know the story: a book long past deadline, too many conflicting printerly commitments, chaos on the home front… Stuff, as they say, happens (or something like that). Months go by, and the blog slips farther and farther down the lengthening to-do list.
Then, last month, Nancy Nitzberg sent us this photo, and with one email reminded us why we are keeping this blog. Nancy’s design binding of Walking Around Cambridge with William Blake captures and enhances that blend of 19th and 21st-century poetry and place that Graham envisioned when he asked illustrator Rose Harries to take a copy of that poem with her as she brought her sketchbook and pencil to the streets of Cambridge.
My intention is to use tangible artifacts related to the original work to subtly connect the reader to the text and illustrations within, without overshadowing the literary content.
Dark blue goatskin with onlays comprised of a vintage English textile designed by William Morris (produced by Liberty of London). The textile is arranged to create a “Cambridge style” panel motif; gold-tooled design elements. Marbled endpapers (nonpareil pattern) made by Payhembury of Cambridgeshire, England. Leather joints, hand-sewn silk endbands. Gold-stamped spine label (with some tooling). The text block was sewn with linen thread on three cords that were laced into the boards. The choice of English materials reflects the English origin of the printed work (that of the author, illustrator and printer), and the colors of ink used for the images.
Nancy’s binding is part of the trienniel Helen Warren DeGolyer exhibition of design binding at Bridwell Library of Southern Methodist University this summer. An electronic version of this exhibition can be seen here.
A few copies of Cambridge are still available on our website