Eric Ravilious: Landscape, Letters & Design
by Anne Ullmann, Christopher Whittick and Simon Lawrence
The acclaim which met Ravilious at War has spurred the preparation of a companion volume showing all Ravilious' murals and painted work which he produced upto the outbreak of war in 1939. Ravilious at War began with the group of six paintings of chalk figures in landscape settings, and it is appropriate that the new book ends with this group, a high-point and at the same time, turning-point in Ravilious' career. The text is comprised of selected correspondence: from Ravilious' early art school days (when his irrepressibly humorous friend Douglas Percy Bliss wrote to fill him in with news of college life), through friendships with Cecilia Dunbar Kilburn, Helen Binyon, Edward Bawden, Percy Horton, John and Christine Nash, and many more (some more intimate than others). The letters relate a little less directly to the paintings than in Ravilious at War, but give us a very good view of the artist's life in all its aspects. A separate prospectus is available while supplies last.
The book is a phenomenal 528 pages in two volumes, and contains about 300 images with 180,000 words. The collected letters give a deep and honest insight into Ravilious' personality and his perception of his world, and also give us a broader understanding of the 1930s, with the inexorable progress to European war. Of course for many people, the illustration of every known painting by this unique artist with a great many associated images, is what they will initially buy the book for, and this aspect alone makes the book so important. It has been a profound pleasure to publish this collection of words and images. Reviewing the book in the Times Literary Supplement, January 30th 2009, Miles Symner wrote: 'the care that has been devoted to designing and producing these two revelatory volumes matches that evident throughout Eric Ravilious's work. The result is enchantment.' Paul Johnson's assessment in The Spectator (March 21st 2009) was that 'It is one of the most remarkable books ever produced on an English artist.'
Two volumes bound in coloured cloth with a gilt spine, 528 pages printed in Sheffield by J. W. Northend Fine Print, with twelve tipped-in plates, bound by and housed in a slipcase made by the Fine Book Bindery in Wellingorough, price £355 (postage £14). Out of print.
Ravilious for Curwen
An edition of one of his best engravings, printed from the block
The original block of Eric Ravilious' jazzy, geometric cover engraving made in 1933 for the Curwen Press News-Letter No. 6 (printed 1934), now printed in a first ever edition of 120 copies, housed in an accompanying letterpress booklet. The original block was used to make the print, while the original Curwen electrotype was printed as the booklet's frontispiece, and each copy hand-coloured to match the original pale blue used at the Curwen Press. There is a short letterpress text, and stunning marbled wrappers by Jemma Lewis. Price £90 (£80 trade) plus postage £5, and VAT (totalling £114 in the UK).
Think of it as a Poster
by Brian Webb
The Leslie Cole book described on the previous page was issued with the added bonus of a free not-quite-a-miniature book, published in the summer of 2010, which gives background on the brilliant use of wood engravings and linocuts in British stamps. Brian Webb has worked with the Post Office on numerous stamp designs, with artists including Clare Melinsky and Andrew Davidson, both of them included here. 9000 stamps have been tipped-in to the books. The standard copies contain 17 actual stamps dating as far back as 1963, and are hard-bound in a lovely patterned paper based on a design by Clare Melinsky; all sold out, I'm afraid.
100 special copies are housed in an oak tray and replica postbox lid made by Stephen Byrne, which have extra pages, and include 44 original stamps, as well as stamps by Andrew Davidson, Clare Melinsky and John Lawrence printed especially for this book. All sold, alas.
Thomas Bewick's Last Days
with a Commentary by Iain Bain
Aware that his final days were approaching, Thomas Bewick made a journey – only his second – to London in 1828 in order to dispose of remaining stocks of his books, and to see old friends. The journey began on his 75th birthday, and within three months he had died. He wrote the account of his journey on a single small piece of paper, and his daughter Jane later pasted it into a bound set of corrected proofs of her father's Memoir. Iain Bain, renowned scholar of all that is Bewick, has added a prefatory note and fascinating commentary bringing Bewick's account to life.
200 copies have been printed, all bearing one engraving by Thomas Bewick (his silhouette portrait of his friend Robert Pollard) printed from the block, and of these, 100 have an extra TB engraving, of his smaller version of Waiting for Death, printed by Iain Bain from the original block for the book. The standard copies carry this engraving but only in reproduction; Iain Bain has also signed each special copy of the book under TB's own facsimile wood-engraved signature, printed from the block. All copies are bound in quarter cloth and a wonderful marbled paper made by Antonio Velez Celemin for the book; the special copies are housed in a Cheviot tweed pouch made for the book by Sally Lucas.
This is a small book of 34 pages with six tipped-in illustrations, as well as a hand-coloured title page and I am thrilled by the way everything has fitted together. Standard copies were £84 (and the specials were £165).
Tone, texture, light & shade
A Barnett Freedman picture album
Introduced by Ian Rogerson
Ian Rogerson’s 2005 book on Barnett Freedman for the Press was, astonishingly, the first since Barnett’s death in early 1958. It covered his graphic work, and sold out on publication. Since that time a good deal of material has been discovered which must be shared with those who love Barnett’s work, which you will find here. There are wonderful ephemeral items, photographs of his posters on hoardings and on display in Lyons Corner Houses, paintings in public ownership, very good student work from the early 1920s when at the third attempt he gained a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, and these are shown along with a number of the very best images you saw in the first book – which would be naturally expected to be here. Ian Rogerson has written a short Introduction to this new picture-book of Barnett’s work.
All 330 copies contain an original tipped-in lithographic illustration from one of Barnett’s books, and of these, 90 special copies are accompanied by an original lithographic Christmas card: these are among the most keenly-collected examples of his work. The book runs to about 160 pages of images, with ten folding tipped-in illustrations, some letterpress; it is printed on the final stock of high-quality Parilux paper by J. W. Northend, Sheffield. All copies are quarter bound in cloth and a truly stunning Freedman patterned paper. Flamboyance is the remit. Out of print.
25 watercolour paintings of nineteenth century pottery by Emily Sutton
Emily Sutton has made a series of watercolours of the pottery – plates, mugs and jugs – found on her dresser. They are a charming set, full of the quaint and fascinating subjects which the Victorians felt appropriate, mostly for the moral benefit of their children. The paintings are delightful and quickly sold at the York Open Studios weekend in 2014.
I am delighted to publish these together in a very long accordion-fold book measuring 275 mm square and extending to a gigantic 8 metres long. They are hard-bound in a design using the watercolours, and held in a slipcase with a label, shown above. Emily has drawn a title page specially for the book, and signs each of the 250 copies. Emily's career is taking off, and as one critic recently wrote to me, by common consent she is an exceptional artist, and particularly in illustration.
The book was published at Emily's November 2014 show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, price £165. Out of print.
Simon Lawrence, The Fleece Press, 95 Denby Lane, Upper Denby, Huddersfield HD8 8TZ
Telephone 01226 792200