(London: The Folio Society, 2004). 227 x 157 mm. (9 x 6 1/8"). xiv, , 222 pp. Edited by Alan Powers.
WHIMSICAL PALE GREEN REVERSED GOATSKIN BY JO BIRD, covers and smooth spine with meandering lettering stamped in black, green endpapers and edges blind-stamped repeatedly with author and title, free endleaves with several circles cut out. In a gray hand-dyed sheepskin chemise with round cut-outs and blind lettering and a matching sheepskin-backed clamshell box lined with pale green goatskin. Illustrated with black & white photographs and with numerous color drawings by Peter Bailey in the text. Binder's statement and care instructions laid in. A couple of tiny, faint spots to lower board, otherwise in mint condition inside and out.
This appealing binding was awarded First Prize and the Mansfield Silver Medal in The Bookbinding Competition of 2005. Its creator became a licentiate of Designer Bookbinders the following year, and was elected a Fellow in 2010. Bird received a post-graduate diploma in fine bookbinding at London College of Communication, and worked at several trade binderies, including Shepherds and Bernard Quaritch, between 2000 and 2005, when she set up her own workshop. She says of her binding philosophy, "My aim is to entice and excite the reader into the book, and to achieve harmony between design and function. Through my designs I look to convey an essential element of the book." For this prize-winning binding, she "wanted to reflect the themes of rural and urban lifestyle that can be found in Betjeman's poetry. The green suede with the playful flowing text that follows the shape of the Cornwall coastline represents Betjeman's fondness for the English countryside and is tactile in texture. The grey chemise . . . represents his passion for cityscapes." Sir John Betjeman (1906-84) was a journalist, a beloved television personality, and the most popular English poet since Rudyard Kipling. He served as Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom for the final 12 years of his life. Philip Larkin said that Betjeman "offers us something we cannot find in any other writer—a gaiety, a sense of the ridiculous, an affection for human beings and how and where they live, a vivid and vivacious portrait of mid-twentieth-century English social life." (ST15550)