Very Probably the Most Desirable Copy of this Work, With Original Paste-up, Production Explanations, Other Unique Archival Material


(Easthampton, Massachusetts: Cheloniidae Press, 1986). 212 x 138 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/2"). Portfolio: 255 x 205 mm. (10 1/8 x 8 1/8). [23] French fold leaves. No. A/2 OF FIVE SPECIAL ARTIST'S PROOFS accompanied by a small archive of special material, some of it unique (from a total edition of 231 copies).

Original full vellum by Grey Parrot (his ticket on rear pastedown), flat spine with gilt titling. Additional plates and archival material loose as issued in linen chemises, one of these vellum-backed. The volume and additional materials in two linen clamshell boxes, one backed with gilt-lettered vellum, the other with hand-lettered paper label on back. Bound volume with 26 wood engravings by Alan Robinson with hand-lettering in colors by Suzanne Moore. With an additional set of plates, each numbered A/2 and signed by the artist, and with 26 impressions of the letter forms. Accompanied by THE ARTIST'S ORIGINAL DRAWINGS used by Moore to design the letters, and by 26 ORIGINAL WATERCOLORS BY ROBINSON, depicting the fowl from the book in vibrant colors. With two copies of the prospectus, one containing a proof of the toucan illustration used therein, printed on vellum and hand-colored; THE FIRST COMPLETE PASTE-UP OF THE BOOK, with notes and placements, A UNIQUE PIECE; and a typed letter, signed, from Robinson, presenting this special edition to "Joan and Daryl," early financial backers of the project. ◆In mint condition.

This is a very desirable production from one of America's most respected contemporary private presses, and our copy has unique archival material that allows us to appreciate the printer/illustrator's work process and the building of the book. The Cheloniidae Press (renamed The Press of the Sea Turtle in 1992) was founded by Alan James Robinson (b. 1950) and Joel Ginsburg in 1979, and it quickly established a reputation for producing books that are uniformly tasteful and charming, that are always composed of the highest quality materials, that involve the work of various highly skilled collaborators, and that are generally in some way about animals. Robinson received an MFA in printmaking from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has spent his adult career within the well-developed book-arts community in western Massachusetts. He designs and illustrates all of the Cheloniidae books in collaboration with numerous artisans and craftsmen, and all of Robinson's works are printed by Harold P. McGrath, the celebrated master printer.

The calligraphic introduction that prefaces the plates here says: "In the arrangement of the various species of living creatures which possess a visible organization, the greater or less perfection of the structure has formed the basis of systematic classification. A classification of birds depends largely on the shapes of their beaks or bills. There are many other curious and interesting details of their anatomy, but this volume will consider the more bizarre and diverse examples of the beaks through bird portraiture."

The present copy includes Robinson's drawings of the creatures and brightly colored watercolors of his subjects in full plumage--both beautiful in their own right and interesting to contrast with the woodcuts in the printed version. But the most intriguing artifact is the original paste-up of the book, the very earliest form in which it appeared as a whole concept. In the three-page letter to his patrons included with the archive, we get Robinson's explanation and insight into his process.

Price: $10,000.00