GWEN RAVERAT, WOOD ENGRAVER.

(Denby Dale [England]: Fleece Press, 1996). 330 x 222 mm. (13 x 8 3/4"). 140 pp., [7] leaves. ONE OF SEVEN COPIES BOUND BY ANGELA JAMES (originally intended to be 10), from an edition of 300 copies.

STRIKING DARK GRAY MOROCCO BY ANGELA JAMES, CLEVERLY INLAID AND ONLAID WITH BLACK MOROCCO STRIPS giving the illusion of thongs wrapping around and through the covers, these with various patterns in ecru, a strip of decorated black morocco at head and tail edge, set off from the covers with a stripe of bright pink, gilt titling to upper cover, GRAY MOROCCO DOUBLURES, light gray endpapers. In a gray cloth drop-back box lined with shocking pink felt, morocco label on spine. With numerous reproductions of Raverat's work in the text, six of them tipped on, three of these printed in colors. WITH AN ORIGINAL PROOF OF A PRINT, "Jeu de Boules," laid in. Accompanied by a TLS from printer Simon Lawrence, establishing that only seven of the projected 10 copies (stated in the colophon) were bound by James. As new.

This handsomely produced appreciation and bibliography of ground-breaking wood engraver Gwen Raverat was bound by Angela James to a bold design that would certainly have pleased the artist. James is an exhibiting member of the prestigious Designer Bookbinders, and served as that organization's president from 1990 to 1996. According to her biography on the organization's website, she conceives fine bindings "primarily in terms of colour and formal/informal design relationships." Using studio-dyed leathers, she creates covers which often exhibit "geometrical hard-edge onlays and inlays alongside informal and free-flowing elements." She has published two books on her craft, "The Art of Binding Books" (1991) and "The Handmade Book" (2000). The grand-daughter of Charles Darwin, Gwendolyn Mary Raverat (1885-1957) knew from the age of 10 she wanted to be an artist; she entered the Slade School of Art at 17. She was a key player in the renaissance of wood engraving in the early 20th century illustrated books produced by the major private presses. According to DNB, "Everything that Gwen Raverat undertook was done with intelligence and skill—her graphic work for the Admiralty in the Second World War, as well as her theatre designs and paintings and drawings—but it was through wood-engraving that she was able to communicate her vision most fully. In her engraving she did not aim at decoration or use a strong decorative line, like her friend Eric Gill; nor was she a naturalist interested in the rendering of a bird's plumage or an animal's fur, like Thomas Bewick. Rather, she was a master of light, shade, and the interplay of textures, with a deceptively simple technique, and a bold sense of design."
(ST17263-26)

Price: $5,000.00