(Wakefield: Fleece Press, 1986). 342 x 260 mm. (13 1/2 x 10 1/4"). 6 p.l., 16 leaves of engravings,  leaf (colophon).With an Introduction by George Tute. No. 1 OF 12 SPECIAL COPIES bound by James Brockman, from a total edition of 200.
ARTFUL BLACK MOROCCO BY JAMES BROCKMAN (stamp-signed on rear turn-in), covers with thin strips of white, gray, and matte black morocco arranged in an abstract design, upper cover with a couple dozen short gilt lines resembling rainfall, smooth spine, edges untrimmed. Housed in a taupe linen box lined with felt and with gilt lettered black morocco label. With frontispiece, 16 FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS (some with tissue guards), one headpiece, and a small vignette on colophon, all by Leon Underwood and printed from the original blocks. ◆In mint condition.
This is a special copy of a beautiful tribute to the wood engravings of Leon Underwood, an artist, teacher, and founder of the Brook Green School, covered here by one of the leading English binders of our time. George Claude Leon Underwood (1890-1975) was an artist proficient in several disciplines, producing notable work as a sculptor, painter, etcher, and engraver in the course of his long career. In 1921 he opened the Brook Green School of Drawing, where his pupils included the renowned sculptor Henry Moore as well as wood engravers Blair Hughes-Stanton and Gertrude Hermes, who went on to produce excellent work for the Gregynog Press. Produced mostly during the 1920s and 30s, Underwood's wood engravings primarily explore spiritual and figural themes, and several engravings reveal the strong influence of Aztec and Mayan art, which Underwood encountered during his travels to Mexico in 1928. In his introduction to the present work, wood engraver George Tute summarizes the artist's enduring impact on the artform: "Underwood's contribution, like the man, was potent and influential, and it was no accident that some of the most interesting work in the medium this century can be associated with him and those who came under his sway." The binding here clearly derives inspiration from Underwood's engravings, utilizing thin lines of white, gray, and black morocco to achieve a strong, graphic look, while the lashes of gilt resemble the hatching effect that Underwood frequently utilized in his engravings. A past president of Designer Bookbinders and the Society of Bookbinders, James Brockman (b. 1946) apprenticed as a finisher at Blackwell's, studied with Ivor Robinson, and served as assistant to Sydney Cockerell at Cambridge from 1968-73. Three years later, he opened his own bindery in Oxford, which he co-operates with his son Stuart, and which continues to produce work that is highly sought after by bibliophiles. While not always the case, the first numbered copy of a private press publication (as seen here) is often reserved for someone of special importance, either generally or in connection with the book in question. (ST17615)