Limited first edition of this idiosyncratic collection of re-designed chapbooks, based upon the collection of chapbook-collector Joseph Crawhall – his own copy, inscribed to him by the publisher.
"Returning to the bold, simple style of eighteenth-century popular engraving through his heavy black lines and solid blocks of color, he offered a viable alternative to the detail of most late Victorian illustrations, and thus prepared the way for the posters of the 1890s." – Gordon Norton Ray
Crawhall's vision belongs in the same philosophy of William Morris's Kelmscott Press and others in looking to past styles of book production for inspiration as a reaction to industrialization – but with vastly different results. Simon Houfe observes that "Crawhall enjoyed the spirit of book making and began to assemble material from various sources, writing, illustrating and putting the book together himself [...] Crawhall attempted to bring back the personality to books, dead since industrialization."
This book contains 8 chapbooks, each approximately 30 pages, with separate covers and pagination and printed on various colored rough textured papers. Illustrated by Crawhall with his wonderful and characteristic boldly outlined woodcuts, hand colored. The limitation statement notes: "As the illustrations herein are all hand colored the issue is necessarily limited - Joseph Crawhall." An excellent association copy, especially of interest to those who collect on the topic of book collecting itself.
Read more: Houfe, Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators; Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914, 167
London: Field & Tuer. [et al.], 1883. 11.5'' x 9''. Original half cream cloth, paper pictorial boards. Fore-edge and bottom edge uncut. Inscribed by the publisher in ink on the front endpaper: "Joseph Crawhall / with the compliments of the publishers, /Field & Tuer / 26/10/83." Spine somewhat toned, with edges rubbed, light soiling to boards; interior with a bit of foxing but overall very clean.
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