[Monmouthshire]: The Old Stile Press, 2012. Lemaire, Angela. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Number VI of X special editions (total edition 110), folio size,  pp., signed by Angela Lemaire. Fine. Item #CNJL1298
A breathtakingly lovely work with hand-colouring by the artist in this, one of the ten deluxe copies. Christopher Smart (1722-1771) was a major poet who has more often been admired by other poets than by literary critics; a Romantic poet before the term was invented, it has been said of him that his was "the purest case of man's vision prevailing over the spirit of his times." He lived a colourful and at times wild life, which may have sprung from, or perhaps contributed to, bouts of insanity or delirium. This work was begun in 1759 when his ‘wild behaviour’ (which now we might call a nervous breakdown) had caused him to be locked up in St Luke’s Hospital for the Insane.
The "Jubilate Agno" is an edition of 'Kit’ Smart’s wild and wonderful hymn of yearning and adoration for Creation in all its multifarious detail; it expresses his exuberance and overflows with his enthusiasms and blessings. In his praise of all Creation he lists people, animals, birds, insects, fish, all of whom are blessed. The book came about after a wonderful encounter by the publishers and the artist with a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and it can be said that the design, the imagery, the palette of rich colours were all influenced strongly by that early masterpiece of printing. There are woodcuts and linocuts throughout the text, some are printed in more than one colour, some in a single colour; there are initial capitals among the pages arranged in two columns, all to pay tribute to the design of Gutenberg (n. b., above info and several quotes from the web sites of The Old Stile Press and the Poetry Foundation).
___DESCRIPTION: Original quarter suede with boards covered in terrracotta paste paper printed in gold and silver designed by Nicolas McDowall using Angela Lemaire's blocks (with the Greek letter "alpha" on the back board and "omega" on the front, so when one opens the book fully one is reminded of the biblical text "I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end"), top edge green, fore- and bottom edges uncut, green laid paper endpapers, double illustrated title page, numerous woodcuts and linocuts printed in seven colours, many of them embellished with hand-colouring by the artist; Vélin Arches paper, Truesdell type, folio size (15" by 11.5"), 72 unnumbered pages, limited edition, this number VI of X special editions, from a total edition of 110, signed by the artist. Housed in a suede lined gray linen fall-down-back box with a printed label of ‘my cat Jeoffry’ on the front.
___CONDITION: A fine copy, clean and crisp, the suede back soft and clean; the entire production like new, in a like case.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard shipping charge does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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