Books On Books Collection – Francesca Lohmann

An Alphabetical Accumulation (2017)

An Alphabetical Accumulation (2017)
Francesca Lohmann
Handpress printed and calligraphed book. H157 x W117 mm, 26 leaves + title + colophon. A black and red tray case, H171 x W128 mm. Edition of 36, of which this is #16. Acquired from The Veatchs, 11 June 2021.
Photos: Left, Books On Books Collection; Right, Courtesy of The Veatchs. All photos displayed with permission of the publisher.

Rollin Milroy of Heavenly Monkey, Francesca Lohmann and Claudia Cohen collaborated on this work of art. The alphabetical accumulation is the accumulation of 36 letter A’s entirely hand drawn in red, 25 calligraphed partial alphabets reproduced in black from polymer plates, and 900 pages in which the next letter in the sequence of the partial alphabet has been drawn in red. Each copy of the edition thus presents the full alphabet in original calligraphy across its pages. Printed and calligraphed only on the recto side, this is an alphabet that repays page by page attention. As each new letter arrives in red, all the previous ones and their accumulated foliage fall into black. Not every letter appears in capitals. The letters’ size, arrangement and ligatures shift as the alphabet accumulates.

The edition is also an accumulation of unusual production artistry. Those tapes exposed on the binding — a non-adhesive limp vellum, gold-tooled at the edges, with the title calligraphed in red on the spine — are strips from the old vellum manuscripts used as “paste”downs that are not pasted down. Three different papers — all printed damp at Heavenly Monkey on an Ostrander-Seymour handpress — are used: Crown & Sceptre, J. Whatman, and T.H. Saunders. Deckled leaves and trimmed leaves intermingle.

Fittingly the colophon is calligraphed and reproduced in black from a polymer plate, leaving space for the calligrapher to supply finishing strokes: the number and signature in red.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. 31 March 2020. Books On Books Collection.

Heavenly Monkey“. 23 November 2020. Books On Books Collection. For a view of Francesco Griffo da Bologna: Fragments and Glimpses (2020).

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