Books On Books Collection – Dave Wood

Alphabetica (2002)

Alphabetica (2002)
Dave Wood
Bound in vellum; open-spine binding sewn on vellum strips. H210 x W290 x D30 mm. 54 pages. Loosely inserted colophon. Edition of 26. Acquired from the artist, 27 July 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with permission of the artist.

From Alphabetica‘s description as an exploration of the alphabet’s “diverse development from historic shapes to the infinite variations we see today in typefaces and calligraphic forms of the Western alphabet”, the reader might expect an academic work. The deeply embossed and debossed royal purple cover presenting the title in landscape format suggests otherwise as do the marbled endpapers and embossed gold foil title page. The cover is built up with a very strong paper made in Nepal, painted with acrylic then sprayed with semi-matte varnish. Inside, the reader finds a portfolio of twenty-five distinct “canvases” in which Wood demonstrates both historical sensitivity and artistic inspiration.

Across the twenty-six spreads, Dave Wood has captured each letter’s distinct story with multiple styles of calligraphy in Sumi ink and gouache paints as well as varying textures and techniques (Canson and Arches paper, glassine, foil, embossing, stamping, feathering and cutting), colors and layouts.

The letters’ developing shapes and periods are labeled. Starting with the letter B, Wood adds names of typefaces, structural terms for type, palaeographical terms and terms from the crafts of calligraphy, typesetting and printing — all beginning with /b/. Similar labeling occurs for the letter C but with a different layout. Across the twenty-five canvases, Wood excels at this balancing of difference and similarity. Notice, for example, how letters B and C incorporate the Renaissance style of illumination called bianchi girari (white vine stem decoration).

The ways in which uppercase-to-lowercase movements interact with the layout’s variations make for a dynamic experience. Sometime it’s subtle, sometimes vigorous. Note, for example, how the letter D de-emphasizes the gutter whereas the letter E emphasizes it.

With letters H through Q, a shift from Arches white to Canson black paper and back adds to the overall dynamic movement. Yet Wood is attentive to elements of unity; for example, his playful handling of the gutter in the transition from letter H to letters I/J echoes that from letters D to E.

Only six letters perform the trick of extending across the gutter — lowercase H and uppercase K, M, O, U and X. While O, U and X take the similar approach of almost evenly straddling the gutter, each of the other three succeed differently. M is perhaps the most striking and interesting of them all. M derives from the Semitic word for “water” mem. As Wood points out in the loose insert colophon, the watery blue that fills the letter is intentional — as must be the precise alignment of the inner peaks of the letter with the gutter. Such attention to detail in the midst of so much activity on the page demands a similar attentiveness from the reader.

For example, the long tail of the Q does not show up until the bottom of the spread. And the reader may need to pick out the the word “or” in the text to spot the lowercase r in the textured, oversized written word “or” directly below the text.

Visual puns abound. Celtic knots in a capital L (for the Lindisfarne gospels). An S formed of stones. Leaves falling from a lowercase t (for tree or tea, of course). A U growing underground.

Fortunately, the accordion-fold colophon loosely inserted in the book offers pointers to some (not all) allusions. For example, the beginning of the third line for the letter V pays homage to Titivillus, the 13th-century patron demon of scribes’ mistakes. The illustrated W is an homage to Ben Shahn’s letter design. The highly contrasting thicks and thins in the letter X allude, in calligraphic terms, to the thick mark’s determining the number of pen widths making up the x height (the body of the miniscule).

And while the colophon may be necessary to know that the typefaces written in color below were created by Hermann Zapf, any viewer can enjoy Wood’s incorporating the entire alphabet in the Sumi ink design culminating in the letter Z as a fitting self-referential conclusion to Alphabetica.

Further Reading and Viewing

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Lyn Davies“. 7 August 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Timothy Donaldson“. Books On Books Collection.

Cari Ferraro“. Books On Books Collection.

David J. Goldman“. Books On Books Collection.

Rudyard Kipling and Chloë Cheese“. Books On Books Collection.

Abe Kuipers“. Books On Books Collection.

Don Robb and Anne Smith“. Books On Books Collection.

James Rumford. 21 November 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Tiphaine Samoyault“. Books On Books Collection.

Ben Shahn“. 20 July 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Tommy Thompson“. 21 August 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Mark Van Stone“. 1 June 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Demeude, Hugues. 1996. The Animated Alphabet. London: Thames and Hudson.

Shaw, Henry. 1845. Alphabets, Numerals and Devices of the Middle Ages. London: W. Pickering.

Books On Books Collection – Carton Moore Park

An Alphabet of Animals (1899)

An Alphabet of Animals (1899)
Carton Moore Park
Casebound, illustrated paper over boards. H335 x W265 mm. 54 pages. Acquired from Books & Things, 23 March 2023.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Scots-Canadian illustrator and painter Carton Moore Park (1877-1956) would have been 22 when Blackie & Son published An Alphabet of Animals. Like William Nicholson with An Alphabet (1898), Moore Park was responding to a publisher’s commission (for Nicholson it was W.H. Heinemann); like Nicholson, he aimed for an audience of adults as well as children; like Nicholson, who followed up his alphabet with similarly successful and applauded works, Moore Park did the same with In Doors and Out (1899) and A Book of Birds (1899); and like Nicholson’s, his preferred career path was painting, particularly portraits. But unlike Nicholson, Moore Park did not find any prolonged acclaim for his work.

Recent efforts to revive interest in his work are an extended bio-bibliographical essay in Studies in Illustration, a thesis from the University of Delaware and a reissue of An Alphabet of Animals and A Book of Elfin Rhymes (see below). Marvelous as Moore Park’s grisaille technique is, it must have been a hard sell for children more used to colorful alphabet books. The grisaille and influence of Japanese wood engraving — especially with the unusual framing of the subjects — likely make this work appeal more to adults interested in artists’ books and the history of children’s books.

Anyone interested in whether there is a subgenre in the overlap of artists’ books and alphabet books might consider trim size as a telltale sign here. Moore Park’s and Nicholson’s books were oversized. By choosing a trim size far too large for small hands and short arms, Blackie and Son and W.H. Heinemann may have simply been hedging their bets on the two alphabet books by aiming to appeal to adults and children and as a way to test the art book market. By 1917 in France, Louis Dorbon must have seen the success of Ambroise Vollard in the art book market and felt no need to hedge with Edmond (“Miarko”) Bouchard. Even though Bouchard was primarily a caricaturist, Dorbon published ABC d’Art in portfolio format at 380 x 280 mm and with gold ink. If that is not a clear sign of aiming for adults and the art book market, the carnage in Miarko’s plates is sign enough that it was not catering to kiddies. Likewise Miarko abandons the traditional alphabet book’s usual purpose and method of fostering literacy by associating each letter with an object on the page. Instead, each letter is merely the initial letter of the plate’s caption.

From ABC d’Art (1917)
Miarko (Edmond Bouchard), colored by J. Saudé.
Portfolio, corner closures with ribbon, Portfolio: H385 x W285 mm. Prints: H380 x W280 mm. 27 plates. Acquired from ADER Nordmann & Dominique, 16 March 2023.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

From An Alphabet of Animals (1899)

The Japonisme in Moore Park’s pages and Miarko’s plates would also have been another feature appealing more to adults than children. Whether it is the mice scampering on to and off the page or the bulk of the porcupine’s quills bristling just off the upper left of the page, the influence of Japanese wood engraving leaps off Moore Park’s pages. So, too, does his humor with the near tailless armadillo pursuing another armadillo’s tail or, more likely, its own in the lower right corner of the page. In Miarko’s case, the images break the frame of the large gold letters rather than the frame of the images.

The Art Nouveau period (1880s to 1920s) can be thanked not only for the advent of the artist’s book but also for drawing the alphabet book into its palette of material with which to make art.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Miarko“. Books On Books Collection. In progress.

William Nicholson“. 26 May 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Blamires, David. 1990. Adults’ Alphabets : Examples of English Press Alphabet Books from the Last Hundred Years with an Alphabetical Description Copious Illustrations and a Checklist of Press Alphabet Books. Standard ed. Church Hanborough Oxford: Hanborough Parrot Press.

Hiatt, Charles. December 1900. “The Work of Carton Moore Park“. The Studio, Vol. 93, pp. 172-76. Accessed 20 May 2023.

Martin, Claire. 2018. “The ABCs of Carton Moore-Park“. University of Delaware. Thesis. Accessed 20 May 2023.

Park, Carton Moore. 2019. An Alphabet of Animals. London: Art/Books Publishing Ltd.

Steenson, Martin.Spring 2015. “Bibliography: Carton Moore Park. ” Studies in Illustration, No. 59.

Books On Books Collection – Carol DuBosch

In these additions to the Collection, Carol DuBosch joins the art of calligraphy and the art of the fold at the hip. The subtlety and fineness in her execution of both reward multiple viewings from multiple angles and repeated manipulation.

Rainbow Alphabet Snowflake (2013)

Rainbow Alphabet Snowflake (2013)
Carol DuBosch
Star book enclosed in flap purse. H4”x W5.5”x .D75” closed, W8.5” diameter open. Edition of 20, of which this is #1. Acquired from the artist, 17 November 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

A frequent activity in book art is the thematic challenge. In 2010 from her studio in Maleny, Queensland, Australia, Fiona Dempster initiated an annual global challenge to calligraphers to create a letter a week. The challenge ran through 2014 and generated not only outstanding works of calligraphy but artists’ books as well. Two of these works came from Carol DuBosch.

Standing at the check-out counter of my art supply shop, I found myself gazing at a cabinet filled with bright color note cards and envelopes. I decided to take home a handful and try to make a book I had just become familiar with: Snowflake Book. I realized that the colorful notecards would be perfect for the pages of a Snowflake Book. And indeed, they were! Each module page of this book is made from two of the folded notecards. I simply added another fold to one of them and cut out the rectangle window. I printed six of my alphabet designs on acetate transparencies and attached them to view in the windows. The book opens fully to form a star-shape. The front & back cover attach using hidden strong magnets. — Carol DuBosch, 16 November 2022, Correspondence with Books On Books.

No two snowflakes are alike, yet they are all snowflakes. Taking her cue from this, DuBosch offers up five distinctive alphabets in her star-cum-snowflake book structure and, in one view, goes twenty-six better with a distinctive style for each letter.

Video: Courtesy of Carol DuBosch

Following in the tradition of so many artists, DuBosch creates and teaches. This next work neatly exemplifies that, reveals some of the techniques by which she achieves the subtlety in her work, and demonstrates her mastery of each.

Alphabet of Calligraphic Tricks (2014)

Alphabet of Calligraphic Tricks (2014)
Carol DuBosch
Double-sided leporello. H4” x W4” x D.75” closed, W4’8” open. Unique. Acquire from the artist, 17 November 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

I made this collection of techniques to share with students in class. It is compact and easy to transport and set up as a display in classes. Each page is a Gothic majuscule rendered with specified materials or tools. The caption outlines the process. The book was a project for A Letter A Week in 2014, administered by Fiona Dempster in Australia. Each participant organized a project incorporating letters and posted each week. I was able to complete two different alphabet books during the year. The binding style is a Leporello, a form of Concertina fold books. The entire book is created by overlapping pieces of cardstock folded in half. This method of binding creates a sturdy book that opens for display on both sides easily. — Carol DuBosch, 16 November 2022, Correspondence with Books On Books.

DuBosch’s concluding comment above highlights an abiding concern with what the structure of a work contributes to function. A similar function is achieved in the next very different structure that Hedi Kyle has labeled as “Interlocking Loops” and DuBosch calls a “gallery structure”.

Embossed Alphabet Gallery (2019)

Embossed Alphabet Gallery (2019)
Carol DuBosch
Gallery structure combining leporello, flag and star book forms. H6.25”x W1.25”x D.5” closed, W9” open for display. Edition of 15, of which this #1. Acquired from the artist, 17 November 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

This book was made as an edition for a book-exchange. I wanted to use the Gallery structure and chose the alphabet as the subject. I used an embossing stencil I had made thirty years ago for the letters. I found parent sheets of the linen textured card stock, and it was excellent for the folding and embossing. I’ve always enjoyed the quote about the mystic art of writing by William Massey and was delighted to find a place for it in this structure. — Carol DuBosch, 16 November 2022, Correspondence with Books On Books.

The many ways of displaying this sculpture and its gallery of letters might cause the viewer to miss how they counterpoint the end of the quotation from William Massey’s The Origin and Progress of Letters (1763). The effect recalls the gray-white of Greek and Roman sculpture, many of which originally were painted.

Further Reading/Watching

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Dempster, Fiona. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. A Letter a Week.

DuBosch, Carol. 2020. The Calligraphic Coronavirus Chronicles Book. Portland: Carol DuBosch. Posted on YouTube by The Oregon Food Bank, 18 November 2020. Accessed 1 November 2022.

DuBosch, Carol. 2018. Folded Pen Adventures. Portland: Carol DuBosch.

Kyle, Hedi, and Ulla Warchol. 2018. The Art of the Fold How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures. London: Laurence King Publishing. See review here.

Paper & Ink Arts. 5 June 2014. “Calligrapher’s Corner: Consulting with the Experts, Volume 4 Carol DuBosch“. Paper & Ink Arts. Accessed 1 November 2022.

Books On Books Collection – Ellen Heck

A is for Bee (2022)

A is for Bee: An Alphabet Book in Translation (2022)
Ellen Heck
Casebound, decorated doublures, sewn and glued book block. 40 unnumbered pages. Acquired from Amazon, 10 November 2022. Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with permission of Pushkin Press.

Earlier animal abecedaries’ efforts to nudge us toward more multilingual awareness led with English and either limited themselves to animals whose names in other languages are the same or simply surrounded the English name with the names from other languages. Ellen Heck leads with the usual English formula “A is for …” but has the reader turning somersaults when the named animal is one whose name in English does not begin with the formula’s letter; rather the initial letter belongs to the animal’s name in several other languages.

There are many bilingual abecedaries. Naturally there are fewer multilingual ones and even fewer whose main purpose is to challenge the reader’s English-centric mindset. More than most of those neighbors, Heck’s work is colorful and full of character — and in both the portrayal of the animals the letterforms. The letters in “bee” and the initial and final letters of “monkey” are hairy and furry like their namesakes; “P” and “t” of “parrot” are feathered; and perhaps more subtle, the pose of the bee forms the letter A, the monkey’s tail and the branch being climbed for the letter B; and the parrot blocks out a segment of its ring to form the letter C. The more detailed shots of the artwork do not do justice to the textures it conveys.

The related website and app to which the QR code at the book’s end leads offers recordings of native or fluent speakers pronouncing words. Since such a feature is not assured to outlast updates to devices and their operating systems, users will no doubt look for hacks to capture the files. More lasting will be the author’s comments on the challenges of writing across languages: sorting the singular name in one language that is plural in another, dealing with a species name from one culture that explodes into multiple sub-species in another, juggling transliteration from languages with non-Latin alphabets and more.

The book deserves well the accolades it has received: New York Times‘s 2022 “Children’s Book of the Year” and for Words Without Borders’ “Best Books of 2022“.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Borlenghi, Patricia and Piers Harper. 2016. A To Z: An Animal Alphabet in Five Languages. Manningtree: Pudding Press.

Leeper, Angela. 15 March 2022. Review. Booklist Online. American Library Association. Accessed 9 November 2022.

Vo, Young. 2022. Gibberish. Montclair: Levine Querido. Not an abecedary, but has a similar multicultural purpose.

Wang, Andrea and Hyewon Yum. 2022. Luli and the Language of Tea. New York: Holiday House. Also not an abecedary and more akin to Vo’s book.

Winston, Sam. 2022. One and Everything. London: Walker Studio. Again not an abecedary, but nevertheless a book about alphabets and language by another powerful artist.

Books On Books Collection – Marie Lancelin

Gestes Alphabétiques (2014)

Gestes Alphabétiques (2014)
Marie Lancelin
Double-sided leporello with sleeve. H200 x W170 mm (closed). 14 panels. Laser-printed, screen print. Interior: offset on Arcoset Extra White 170 gsm. Cover and band: serigraphy on Curious Skin 270 gsm. Edition of 100. Acquired from Printed Matter, Inc., 31 July 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with permission of the publisher, Grante Ègle (Nantes, France).

There is a long-standing tradition of “dancing the alphabet”. In his satyr play Amphiaraus, Sophocles brings in an actor dancing the letters. A more extended instance comes from 5th century Greek dramatist Kallias; his entire play Grammatike Theoria (“ABC Show” or “The ABC Tragedy“) presents the alphabet and pronunciation exercises. Apparently in acting out the letters psi and omega, the chorus member’s performance tended to the erotic, a phenomenon still to be found in Erté’s alphabet suite (1927/1978) and Anthon Beeke’s Alphabet (1970). Less suggestive are Vítězslav Nezval’s Abeceda (1926), Toshifumi Kawahara’s Dancing Alphabets (1991) and, most recently, Marie Lancelin’s Gestes Alphabétiques (its publisher issued two editions of 100 copies each in 2008 and 2014).

All the media and techniques that Lancelin engaged to make Gestes Alphabétiques — photograms, photomontage, laser printing, serigraphy, staging, lighting, drawing, printing — take her gestures beyond the alphabet and geometric abstractions we can easily see. Also apparent is her grounding in filming; the overlaying of the model’s poses transform that side of the leporello into a dance sequence. With the combined techniques, the ink and paper create the effect of displaying the dance through transparencies or glass or within some black and white computer graphic setting.

Fundamentally, through these media, techniques and the double-sided leporello form, Lancelin translates gesture, symbol, shape and light into one another and back again, offering the viewer the opportunity to see the artist explore the making of meaning.

Further Reading

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

Anthon Beeke“. 21 June 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Toshifumi Kawahara“. 29 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Vítězslav Nezval“. 16 July 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Brooke, Olivia, and Julian Deghy. N.d. Naked Alphabet. Website. Accessed 7 June 2021.

Erté. 1978. Erté graphics: five complete suites reproduced in full color – the seasons, the alphabet, the numerals, the aces, the precious stones. New York: Dover.

Gagné, Renaud. 2013. “Dancing Letters: The Alphabetic Tragedy of Kallias”. In Choral Mediations in Greek Tragedy, ed. R. Gagné and M. Hopman, Cambridge University Press 282-307.

Goetz, Sair. “Letterforms / Humanforms“. 11 June 2020. Letterform Archive. Accessed 7 June 2021.

Lancelin, Marie. 29 October – 19 December 2015. “My Models“. Exhibition. In Extenso. Accessed 1 January 2023.

Lawler, Lillian. April 1941. “The Dance of the Alphabet”. The Classical Outlook, 18: 7, pp. 69-71.

Wise, Jennifer. 1998. Dionysus Writes : The Invention of Theatre in Ancient Greece. Ithaca ; London: Cornell UP.

Books On Books Collection – Sharon Werner & Sharon Forss

Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types (2009)

Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types (2009)
Sharon Werner & Sharon Forss
Hardcover. H300 xW mm, 56 pages. Acquired from Golden Waves of Books, 7 August 2021.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Unlike Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich’s Bembo’s Zoo (2000), this book relies on numerous type faces with which to create its alphabeasties, posed above the book’s illustratively shaped chiron that also provides the running information about “other amazing types”. Information is also conveyed from under flaps, through cutouts, across foldouts and by background images constructed of words.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich‘”. 12 February 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Books On Books Collection – Brian D. Cohen

The Bird Book (2013)

The Bird Book (2013)
Brian D. Cohen & Holiday Eames
Case bound hardback, paper over boards with doublures. H260 x W210 mm. 56 unnumbered pages. Acquired from The Saint Bookstore, 17 September 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with the artist’s permission.

Brian Cohen’s inclusion of the following statement makes examining The Bird Book again and again a rewarding effort:

The printmaking technique … used for this book was originally developed by William Blake in 1788. The printing plates for the book were created with acids and engraving on metal (zinc) plates as in traditional etching techniques. The plates were then printed by carefully rolling a thin layer of ink over the surface of the plate, exactly the way a woodblock (relief print) is made. Because the technique combines both etching to create the plates and relief printing, it is termed relief etching. After printing, each individual sheet was hand-colored by brush with watercolor by the artist.

The artist has also encouraged close viewing of each relief etching by hiding its letter in the background, middle ground or foreground — or even the body of the bird.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Shelli Ogilvy“. 28 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Carol Schwartzott“. 28 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Gascoigne Bamber. 2017. How to Identify Prints : A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Processes from Woodcut to Inkjet. 2nd ed. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 7-8.

Books On Books Collection – Carol Schwartzott

ABC of Birds (2020)

ABC of Birds (2020)
Carol Schwartzott
Cabinet of curiosity housing a miniature book in paste paper slipcase; double-sided leporello of transparent vellum pockets holding collaged cards. Book measures 2 x 3 x 1.5 inches. 28 pocket pages (collages, title page and colophon). Book in edition of 25, of which this is #13. “Cabinet of Curiosity” is one of five. Acquired from Vamp & Tramp, 4 January 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with artist’s permission.

The cabinet of curosity recalls Joseph Cornell’s box constructions, and while the cards’ collages may extend that influence, they differ from it sufficiently in intensity of color (having been scanned for printing and “touched up” with pencils or over colored), incorporation of an abecedary and use of an unusual variant on the leporello to distinguish the work as Schwartzott’s. She writes:

The collages themselves were done as original art, each 4 x 6″ centered on a larger sheet of Rives BFK. There are 26 of these. All are reduced to miniature format, and a graphic letter in an interesting font completes the image. Each of these little cards can be removed from the book.

The trimmed edges of the cards give them the appearance of oversized postage stamps, appropriate for the album-style binding and their removability for philatelic-like examination.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Brian D. Cohen“. 28 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Shelli Ogilvy“. 28 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Kyle, Hedi, and Ulla Warchol. 2018. The Art of the Fold How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures. London: Laurence King Publishing. To explore the pocket variant on the leporello. See review here.

Books On Books Collection – Shelli Ogilvy

Alphabet Bird Collection (2009)

Alphabet Bird Collection (2009)
Shelli Ogilvy
Dustjacket, casebound paper over board, sewn, single-color doublures. H215 x W215 mm. 56 unnumbered pages. Acquired from Hay-on-Wye Booksellers, 16 December 2022.
Photos: Books on Books Collection. Displayed with permission of the artist.

In Alphabet Bird Collection, each double-page spread features the letter of the alphabet, a bird representing it, a couplet followed by prose to describe the bird’s distinctive behavior and habitat, and, beneath, a musical staff with an attempt to represent a sample of each bird’s song or call. Unifying each double-page spread is its own full-bleed background color. The primary distinguishing feature of this abecedary, however, is Shelli Ogilvy’s artwork — original paintings of each bird. Ogilvy works primarily with acrylic on canvas or paper, sometimes combining mediums of chalk, ink, and spray paint into her work.

Instead of concluding with XYZ as with other abecedaries, this entry concludes with a favorite bird.

For another instance of magpie obsession, see Nick Wonham’s The Charm of Magpies (2018).

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Brian D. Cohen“. 28 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Carol Schwartzott“. 28 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Books On Books Collection – Lanore Cady

Houses & Letters (1977)

Houses & Letters: A Heritage in Architecture & Calligraphy (1977)
Lanore Cady
Casebound, one-eighth leather, cloth over boards, title gilt-stamped on front cover, doublures, sewn book block, endbands. H276 x W382 mm. 34 unnumbered leaves, printed on one side only. Acquired from Books of the Ages, 26 August 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection. Displayed with permission of the artist’s archive, Humboldt Arts Council, Morris Graves Museum of Art.

Architecture-inspired artists’ books and artists’ books inspired by alphabets make up two separate strands of the Books On Books Collection. Along with Sacred Space by Jeffrey Morin and Steven Ferlauto, Lanore Cady’s Houses & Letters is one of the rare works that weave them together, joining the beauty of form in architecture with the beauty of letterforms. With her calligraphy, verse and watercolors of Victorian structures of Humboldt County, California, Cady presents her audience with a history of the alphabet from the proto-Sinaitic to the Roman/Carolingian that ultimately argues for the historical preservation of the buildings depicted.

The house depicted with letter A is the “Graham House”. In notes at the end of the book, Cady provides this brief note about it:

Frank Graham came to Humboldt from the southeastern provinces of Canada and the Maine woods to become a giant in lumbering and other local industries. He was married to Martha Montgomery, direct descendant of the Lees of Virginia. Built at the end of Ninth Street in Arcata, California, in 1885, their house is one of the few landmarks that has remained unaltered since its construction. It boasts five different shingle shapes, hand-carved arches, embellished redwood burl and curly redwood.

The structure accompanying the letter Z is “Robert’s Barn”:

This “Humboldt-type barn,” over 100 years old, is typical of the barns on fine ranches in this dairying-ranching country. It is on the Mel-May Ranch (so named for Melvin and May Roberts), Bayside Road, Arcata. Years ago it was “moved back” 125 feet away from the road.

Further Reading

Lanore C. Cady“. 9 February 2011. Times-Standard. Humboldt County, California. Accessed 1 August 2022.

Francesco Dondina“. 16 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Jeffrey Morin & Steven Ferlauto“. 23 April 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Paul Noble“. 23 April 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Johann David Steingruber“. 23 April 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Macken, Marian. 2018. Binding Space: The Book as Spatial Practice. London: Taylor and Francis.

Niessen, Richard. 2018. The Palace of Typographic Masonry. Leipzig: Spector Books.