Books On Books Collection – Enid Marx

Marco’s Animal Alphabet (2000)

Marco’s Animal Alphabet (2000)
Enid Marx
Color scheme and pochoir by Peter Allen (École de l’Image, Epinal)
Case bound, leather spine and patterned papers on board, Fabriano doublures, 64 pages. Portfolio edition of 15, of which this is #2. Acquired from Forum Auctions, 16 December 2021.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Marco’s running verse is set in 24pt Scotch types, roman and italic. The rest of the book uses Bodoni, including the variations on the title page. The paper is 200 gsm Fabriano Artistico, 100% cotton fibres and acid-free. The patterned paper of the binding has been reconstructed for this book from a small sample. Enid Marx designed the original, and it was sold through The Little Gallery in London during the 1930s. Enid Marx was keen to have this book published for her great great nieces and nephews. A further 160 copies have been made for sale. Fifteen of these have an additional portfolio of black prints and were bound by Stephen Conway. Printing was completed in September 2000. This is copy number 2. –Colophon.

For the reader not in the know, the introduction by Graham Moss (Incline Press) explains that “Marco” was the nickname assigned to Enid Marx during her studies at the Royal College of Art, but more than that, Moss provides a warm sense of collaborating with Enid Marx (for example, A Bonnet Full of Nursery Rhymes) in life. Although this is a posthumous edition of this alphabet, Moss had the advantage of an earlier false start on it with Marx and of her insights on the idea of applying pochoir to this first formal edition (ultimately provided by Peter Allen).

It is a toss-up for which is the greater pleasure: the lines and shapes in Marco’s linocuts or the design and production by Graham Moss. Which confirms his conclusion that the posthumous collaboration is “a happy and successful one”.

Further Reading

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

Fisher, Jennie. 14 October 2020. “Enid Marx: A Design Legacy“. Pallant House Gallery. Accessed 1 August 2022.

Marx, Enid, and Douglas Cleverdon. 1985. An ABC of birds & beasts. London: Douglas Cleverdon. (As a collector, Cleverdon was an important bridge between calligraphy and typographic design artists. See also Eric Gill’s A book of alphabets for Douglas Cleverdon drawn by Eric Gill. 1987.)

Marx, Enid. 1997. Some birds and beasts and their feasts: an alphabet of wood engravings made by Enid Marx. Oldham: Incline Press.

Powers, Alan. 18 July 2018. “Why the textile designer Enid Marx matters today“. Crafts Council. First appeared in Crafts magazine. Accessed 1 August 2022.