Perhaps, the most significant factor in influencing me to begin producing books of my own was a collaboration in 2014 with Nicolas and Frances McDowall of the Old Stile Press, a private press based in the Wye Valley. The result was a lighthearted book, A Song about Myself by John Keats, featuring my calligraphy and illustrations. I felt that Nicolas had an instinctive understanding of my work and I was really pleased with a blog that he wrote in July 2014:
View blog: Old Stile Press website, 28 July 2014
The Keats book has been featured as one of the highlights of Old Stile Press' forty years of activity in a video made by Studio International. View video. The relevant part is at c44 minutes.
Copies of the limited edition book were sold, amongst others, to Eton College Library, National Art Library (Victoria and Albert Museum), University of Iowa and University of London. Purchasers of the special edition included National Library of Wales and Stanford University (California). British bookbinder Dominic Riley used a set of unbound copies of the book with a group of Summer School bookbinding students at San Francisco Centre for the Book in 2016.
My own limited edition or one-off books are all written individually and are not copied or printed in any way.
Van Gogh’s Yellow Book in a numbered and signed edition of ten books. The book features extracts from Van Gogh’s letters concentrating on his love of all things yellow, the sun, sunflowers, the Yellow House in Arles, South of France. 13” X 10” in size, the writing and illustrations are in gouache on tan colour paper by BFK Rives. The books are hand sewn and bound by Ursula Jeakins using, on the covers, paste papers supplied by Victoria Hall. The first copy was produced in January 2017 and the last in December 2018. The price is £495 (£375 if sold to the book trade).
Vincent the Walker is a companion volume to Van Gogh's Yellow Book. Van Gogh was an inveterate walker throughout his life and the book tracks some of those walks by means of extracts from his own wonderful letters. It is a numbered and signed edition of ten books. This time the book is in landscape format, 9.5" x 14". Again the writing and illustrations are in gouache on tan colour paper by BFK Rives. The binding is also similar, i.e. the books are hand sewn and bound by Ursula Jeakins using paste papers on the covers by Victoria Hall. The first copy of the book was produced in January 2018. The price is £495 (£375 if sold to the book trade).
Vincentre, the new Van Gogh Museum in Nuenen, Holland, has copies of both books.
William Nicholson and Joseph Crawhall 11 is a signed edition of five books, a visual essay on the links between Nicholson's graphic work of the 1890s and the earlier, lovingly eccentric work of Crawhall 11. A large book, 16" x 12.5", beautifully bound by Ursula Jeakins, it features Japanese Chiyogami Gold Jazz paper on the cover. The writing is on BFK Rives tan paper in a style reminiscent of Nicholson. A weighty tome in the hand (4.5 lbs or 2 kgs) and, hopefully, a substantial feast for the eye. The display/reading copy was produced in March 2020. Copies of the book are £750 or £495 for sale to the book trade for resale.
Other book-related activity has included:
- book covers for Oxford Folio and Stone Trough Books
- maps, family trees for Oxford Folio and Yale University Press.
- a catalogue cover for Blackwell's Rare Books.
- a large number of one-off concertina books.