Monday, 10 October 2011

Red letter day. The final proofs of the Vellum Leaves by William de Brailes arrived from Italy. Everyone who sees them says – these are amazing, they’re like real vellum! Yes, because they are real vellum. I’ll be taking them to the Frankfurt Book Fair next week, and look forward to some jaw-dropping reactions from the other facsimile publishers.

Meanwhile, I have finally finished positioning the type and photographs in the Japan books. These are a great record of Japanese culture just over a century ago, to all appearances totally unaffected by the West. Here are a couple of pictures that amused me – the postman, and farmers in their raincoats.

And, on a more serious note, here is the result of an earthquake in 1891, in which 10,000 people were killed and 20,000 wounded. The caption laconically observes: ‘Earthquakes . . . are feared by everyone except the newly arrived tourist, who seems to enjoy the novelty of the situation.’ Plus ça change!

A recurrent problem for books where the photographs and text must be printed on the same paper is finding a stock that suits both – if the paper is chosen to suit the text, the photos tend to look muddy, and if the paper suits the photos, the text area tends to be glaring and unsympathetic. We have sourced a new type of paper that we think will do the trick for this book. Here is a reduced size image of our test proofing document – at the top are two of the standard pages, with different background shades; below them are one of the large photographs and an art print, ‘mounted’ onto coloured papers; at the bottom of the sheets are strips of all the different shades we will be employing for the mounts; finally there are a couple of lines of text newly typeset by us, alongside the original version, for comparison, printed on a further selection of backgrounds.

We have been checking these colour proofs at the John Rylands Library in Manchester. Here is a photo of their magnificent reading room.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments from others

  • Faisel says:

    Thanks for the update Mr. Whitlock and the clarification for the reason behind “tipped in” prints. I know there have been much discussion over at LibraryThing about the use of tipped in art prints especially in the Metamorphoses LE, and others; some like them for the better colour and quality production, while some dislike them because they are very fragile on the page and risk falling off. I am sure your explanation will set everyone at ease. Keep up the good work.

    By the way, next year it’s Dickens bicentenary of his birth and I have seen you have published a selection of his novels in a new binding; are there plans for publishing the rest of them in this new binding? Cheers, a fellow FS Devotee

    • Dear Faisel

      Thank you for all your encouraging comments! I wish I could give you a categorical reply about Dickens – for now, all I can say is that we definitely intend to complete the series, but are not making a cast-iron guarantee to do so. There are several more titles in the pipe-line.

  • Manfred Kramer says:

    Dear Joe,
    You can imagin, that I am very curious to se your William de Brailes.
    See you in two days!

  • Gerry Storey says:

    The proofs for the Japan Photographs are amazing, the postman almost appears 3D! Very fine work!
    The gray scale and color bar are very fine for reproductions, especially the nice neutral grays, good scale BLK to WHT and the colors are crisp and vivid. My compliments on a great job, very fine work. As usual the Folio Society shows what can be achieved by fine work.
    Gerry Storey

  • Janet says:

    Dear Joe,
    As a Mancunian, I am delighted that Folio is collaborating with John Rylands Library, one of the finest in the country. I am looking forward to the Japan books, they look fascinating. When you visit the Library, may I suggest you also walk down Deansgate to the Cathedral, if you have not already done so. The interior medieval woodwork & misericords are well worth looking at and also some of the best in England.
    Seriously hoping the de Brailes is not going to be beyond my budget!
    Regards, Janet

  • Janet says:

    Dear Joe,
    I hope you enjoy your visit – don’t miss the Eric Gill sculpture over the door when you enter through the South Porch . . . and if you have time cross the road to see Chetham’s Library (the oldest surviving public library in Britain) with its chained books.