The Folio Life: Joe’s blog, no. 38

About six years ago I was asked by David Chambers, then editor of The Private Library, if I would like to contribute an article about Folio limited editions. The Private Library being a distinguished journal, circulated to bibliophiles throughout the world, I agreed with alacrity, and plunged into the task with great enthusiasm. The more I wrote, however, the more I realised that a mere article would not cover the ground even sketchily – especially since the longer it took me to write it, the more new editions there were to write about so by the time I finished there were about 50 per cent more than when I started – so the scope got ever larger. David was tolerance personified, and said I could write as much as I wanted and take as long as I liked.

It was only this year, when I reduced my commitment to Folio, that I was able to spend enough time on the article to bring it up to the present, then to design the layout and add some illustrations. By this time it had grown to about four times the original length, and it was decided to devote an entire issue of the journal to it, 64 pages in all. Finished copies have been delivered, and I would modestly urge anyone with an interest in Folio limited editions to acquire one, for the very modest price of £6. Postage is free in the UK, at cost overseas. If you are interested, please email Jim Maslen who will arrange payment and send you a copy. Here are a couple of spreads to give an idea of the content:

The Private Library

A spread from The Private Library


The article is a retrospective of the years 2001 to mid-2017, but the limited edition programme of course still carries on, and I am still involved in some of the titles. The most imminent of these is a collection of Old English poetry, illustrated by Alan Lee. Alan has been producing a series of gloriously detailed borders to print around the text and illustrations and here is a sample spread:

Old English poetry limited edition

I have also been hard at work on a new book from Charles van Sandwyk. Collectors of his work have always treasured the little volumes of fairy lore he has written, illustrated and published over the last twenty years or more. For the first time, these are being gathered together in a single volume and made available to a wider audience. When asked the Peter Pan question I cannot honestly put my hand up and say I believe in fairies, but if anyone could convert me it would be Charles, who evidently does. Here are a couple of spreads from the new book:

Charles van Sandwyk fairy illustrations

Charles van Sandwyk fairy illustrations

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  • Glenn Robison says:

    Lovely to hear from you again, Joe.

    Interesting new titles, especially the Old English poetry. Depending on price I could well be tempted.

  • Rev Malcolm G Lorimer says:

    Can I say how much I enjoyed your article in the Private Libraries Journal. It was a real tribute to the craftsmanship of book production and the Folio Limited Editions are true masterpieces.
    Have you ever thought of producing a cricket book? With cricket Literature encompassing 1,000’s of books -more than any other sport -surely a worthy subject.
    John Nyren’s Cricket Tutor would be a good example of a book you could consider or something by Neville Cardus.
    Rev. Malcolm| Lorimer
    Max Books.

    • joe Whitlock Blundell says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed the article: I certainly enjoyed writing it, and would like to write more in my semi-retirement. As it happens I have sometimes thought of compiling a cricket anthology – perhaps your enthusiasm will spur me to action!

      Do please spread the word about the article to people who might be interested – I’m sure The Private Library have some copies left.