Wednesday, December 23, 2015

230. Printing black in The Race of Leaves

Michael Field's play The Race of Leaves was published by The Vale Press in June 1901. The border for the first text page was based on a wood-engraving by Ricketts, which he had begun working on in January. There were four panels, the left and right one running the whole length of the page with images of thyrsus, vine branch and rings in the left panel, and a portrait of Commodus and an Amazon with a lamp in the panel on the right.

Michael Field, The Race of Leaves (1901), page [v]: border designed by Charles Ricketts
The border pages were printed from electrotypes, but this did not always mean that the black was evenly printed, as a comparison of several copies of this book can prove. The lower left and lower right hand corners show grey areas in some copies.

Charles Ricketts, border for The Race of Leaves (1901), detail