Wednesday, January 28, 2015

183. A Portfolio of Woodcuts by T. Sturge Moore

The recent issue of the Imaginative Book Illustration Society's Studies in Illustration, No. 58 (Winter 2014) contains an interesting article by Vincent Barlow about the elusive portfolio of woodcuts by Thomas Sturge Moore that was issued as a Vale Publication. For years, no copy of this edition could be located, and even Sturge Moore's widow came to believe that the publication was only announced, and never realized.

Announcement of Sturge Moore's Portfolio of Woodcuts in Notice of the Vale Publications (1896)
A Notice issued by the Vale Press in early 1896 (also advertised in The Studio of April 1896) listed '"A Portfolio of Woodcuts." Metamorphoses of Pan and other original woodcuts by T. Sturge Moore. Four remain at four guineas net.' 

Barlow has located a copy and describes its contents in detail. The portfolio does not mention the names of Ricketts or Shannon, nor the editor, the Vale Publications. Only the title is printed in gold on the spine of the vellum backed grey Ingres paper covered boards (400x317x40 mm).

Thomas Sturge Moore, A Portfolio of Woodcuts (spine) (1896)
Inside are ten mounted engravings, printed in a variety of colours, but mainly green and red. On the inside of the upper cover of the portfolio is attached a sheet of unbleached Arnold hand-made paper giving the title, the subtitle, a list of engravings, and a limitation statement:

Metamorphoses of Pan and other woodcuts by T. STURGE MOORE.
[follows a list of 10 woodcuts, numbered 1-8]

Barlow gives an account of the way the portfolio was described (or not) in earlier articles. He comes to the conclusion that it was published in June 1895, and already sold out in 1898. His contribution on Sturge Moore ends with a detailed list of the publication and the woodcuts in it.

T. Sturge Moore, 'Baby Giants' and 'Childhood'
[woodcuts 7(i) and 7 (ii) in A Portfolio of Woodcuts (1896)]
The numbering of the woodcuts follows the number of the mounts of Ingres paper with rounded corners. Two mounts contain two woodcuts each.
T. Sturge Moore, 'Pan Mountain'
[woodcut 3 in A Portfolio of Woodcuts (1896)]

More images and details on the portfolio and the woodcuts can be found in: Vincent Barlow, 'Metamorphoses of Pan and other woodcuts by T. Sturge Moore', in: Studies in Illustration, No. 58 (Winter 2014), p. 6-13.

Copies of the magazine can be bought online at the website of the Imaginative Book Illustration Society [] for £6. 
I ordered a copy on Sunday and received it today!