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April 26, 2021
I started this project unexpectedly in February this year, after spending time with my collection of books featuring the work of Gustave Doré from the mid to late 1800s, such as Paradise Lost, Idylls of the King, The Bible, and a couple of Doré collections, mostly published by Cassell from the 1860s onwards.
Doré was the pre-eminent print artist of his time, regularly enlisted to make drawings of epics, legends, folkore and religious tales, which would then be handed to the many wood and steel engravers of the day to be produced in large leather-bound volumes.
On a bit of a whim after leafing through my books, I thought I could perhaps put a little time aside each day as a side-project from my usual work, to make some art solely using imagery from engravings of Doré’s work, with the aim of keeping it quite simple, as an ongoing daily personal project.
On day 2 however I realised that I wanted it to be a much more involved body of work and thought I’d see how I got on devoting most of each day to making a new piece from the source materials I have.
After a very intensive time delving into it all, the magic number 12 felt like the place to stop, with an eye on potentially returning to making more like this down the line.
In an increasingly virtual world, I wanted to make something material that looks and feels beautiful and timeless, is sweet to the touch and the eye, and as a collection is very much a nod to the wondrous old books that the elements of these images were sourced from.
A free rein to let unexpected stories and scenes emerge from the process without any planning, by collaging old engravings made from drawings made of ancient myths, folklore and religious stories themselves, was the main principle guiding the making of this box set. The images have their own stories happening, some of which I think I know, some of which I don’t. Openness of interpretation, a sort of dream/vision logic, and the love of making new imagery from old are also what drove this foray.
The title ‘A Week of Twelve Days’ is a nod to Max Ernst’s surrealist collage novel ‘Une Semaine de Bonté’ (‘A Week of Kindness’) which has always been a major influence on my work, and which also features Doré’s work quite heavily.
As well as this set of works, the box set features a frontispiece, a title page and an end page with some words on the process and as far as I could find, the names of all the engravers of the time that had a hand in creating the engravings I worked from.
A Week of Twelve Days, out 12 noon BST on May Day, Saturday May 1st.
Limited one-off edition of only 120.
Each box set is made up of a foil-stamped archival box, housing 12 new works, plus a frontispiece image, front title page, and credits / commentary page, with all pages printed with archival pigment ink on super luscious 310gsm heavyweight Hahnemuhle German etching paper with hand-deckled edges.
Print dimensions are 31cm x 42.5cm.
Each of the 12 prints will be signed and numbered in an edition of 120.
Price : £1200 (sold out)
Free shipping worldwide.
•A Week of Twelve Days - the prints